Readout: Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector – June 8 & 9, 2023

The Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS) met in Ottawa in person for a two day meeting, held on June 8 and 9, 2023.

June 8, 2023

Geoff Trueman, outgoing Assistant Commissioner of the Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch (LPRAB) of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), opened the meeting by taking a moment to acknowledge the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People.

He also introduced Soren Halverson as the incoming Assistant Commissioner, LPRAB, and co-chair for the CRA. The meeting commenced with housekeeping matters, including individual member introductions to Soren Halverson.

Robert Delaney, Director, from the Charities Directorate at the CRA, provided an update on draft Guidance CG-032, Registered charities making grants to non-qualified donees. He described upcoming donor questionnaire modifications to a new version of Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return. Blaine Langdon, Director, from Tax Policy Branch at the Department of Finance Canada, provided updates from Finance, and an action item was assigned to the group for follow-up, to ensure that any information released on T3010 version changes aligns with the sector's needs.

Bruce McDonald presented the following meeting objectives: frame the purpose of the meeting; clarify working group mandates; establish the committee’s work plan from June 2023 to April 2024; maintain an actions log; and, discuss the meeting held between the co-chairs and working group leads on updates in April.

Hilary Pearson led a discussion on governance guidelines, while Bruce MacDonald opened a conversation regarding observations from the sector. The Definition of Charity and charitable purpose working group (DCCPWG) presented their refined mandate and introduced worksheets to address relevant questions and explore the legal framework related to charities in Canada. The National Inherent Risk Assessment working group (NIRAWG), the Relationship between the CRA and the charitable sector working group (CRACSWG), and the Transparency and data related to other qualified donees and non-profit organizations working group (TDWG) presented their refined mandates and potential areas of exploration. Tanya Rumble provided an update on the TDWG, mentioning their focus on two major legislative changes: the increased disbursement quota and, grants to non-qualified donees (non-QDs). The working group is aiming to assess the impact of these changes, particularly in terms of increased gifts to non-QDs, flow of funds, grants made, and asset transfers.

Bruce Macdonald concluded by highlighting the importance of deepening the committee’s impact through a greater focus. Geoff Trueman closed the meeting.

June 9, 2023

Soren Halverson began the meeting with a land acknowledgement. Faizel Gulamhussein, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Minister of National Revenue, attended and delivered remarks on behalf of the Minister of National Revenue. This was followed by a question and answer session for the members.

The committee discussed preparing an update for the sector, including considerations for the format (webinar, newsletter, etc.) and content of the communication.

The Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsperson delivered a presentation titled "Charity Begins with Fairness." This was followed by a roundtable discussion to determine the most important points discussed, evaluate if the ACCS achieved its meeting objectives, and confirm the next steps. Sharmila Khare, Director General of the Charities Directorate, provided an update on the CRA's future actions in response to the recommendations made by the OTO (Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsperson).

The committee concluded the meeting by acknowledging the outgoing co-chairs: Bruce MacDonald, Hilary Pearson, and Geoff Trueman. Each ACCS member expressed their gratitude for their significant contributions. Sheherazade Hirji closed the meeting.

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