Canada Revenue Agency

Canada Revenue Agency

September 27, 2016 17:40 ET

Minister Lebouthillier Announces Consultations with Charities to Clarify the Rules for their Participation in Political Activities

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 27, 2016) - Canada Revenue Agency

The Government of Canada recognizes that charitable organizations are valuable contributors to public debate and public policy, which is why the Government has made a commitment to clarify the rules that govern their participation in political activities. It is important that charities be allowed to bring their vast experience-whether in relieving poverty, fighting drug addiction, protecting the environment, or advancing education-to the formulation of public policy and the continuing well-being of Canada and Canadians.

Working directly with the charitable sector to clarify the rules that guide their daily activities, and providing more information to the public about how the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regulates charities, reflects the Government of Canada's commitment to openness, transparency and service excellence.

Having announced in January the winding down of the political activities audit program, today marks the first step in a process to engage the charitable sector to clarify the rules governing political activities. Today the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced the start of public consultations on the rules regarding the involvement of registered charities in political activities.

During the announcement, Minister Lebouthillier committed to consulting with registered charities on this subject. Online consultations, open to all charities and the public, will begin today and will continue into the fall. In-person consultations with representatives from the charitable sector, moderated by an independent external facilitator, will then take place in Halifax, Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver later this year.

Minister Lebouthillier has established a consultation panel consisting of five individuals with expertise in the regulatory issues facing charities. These panel members are:

Marlene Deboisbriand - Chair of the Panel

  • Current Vice-President of the Boys and Girls of Canada
  • Current member of the Board of Directors at Imagine Canada
  • Former Vice President of United Way of Canada-Centraide Canada

Peter Robinson

  • Current CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation
  • Current member of the Board of Directors at Imagine Canada
  • Former CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op

Kevin McCort

  • Current President and CEO of the Vancouver Foundation
  • Current member of the Board of Directors of Community Foundations of Canada
  • Former President and CEO of CARE Canada

Susan Manwaring

  • Partner at Miller Thomson and National Lead of Miller Thomson's Social Impact Group
  • Current Director at the Pemsel Case Foundation
  • Past Chair of the Charities and Not-for-Profit Section Executive of the Ontario Bar Association

Shari Austin

  • Actual Principal Consultant at Shari Austin & Company
  • Former Vice President of Corporate Citizenship at RBC and Executive Director of the RBC Foundation
  • Recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award of Excellence in Corporate Responsibility (2014) from Green Living

This panel will use feedback from the online and in-person consultations to make recommendations to the Minister that they will include in a report in early 2017.

Charities and members of the public who wish to participate in the online consultation can access the questions directly from the CRA's website.

Quotes

"The government recognizes the critical role charities play in Canadian society. I am committed to working in collaboration with charities to maintain a fair system that respects and encourages their essential contribution."

- The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue

"Canadians want a Government that delivers on its commitments and is honest, open, and sincere in its efforts to serve the public interest. That's exactly what this consultation process is all about."

- Mr. Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Quick facts

  • The CRA registers charities under the Income Tax Act to make sure they continue to comply with the requirements of the Act.
  • Charitable registration comes with privileges, such as issuing official donation receipts. It also comes with obligations, such as complying with the requirements of the Act related to charities' involvement in political activities. The Act allows charities to carry out a limited amount of non-partisan political activities in support of their charitable purposes.
  • The rules regarding the political activities of charities have been in effect since 1985 and are outlined in Policy Statement CPS-022, Political Activities, published in 2003.
  • Of the approximately 86,000 charities in Canada, about 500 report carrying out political activities on their annual information return to the CRA.

Associated links

Additional Information

The full biographies of all the members are annexed to this release.

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Annex

Consultation Panel on Political Activities of Charities - Biographies of Members

Peter Robinson, CEO, David Suzuki Foundation

  • Current member of the Board of Directors at Imagine Canada
  • Former CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op
  • Over 15 years of experience at BC Housing, a provincial crown corporation
  • Former Chair of the Board of Governors and the Chancellor of Royal Roads University in Victoria
  • Former member of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Red Cross Society
  • Holds a Doctor of Social Sciences, a Master of Arts in Conflict Analysis and Management, a Bachelor of Arts in Geography, as well as diplomas in Community Economic Development and Fish and Wildlife Management

Marlene Deboisbriand, Vice-President of Member Services at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada

  • Current member of the Board of Directors at Imagine Canada
  • Former president of Volunteer Canada
  • Former Vice President of United Way of Canada-Centraide Canada
  • Former chair of the Senior Sector Steering Group for the Voluntary Sector Initiative
  • Master's of Management (McGill University) through the McGill-McConnell Program

Kevin McCort, President and CEO of the Vancouver Foundation

  • Former President and CEO of CARE Canada where he worked for over 20 years
  • Over 30 years of work volunteer service in the charitable sector, including significant experience with charities working internationally, and co-founded the Humanitarian Coalition in 2005
  • Appointed to the Board of Directors of Community Foundations of Canada (May 2016)
  • Former board member of Imagine Canada (2009 to 2015)
  • B.Sc. (Specialist/Honours) from the University of Toronto, Master of Business Administration from Queen's University
  • In 2013 was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal for his leadership in promoting Canada's values of tolerance and social justice across the world

Shari Austin, Principal Consultant at Shari Austin & Company

  • Former Vice President of Corporate Citizenship at RBC, and Executive Director of the RBC Foundation (2008 to 2015) where her global responsibilities included philanthropy, environmental sustainability, and social finance. Recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award for Excellence in Corporate Responsibility (2014) from Green Living
  • Master's in Practicing Management from McGill University, LL.B from the University of Ottawa, B.A. (Hons) from the University of Toronto majoring in Political Philosophy

Susan Manwaring, Partner at Miller Thomson & National Lead of Miller Thomson's Social Impact Group

  • Past Chair of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners Government Relations Committee
  • Past Chair of the Charities & Not-for-Profit Section Executive of the Ontario Bar Association
  • Current Director at the Pemsel Case Foundation
  • Researches and writes in the area of social enterprise and finance
  • LL.B. from the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University

Contact Information

  • Chloe Luciani-Girouard
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of National Revenue
    613-995-2960

    Media Relations
    Canada Revenue Agency
    613-952-9184