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Imagine Canada

Strong Charities. Strong Communities.

Call to Action: Participate in CRA’s political activities consultation

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Imagine Canada convened a working group of 33 organizations of all types, from across Canada, to identify recommendations on political activity regulation. We are sharing the results, and we invite you to join us in making this submission to CRA.

NEW deadline to submit: December 14th!

Among our recommendations, we are advocating for the following:

  • Consider changing the Income Tax Act to focus on charitable purposes
  • Clarification of the existing guidance especially as it pertains to the concept of indirect partisan activity
  • Extensive outreach to charities to ensure clarity in what they can and can not to do.

Why get involved?

This consultation gives us an opportunity to contribute towards positive policy change in the area of political activities regulation.

In recent years, there have been questions raised about charities’ involvement in public policy, and the legitimate role we play in societal change. We’ve witnessed confusion – in the sector, and among decision-makers – about what the rules actually are and what they mean.

Public policy is better when charities are at the table. We advocate for communities that are often voiceless in our society, and we bring a unique perspective based on the public good. Charities need to be confident that they have the space to speak up and participate. We need clarity on what the rules are. And we need guidelines that reflect today’s imperatives – who we are, what we do, and how we operate.

To get there, we hope you’ll join us in making your voice heard.

So, how do you participate?

1. Draft a letter or email…

…to the CRA (or personalize this template!), tell them about your organization, why it’s important for you to have a voice in public policy, and that you’d like to see better political activity rules in place.

2. Then, we invite you to…

  • Attach our framework directly to your email, or
  • Copy and paste any sections you like for your own submissions, or
  • Send in your own submission!

Send to consultation-policy-politique@cra-arc.gc.ca. Please cc us at publicpolicy@imaginecanada.ca so that we can make sure the government considers and responds to all perspectives.

NEW deadline for consultation is December 14, 2016

3. Spread the news

We encourage you to spread the news about the consultation throughout your networks. If it’s helpful, you can simply forward this post to your members and/or stakeholders, letting them know about the issue and this opportunity to participate.

The following can be shared over social media:

Sample tweets

“Act now for a proposed alternative political activities framework for charities http://bit.ly/2eBdsFO #polact16 #weadvocate”

“A national conversation is happening now on charities’ political activities. Join the action! http://bit.ly/2eBdsFO #polact16 #weadvocate”

Sample Facebook post

“Be a part of the national conversation on political activities. The CRA is consulting now until November 25th on political activities regulation. Imagine Canada, with the assistance of charities from across Canada, has developed a comprehensive framework for reform. Read on for three ways your organization can participate in this consultation.”

4. Stay informed…

On political activity updates and other policy network news by subscribing to our weekly Early Alert service. 

Sign up for the Early Alert


List of Advisors:

We would like to thank the following list of organizations, who contributed to the development of our political activities framework for submission. The following participated in this process as advisors, and may not endorse the recommendations either in whole or part:

Association of Fundraising Professionals, Ottawa Chapter

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations

Carl Juneau (Individual)

Canadian Cancer Society

Canadian Council of Christian Charities

Canadian Council for International Co-operation

Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network

Canadian Unitarian Council 

Community Foundations of Canada

Community Sector Council of Newfoundland and Labrador

Counselling Foundation of Canada

David Suzuki Foundation

Environmental Defence

Girl Guides

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada


Max Bell Foundation

Ontario Nonprofit Network

Philanthropic Foundations Canada

Salvation Army

Schizophrenia Society of Ontario

United Way Canada

Universities Canada

University of Manitoba

Vancouver Foundation



Background and context:

The consultation closes on November 25, 2016 and will form a basis for future discussions between the government and the charitable sector on this issue.

For more background on the issue, see our resource page.

Our National Partners

  • great west life
  • Lawson Foundation
  • Muttart Foundation
  • RBC Foundation
  • Suncor
  • TD Bank
  • investors group

Learn more about our National Partners and other supporters.

Charitable Registration Number: 119218790 RR0001