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…

Donation Incentives: The Canadian Advantage

Canada has the most generous tax incentives for charitable giving in the world, but their nature and extent are largely unknown to Canadians. Why does this paradox exist?  There are practical issues that shape our understanding of charitable tax incentives and some practical benefits. For starters, it is helpful to understand that the Canadian tax…

Human Rights and Charity — Regulatory Challenges

This article is the fifth in a series on Poverty and Human Rights in Canada. SUMMARY: This article addresses the regulatory challenges posed by human rights approaches to charity, focusing specifically on the charity/politics distinction. It develops a simple point, which is that Canadian charity law is currently ill equipped to apply the charity/politics distinction…

Pemsel Case Foundation Launched To Foster Canadian Charity Law

Abstract: Canadian charity law has not developed with the clarity and certainty currently found in similar law in many other countries. A new organization, The Pemsel Case Foundation, has been constituted to undertake research about the law of registered and common law charities and qualified donees, conduct education pertaining to that research, and make amicus curiae…

Current Developments In The Application Of Paragraph 149(1)(1) Of The Income Tax Act

I. INTRODUCTION Organizations that meet the requirements of paragraph 149(1)(1) are often referred to as “non-profit organizations” (“NPOs”). This article provides an overview of the law and Canada Revenue Agency’s (“CRA”) positions on the requirements of paragraph 149(1)(1), with an emphasis on several recent technical interpretations that appear to narrow the circumstances in which CRA…

Letter From The Editor

The comprehensive article featured in this issue of The Philanthropist discusses the availability of tax-exempt status for organizations that are not registered charities but, rather, are nonprofits established for social welfare, civic improvement, pleasure or recreation, or for any other purpose except profit. This topic has become increasingly relevant in the last few years because…

What’s The Law: Avoiding Mission Drift: A Due Diligence Approach

A charity is a very organic entity. After a charity has been established, it is not uncommon to find that its focus, mission, objectives, and programs have gradually evolved. “Mission drift” often refers to the gradual diversion of a charity’s activities from its stated purposes. It does not refer to a deliberate and strategic change…