Readout: Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector – April 28, 2021

The Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS) met by videoconference on April 28, 2021. Mr. Geoff Trueman, Assistant Commissioner, began the meeting by welcoming everyone, including two special guests: Gabriel Bourget, Parliamentary Secretary Assistant and Issues Advisor, and Jessica Morrison, Director of Policy, both from the Minister’s office. Mr. Trueman acknowledged the significant achievements since the last ACCS meeting on March 11, 2021. Specifically, he mentioned that the CRA published Report #1 of the ACCS, that Report #2 should be published shortly, and that Report #3 is well underway. Next, he addressed the Government Response to the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector and explained that it has referred 11 recommendations to the ACCS for further study. Finally, he thanked everyone for their hard work and achievements, especially in a virtual environment.

Co-chair Bruce MacDonald noted that it was wonderful to see the interaction between the Government and sector leaders. He feels that there has been lots of momentum in making progress, and is encouraged by the level of activity in the sector. Imagine Canada will be hosting webinars in May to open the dialogue with charities for Reports #1 and #2, and communicate that Report #3 is in development. Each of the working groups provided an update on the status of their recommendations, and identified issues that overlap or intersect with other working groups.

To conclude the meeting, the Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier spoke to the committee through video message. She recognized how proud she is of the work of the ACCS and reiterated her support of the committee. She congratulated them on the forthcoming publication of their second report, and noted that she has reviewed the recommendations.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue, Francesco Sorbara, and the Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency, Bob Hamilton joined the meeting virtually, to provide an update and answer questions. Mr. Sorbara mentioned that he has read Report #2 closely, and noted that the work speaks for itself. He recognizes that significant efforts have gone into both reports, and he continues to be impressed by the passion, vision, and meaningful dialogue with the sector.

Mr. Hamilton also spoke about the report and recommendations, including the need for better data and increased transparency. He noted that Report #2 covers many important issues, including relationships with Indigenous organizations. He thanked the committee members, and spoke about how he is impressed with the recommendations that intersect between the working group mandates and government priorities. Mr. Sorbara and Mr. Hamilton then took questions from the committee members.

Mr. Trueman thanked everyone for their time and closed the meeting. The next full ACCS meeting, to address Reports #2 and #3, will be held virtually on May 31, 2021.

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