This bulletin highlights some of the topical issues that concern a registered charity.

Political activities and charities

With municipal and federal elections being held in the near future, organizations that have obtained registered charity status with the Canada Revenue Agency (the “CRA”) need to ensure that they are aware of and comply with the relevant rules and reporting requirements with regards to engaging in political activities, some of which have been updated and expanded since the last elections. For instance, the annual Registered Charity Information Return, Form T3010, requires additional information to be recorded in relation to political activities carried out by a registered charity.

The fundamental rule to obtain charitable status with the CRA is, of course, that the purposes of the organization must be solely charitable.  Therefore members of charitable organizations should review the wealth of information provided on the CRA’s website, which includes webinars, the political activities self-assessment tool and the other various guides and answers to frequency asked questions to broaden their awareness on how certain activities may impact the organization’s charitable status.

Charities and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

A large part of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”) came into effect July 1, 2014 and with it comes new responsibilities for organizations, including registered charities.  The Canadian Radio-television  and Telecommunications Commission has put together a great list of answers to frequency asked questions in relation to registered charities and CASL that can be viewed here.

The deadline to obtain a certificate of continuance approaches

The effect of the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (the “Act”), which came into force back in October 17, 2011, means that the deadline is looming for the remaining organizations that need to apply for a certificate of continuance, in order to maintain their charitable status.

Under section 297(1) ‘a body corporate to which Part II of the Canada Corporations Act …applies’, a Federal Not-for-profit Corporation, needs to obtain a certificate of continuance to maintain its charitable status.  The Act provided a three year grace period to obtain the certificate of continuance, but the deadline of October 17, 2014 is approaching rapidly.

The application process begins with completing Form 4031, amending the required governing documents and ensuring that your  organization will be compliant with the Act.

For further assistance with the establishment of a Canadian Charity, or with the legal issues relating to the administration, compliance and operation of your charity please contact Paul Barbeau.