Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector – December 17 and 18, 2019

The Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS) held its second meeting in Ottawa on December 17 and 18, 2019. At this first in-person meeting, the ACCS discussed its priorities and its plans going forward.

Mr. Bob Hamilton, Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), welcomed the committee members and thanked them for the important work they would do as part of the ACCS. He also shared that, as part of the CRA’s service transformation, the Agency would be listening to improve service to charities. The three co-chairs Mr. Bruce MacDonald, Ms. Hilary Pearson and Mr. Geoff Trueman then opened the meeting with welcoming remarks. The co-chairs also introduced Mr. Ian Matheson, an external facilitator, who led the priority-setting exercises.

Once introductions were completed, Mr. Trueman reviewed the Terms of Reference and the mandate of the ACCS. Mr. Trueman also highlighted that the CRA is committed to increasing meaningful dialogue with the charitable sector and welcomes recommendations made by the ACCS to ensure that the regulatory environment supports the charitable sector. He reminded the committee that the ACCS Secretariat was their resource should they have any questions.

This was followed by an overview of Finance Canada’s legislative framework from Pierre LeBlanc and  the administrative framework of the CRA’s Charities Directorate from Mr. Tony Manconi. Mr. MacDonald and Ms. Pearson concluded this portion of the meeting with context setting from a sector perspective.

The members discussed the importance of building the relationship between the charitable sector and the federal government. It was recognized that the CRA plays a regulatory role, but that it can also contribute to a modern vision that supports the important work of the sector.

Over the two days, the members participated in a group exercise to identify the following priority themes that will inform the work the ACCS will focus on:

These themes were identified taking into consideration the various backgrounds and expertise of the members, the recommendations outlined in the report from the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector and the importance of fostering accountability and transparency.

The members also discussed that their work spans a multitude of interests, and members will consider how to include other voices as their work progresses.

The members look forward to continuing the positive dialogue at the next in-person meeting, which is expected to be held in spring 2020.

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