Readout: Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector – May 25 & 26, 2022
May 25, 2022
The Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS) met by videoconference for a two-part meeting, held on May 25 and 26, 2022.
This was the first meeting since the addition of nine new committee members, who were appointed by the Minister of National Revenue in April 2022.
Sharmila Khare, Director General of the Charities Directorate at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), opened the call by acknowledging the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People, as well as the traditional territories of attendees joining across Canada. She encouraged participants to engage in reconciliation, especially as we approach National Indigenous History Month in June.
Sharmila Khare introduced the facilitator, Kim Fuller, as well as the new Director of the Policy, Planning and Legislative Division, Robert Delaney.
In the afternoon, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue, Peter Fragiskatos, joined the meeting to speak with the committee members. He recognized the work accomplished thus far, and provided positive feedback on the progress of the Committee.
He stated that, “through [the Committee’s] knowledge of the sector and the challenges that it faces, we continue to learn so much about how to modernize the regulatory framework of the charitable sector in order to support the important work that you do.” Peter Fragiskatos also spoke about the government’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion, and the importance of fighting all forms of discrimination and racism. To close, he then answered questions from the committee members, before wishing them well with the remainder of their meeting.
The committee members divided into breakout rooms to discuss the 48 recommendations provided to the Minister in the three reports the ACCS published in 2021. The goal of these conversations was to answer any questions about the existing recommendations, and address any gaps that the Committee could work on moving forward. After the breakout rooms, the Committee gathered in plenary and each breakout room moderator provided a summary of their discussion.
Co-chairs Hilary Pearson and Bruce MacDonald concluded the meeting.
May 26, 2022
On May 26, Kim Fuller led a discussion with the Committee to confirm existing priorities and identify new priorities moving forward.
The objective of these discussions was to begin to establish Committee priorities, and articulate how these priorities relate to other Committee goals and recommendations, including some items identified by the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector. The next step for the ACCS is to establish working groups that align with the mandate of the Committee and these ongoing priorities.
There were a number of themes identified over the course of two days, including:
- improving the regulatory framework, including the definition of “charity” itself;
- appeal mechanisms;
- tax incentives;
- CRA administrative processes; and
- collecting more and better data on the charitable sector.
The discussion recognized that while the prior Committee had standalone working groups on Indigenous communities/reconciliation, and marginalized and vulnerable communities, perhaps these focal points could be integrated as part of the “north star” or guiding principle that the committee may wish to identify. This discussion centred on ensuring the charitable sector is best positioned to maximize its contribution to the social fabric of Canada and supporting a healthy democracy with a vibrant charitable sector.
The sector co-chairs provided closing remarks to end the meeting. Bruce MacDonald thanked all committee members, and recognized that the group has provided valuable input to help forge the path ahead. Hilary Pearson reflected upon what the Committee has done so far, and recognized their important role in improving the relationship between the charitable sector and the government.
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