Five Good Ideas

Five Good Ideas about registered charities and political activities

Published on 12/02/2013

The involvement of charities in political activities was a major story in 2012. The 2012 Federal Budget introduced new reporting requirements for charities for 2013 but does not fundamentally affect the ability of charities to engage in political activities. Any charity considering conducting any activity that could be construed as political should be familiar with the rules under the Income Tax Act. Registered charities can engage in allowable political activities as long as they are non-partisan, related to their legal objects, and limited resources are used, which generally means less than 10% of resources.

Five Good Ideas

  1. Political activities are often a vital way to accomplish your charity’s objects and serve your beneficiaries
  2. Be selective about when and how to become involved in political activities and plan carefully
  3. Understand and follow the rules for registered charities and political activities
  4. Be transparent about political activities to protect your registered charity status and reputation
  5. Build the capacity you need and allocate sufficient resources

Five Good Resources

  1. CRA’s Guidance on Political Activities (CPS-022)
  2. CRA’s Guidance on Upholding Human Rights and Charitable Registration (CG-001)
  3. CRA’s Draft Consultation on Proposed Guidance on Advancement of Religion as a Charitable Purpose (PDF)
  4. CRA webinar on political activities and other topics
  5. Mark Blumberg’s blog on political activities

A cautionary note

The foregoing text and video presentation are provided for general information purposes only. They are neither intended as, nor should be considered, legal advice and readers and viewers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, a qualified lawyer should be consulted.

Mark Blumberg

Partner, Blumberg Segal LLP

Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law. He provides legal services and advice to Canadian charities and foreign charities operating in Canada. He has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto, an LLB from the University of British Columbia and a LLM from Osgoode Hall Law School in Tax Law. Mark is quoted regularly in print media and appears frequently on radio and television on topics relating to philanthropy and the regulation of charities in Canada. Mark is also the editor of at CanadianCharityLaw.ca, a Canadian charity law website, and GlobalPhilanthropy.ca™, a Canadian website dedicated to news about the Canadian charitable sector as well as legal and ethical issues for Canadian charities operating in Canada or abroad.