Political activities and your agency

Over the past six months, The Federation has been tracking developments and informing members about changes to the Income Tax Act regarding the political activities of charities (as well as how such changes may be administered by the Canada Revenue Agency). As part of this work, The Federation also submitted feedback to the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector and encouraged members to do so as well.

Background and new developments 

In November, legislation passed that changed the rules governing the political activities charities. These changes were informed by the Senate Special Committee and were included in the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, which received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018.

Last month, the Canada Revenue Agency issued draft guidance explaining how the CRA would administer those changes to the Income Tax Act allowing charities to carry on unlimited public policy dialogue and development activities that advance their stated charitable purpose.

For additional background info on this issue, please check out these past updates to Federation members.

How will your organization be affected?

On March 6th, Imagine Canada is hosting a free webinar that will explain how the CRA’s draft guidance allowing unlimited public policy dialogue and development activities (P2D2As—formerly referred to as “political activities”) came to be, what the changes mean, and how your organization will be affected.

The webinar will be presented in English followed by a bilingual Q&A. Only the first 100 participants who register here will be able to join the live presentation but the recording and related materials will be sent to everyone who registers.

The webinar will be hosted by Susan Manwaring, the national lead of the Social Impact Group at Miller Thomson LLP and a member of the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities and Bill Schaper, the Director of Public Policy in Imagine Canada’s Ottawa office.

A few final thoughts

Given where we were at six or seven months ago, our sector should be pleased about this outcome. Whether your organization is a charity or not, we all need to continue supporting and protecting the rights of advocates and making clear our collective commitment to social justice. And that means we need to push back when we are being silenced.

I am proud that The Federation and our members helped support and inform the Special Senate Committee. Our sector has a direct window into people’s lives and lived experiences and, as many Federation members would agree, that means we have an inherent responsibility to be advocates—both for our organizations and the people we serve.

This is a move in the right direction. These changes will help make social care more sustainable and protect the voices of advocates across the country. It also shows that real change is possible when caring and committed people band together.

For more information about the CRA changes and to register for the webinar, please visit the Imagine Canada website.

Rick FitzZaland
Executive Director