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Delving into the Senate Charitable Sector Report

The Senate Special Committee on the Charitable Sector released a mammoth report on June 20 which contained 42 recommendations across 190 pages, and AFP Canada leaders have been reviewing the various ideas and beginning to identify key priorities moving forward.

Catalyst for Change: A Roadmap to a Stronger Charitable Sector was the product of more than 18 months of 24 public hearings, 160 witnesses and more than 90 written briefs from organizations across Canada. AFP provided its own recommendations to the committee, and several AFP representatives appeared at different hearings to offer the fundraising perspective as the committee performed its work.

Four of the final recommendations align with key priorities of AFP in Canada, while ten others were referred for additional analysis to the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector, a group of representatives from across the charitable sector. (AFP is working to become a member of the advisory committee.) Those recommendations are listed below.

AFP Canada is now working to identify which recommendations will serve as the focus of its public policy work in the near future, and which recommendations it may support in collaboration with other organizations that take the lead on certain issues. More information about public policy priorities will be published in future issues of AFP Daily.

Other organizations have issued their own analysis of the committee’s report, including:

If members have concerns or suggestions about any priority or recommendation, they are encouraged to contact paffairs@afpglobal.org.

Four Recommendations That Align With AFP Priorities

  • Recommendation 16 (p. 55) That the Government of Canada prioritize data about the charitable and non-profit sector in all Statistics Canada economic surveys, including the Satellite Account of Nonprofit Institutions and the General Social Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participating; and that the Government of Canada support collaboration between Statistics Canada and the charitable and non-profit sector to determine what additional data could be collected and disseminated in a timely and consistent manner to support the evidence base for decisions by organizations in the sector.
     
  • Recommendation 22 (p. 62) That the Government of Canada, through the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, create a secretariat on the charitable and non-profit sector to: establish and convene regular meetings of an interdepartmental working group, with representation from Finance Canada, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the Canada Revenue Agency, Employment and Social Development Canada and other departments with direct connections to these organizations; convene meetings of appropriate groups of federal/provincial and territorial ministers with responsibility for various aspects of regulating and relating to the charitable and non-profit sectors; and publish an annual report on the state of the charitable and non-profit sector. This report should include changes related to the sector by federal, provincial and territorial governments along with a more general overview of the economic and social health of the sector.
     
  • Recommendation 34 (p. 108) That the Government of Canada, through the Canada Revenue Agency, develop, implement and evaluate a pilot project on the impact on the charitable sector of exempting donations of private shares from capital gains tax.
     
  • Recommendation 35 (p. 108) That the Government of Canada, through the Canada Revenue Agency, study the extent to which the donation of non-environmental real estate could be incentivized without undermining the Ecological Gifts Program.


Ten Recommendations Referred to the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector:

  • Recommendation 9 (p. 44) That the Government of Canada, through the Minister of Revenue and the Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency, direct the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector to review existing tax measures available to individual donors in order to strengthen the culture of giving among new and current charitable donors.
     
  • Recommendation 17 (p. 56) That the Government of Canada, through the Canada Revenue Agency, seek the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector on what additional information could be included in the Agency’s T3010 form that would support the work of the sector.
     
  • Recommendation 19 (p. 58) That the Government of Canada through the Minister of National Revenue seek the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector with respect to modifying CRA restrictions on accessing other forms of capital by charitable and non-profit organizations; and that all federally funded initiatives with respect to innovation that are available to for-profit organizations be available to and promoted among charitable and non-profit organizations. 
  • Recommendation 21 (p. 61) That the Government of Canada, through the Minister of National Revenue and the Commissioner of CRA, direct the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector to include a wide range of organizations on its working groups. This should include, but not be limited to, smaller organizations, organizations in rural and remote communities, organizations representing and serving newcomers to Canada and organizations supporting and serving Indigenous communities.
  • Recommendation 25 (p. 78) That the Government of Canada, through the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector, review the common law meaning of charity to determine whether Canada should follow the approach of other jurisdictions, such as Australia and England, and enact legislation to broaden the legal meaning of charity. 
     
  • Recommendation 26 (p. 80) That the Government of Canada, through the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector, review the policy considerations relating to qualified donee and tax preferred status. This review should be conducted with a view to establishing a principle-based framework for new categories of qualified donee and other tax preferred entities.
     
  • Recommendation 36 (p. 113) That the Government of Canada direct the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector to examine the advantages and disadvantages of amending the disbursement quota for registered charities; and the advantages and disadvantages of setting the disbursement quota in regulation, rather than statute. 
     
  • Recommendation 37 (p. 113) That the Government of Canada instruct the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector to consider means of ensuring that donations do not languish in donor-advised funds, but are instead used to fund charitable activities in a timely fashion.
     
  • Recommendation 40 (p. 121) That the Government of Canada direct the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector to review the treatment and regulation of non-profit organizations, including whether the Income Tax Act should distinguish between public benefit and member benefit non-profit organizations.
     
  • Recommendation 41 (p. 123) That the Government of Canada instruct the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector to review the impact of Canada’s anti-spam legislation on charities and charity-like organizations.
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