Imagine Canada, the national umbrella for Canada’s charitable and nonprofit sector, today expressed its support for proposed Income Tax Act amendments tabled by the federal government on October 25. The Income Tax Act changes, if adopted, would provide much greater clarity and certainty about the ability of registered charities to engage publicly and in a strictly non-partisan manner on laws, regulations, and policy issues related to their charitable purposes.
The proposed ITA amendments flow from recommendations made last year by the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities. The Panel itself had been appointed by the Minister of National Revenue to examine the issue of charities’ engagement in the public policy process.
The Consultation Panel had recommended that limits on charities’ engagement with the general public be removed. In the past, Canada Revenue Agency rules limited the extent to which charities could publicly express their views on laws, regulations, or policies, as well as their ability to engage the public in letter-writing campaigns, petitions, or other activities. The Panel recommended that charities should be free to engage in public policy work, so long as they remain strictly non-partisan, and their efforts contribute to achieving their charitable purpose. The Income Tax Act changes would implement these recommendations.
“This is fantastic news,” said Imagine Canada CEO Bruce MacDonald. “These changes, once implemented, send a clear signal that charities have a legitimate role providing comment and feedback on government policies and ensuring that the voices of their communities and supporters are heard. At the same time, they ensure that charities are non-partisan and remain focused on fulfilling their charitable purposes as enforced by the Canada Revenue Agency.”
“We want to acknowledge the efforts made by the Ministers of National Revenue and Finance to ensure that this important commitment on the part of the federal government is kept,” added MacDonald. “We look forward to participating in the upcoming legislative and Committee process and to continued dialogue with the federal government as to how charities and nonprofits can best contribute to Canada’s economic and social goals.”
About Imagine Canada
Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization whose cause is Canada’s charities and nonprofits. Our three broad goals are to strengthen the sector’s collective voice, create opportunities to connect and learn from each other and build the sector’s capacity to succeed.
For further information:
Coordinator, Public Policy
416-597-2293, ext. 331