Advisory committee on the charitable sector

What we do

The Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS) is a consultative forum for the Government of Canada to engage in meaningful dialogue with the charitable sector, to advance emerging issues relating to charities, and to ensure the regulatory environment supports the important work that charities do.

The ACCS is co-chaired by the charitable sector and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It provides recommendations to the Minister of National Revenue and the Commissioner of the CRA on important and emerging issues facing charities and qualified donees on an ongoing basis.

Sector members

The ACCS is made up of 12 senior-level representatives from across sectors, including registered charities, national umbrella organizations, professional associations, charity researchers/academics, and legal experts. All members, including two sector co-chairs, are appointed by the Minister of National Revenue or the Commissioner of the CRA.

To ensure continuity for the first three years, members serve different terms. The sector co-chairs and four members serve three-year terms, while six sector members serve two-year terms. After the first three years, all sector members and co-chairs serve two-year terms. 

Sector members

Bruce MacDonald, President & CEO, Imagine Canada (sector co-chair) 

Who would have thought that operating carnival games and rides would lead to a career in social good? Nobody, really. Well – over 30 years later, Mr. MacDonald is still at it. From having served as CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada for ten years and prior to that as the organization’s Vice-President of Marketing, he has led major change initiatives and developed long and innovative partnerships with corporations and other charities. A wide and varied career, working with different parts of the sector has lead him to Imagine Canada – working with young people, older adults, sports and recreation and community service clubs.

Mr. MacDonald holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Sports Administration, a Masters in Management in the Voluntary Sector and is mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Hilary Pearson, President, Philanthropic Foundations Canada  (sector co-chair) 

Hilary Pearson is the President of Philanthropic Foundations Canada, a national network of grant making organizations in Canada with 135 members, including many of the largest private charitable foundations in the country. Since 2001, when she was appointed President, she has grown the organization to become a leading voice in Canadian organized philanthropy. Author of numerous articles and policy submissions on key issues in Canadian philanthropy, Ms. Pearson is a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops. Prior to joining PFC, Ms. Pearson held senior positions in central agencies of the Government of Canada from 1981 to 1993. She was Vice-President at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) from 1993 to 1996 and a senior strategy consultant at the Montreal consulting firm Secor from 1993 to 2001. An expert in nonprofit governance, Ms. Pearson has served on several national nonprofit boards of directors, including those of Pearson College of the Pacific, Imagine Canada, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, CARE Canada and Indspire. She chairs the Advisory Body of the Coady Institute at St Francis Xavier University and is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Masters Program in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Carleton University. She holds a BA and MA from the University of Toronto, and honourary doctorates from Carleton University and the University of New Brunswick. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in July 2018.

CRA and Department of Finance members

The Assistant Commissioner of the Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch of the CRA serves as one of the ACCS’ co-chairs. As well, the CRA’s Charities Directorate and Finance Canada each have a representative that sits on the ACCS.

CRA and Department of Finance members

Geoff Trueman, Assistant Commissioner, Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch (co-chair) 

Geoff Trueman was named Assistant Commissioner of the Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch in October 2015.

Prior to his appointment at the Canada Revenue Agency, Geoff was General Director of the Tax Policy Branch at the Department of Finance since 2013. Geoff began his career with the Government of Canada in 1992 when he joined the Department of Finance. Since that time he has held a number of increasingly senior positions at the Department, as an economist and as an executive, in the areas of personal, sales and business taxation, including a two-year deployment to the European Commission in Brussels.

Geoff was born in Winnipeg and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, With Distinction, and a Bachelor of Laws, both from the University of Manitoba. He also received a Masters of Business Administration from Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario.


The ACCS meets twice per year in Ottawa. It may meet more frequently if necessary. An overview of in-person ACCS meeting proceedings is posted online.

Working groups are formed as needed and chaired or co-chaired by sector members. Working groups determine their membership, meeting schedule, and timeline and mechanism for reporting back to the ACCS. Membership may extend beyond ACCS members to include subject matter experts, and charitable and public sector representatives with an interest in the topic. 

Topics of discussion

The ACCS’ co-chairs propose topics of discussion in consultation with members. The Minister of National Revenue or Commissioner of the CRA may request that the ACCS discuss a specific topic.


The ACCS reports to the Minister of National Revenue and the Commissioner of the CRA with a summary of its progress and recommendations. The ACCS determines a schedule and format for ongoing reporting (for example, annually, bi-annually, or ad-hoc). Summaries of in-person Committee meeting proceedings are submitted to the Minister of National Revenue and the Commissioner of the CRA and are made publicly available.

Contact us

Whether you work, volunteer, or donate to a charity, we encourage you to contact the ACCS secretariat directly if you have input to share with the ACCS.

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