Point/Counterpoint: Limited life foundations ensure greater social impact

Resolved: Founders and directors will help their foundations have greater impact if they commit their entire endowments during a limited period of time, spending down their resources rather than managing them in perpetuity. Point: Lars Boggild Canadian philanthropic foundations regularly look for ways to be more impactful on the issues they care about. Approaches ranging from…

Book Review: The Public-Private Nature of Charity Law

The Public-Private Nature of Charity Law, by Kathryn Chan, Oxford and Portland, Oregon, Hart Publishing, 2016, ISBN 978-1-78225-848-3   The 19th century social reformer Lord Brougham, commenting on opposition to the establishment of a regulatory apparatus for charities, said: Th[e] law [of England] regards the inheritance of the poor as a matter of public, not…

Foreign Activities by Canadian Registered Charities: Challenges and Options for Reform

The following paper is the culmination of  The Philanthropist’s series “Canadian Charities Working Internationally,” which began in March 2015.  In it, Toronto charity lawyer Andrew Valentine outlines the challenges with the current “direction and control” rules that apply to Canadian charities working abroad. He also presents proposals to reform the system, ranging from simple administrative…

The Canadian Income Tax Act and the Concepts of Charitable Purposes and Activities

Recent high profile debate over regulation of registered charities’ political activities is only part of broader sector concern about onerous Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requirements with respect to other aspects of registered charities’ operations, such as reporting obligations, and constraints over foreign activities or on operating through intermediaries.  Additionally, what is required and reviewed under…

New Series: Canadian Charities Working Internationally

This article is the first in a series on Canadian Charities Working Internationally. A regulatory system, and the laws that underpin it, is ideally enabling but by necessity limiting. It’s true in business, and it should be equally true with charities. What is, however, the right balance between support and limits? When working across borders,…

What’s The Law: Charities And Politics

Charities are subject to real limits on political activity. However, these limits do not prevent thoughtful and careful policy advocacy related to charitable purposes. Notwithstanding current political pressure on environmental charities, the CRA policy on advocacy by charities is actually quite broad.1 The Income Tax Act distinguishes between charitable purposes and charitable activities. What qualifies…