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Litigation, Taxation law

Draft Legislation Released by the Federal Government on Political Activity by Charities

Sep 19th, 2018

By Daniel Frajman

The federal government released for comment on September 14, 2018 draft legislation on political activity by charities, including community foundations, religious institutions and all other charities.

Perhaps the most important point regarding this draft legislation is that it would still strictly prohibit all charities from supporting or opposing a particular political party or candidate (i.e., they still will be unable to engage in partisan political activity).

What this draft legislation would essentially do is drop the rule that a charity cannot use more than about 10 % of its resources on ancillary and incidental (i.e., secondary) non-partisan political activity (possible examples: making statements for or against a law; holding a candidates' debate), i.e., that 10 % rule would be dropped for such non-partisan activity.

This draft legislation would essentially overtake the July 16, 2018 Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision (in Canada Without Poverty v. Attorney General of Canada) that ruled the 10 % rule as unconstitutional (the federal government appealed that decision, but this draft legislation would essentially come to the same result as that decision).

If you need more details or assistance on determining what a charity can and cannot do, please do not hesitate to contact me.