Glossary: E

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  • Registered

    An organization has applied to the CRA and received approval as meeting the requirements for registration as a charity, and has been issued a charitable registration number.

    A registered charity is exempt from paying income tax and can issue official donation receipts for gifts it receives. However, if a registered charity is under suspension, it no longer has receipting privileges during the suspension period.

    A registered charity is designated by the CRA as a charitable organization, a public foundation, or private foundation.

    (CRA : Charities Glossary)

  • Financial statements

    At a minimum, financial statements consist of a statement of assets and liabilities and a statement of revenue and expenditures for the fiscal period. They should show the different sources of a registered charity's revenue and how it spent its money.

    (CRA : Charities Glossary)

  • Partisan political activities - examples

    In the following hypothetical examples, the charity is called Healthy Retirement and was formed to promote the health of seniors in Canada. It has received a lot of media attention on its recently released, well-reasoned position on the hazards for seniors of using marked crosswalks. It concludes from its findings that a senior is four times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident with a car at a marked crosswalk than at an intersection with a stop sign or a light.

    Example 1 — Supporting an election candidate in the charity's newsletter

    Healthy Retirement sends a newsletter to all its members that contains an editorial from the managing director of the charity conveying his views on the main issues it is currently facing. Just before an election, the director uses the column to give his personal support to the re-election of a candidate who happens to endorse a policy that the charity also supports. The director uses his personal funds to pay for that edition of the newsletter. In this case, the charity is engaging in a prohibited partisan political activity because although the director paid for that edition of the newsletter, it is an official publication of the charity and is being used to promote a candidate for an election.

    Example 2 — Distributing leaflets highlighting lack of government support for charity goals

    Healthy Retirement decides to distribute leaflets to members of the public during a federal election campaign. The leaflets highlight its research findings that drivers do not respect the pedestrian right-of-way at marked crosswalks. It also states that a private members bill that proposed to increase the penalties imposed on drivers failing to give the right-of-way to pedestrians at marked crosswalks did not become law because government-side Members of Parliament voted against it. In this case, the distribution of the leaflets is a prohibited partisan political activity because it could mobilize public opinion against the current government for failing to enact the private members bill.

    Whatever the issue, a charity is not permitted to directly or indirectly support or oppose any political party or candidate for public office, at any level of government.

    Had the charity merely published a leaflet that showed how all the Members of Parliament voted on the private members bill, CRA would not have viewed this as a partisan political activity.

    Example 3 — Preparing dinner for campaign organizers of a political party

    During a provincial election campaign, Healthy Retirement invites, to one of its monthly "heart smart" dinners, all those involved in organizing the campaign for a political party that promotes policies targeted at increasing health spending on respite care for seniors. The campaign team is treated to a delicious three-course meal that is low in fat and salt, and they receive information about the charity's programs. This is a prohibited partisan political activity because the charity is providing direct support, by way of a free meal, to campaign organizers of a political party.

    Example 4 — Inviting competing election candidates to speak at separate events

    Healthy Retirement invites a candidate in a municipal election, who is in favour of increasing the money available to deliver hot meals to seniors in poor health, to talk about a particular issue on the candidate's electoral platform that is consistent with the charity's goals at its well-attended annual fundraising dinner. At a later date, it invites another candidate in the election to speak at its poorly attended annual general meeting. The charity does not endorse either candidate at either meeting and no political fundraising occurs. Nevertheless, as the charity is not giving an equal opportunity for candidates seeking the same office to speak, it is possible to infer that the charity is indirectly supporting a particular candidate for public office and is therefore engaged in a prohibited partisan political activity. To avoid this assumption, a charity must ensure that in such circumstances, it invites all the candidates in an election to speak at the same time. Furthermore, the charity must give the candidates an equal amount of time to speak on their general platform.

  • Charitable activity - examples

    In the following hypothetical examples, the charity is called Healthy Retirement and was formed to promote the health of seniors in Canada. It has received a lot of media attention on its recently released, well-reasoned position on the hazards for seniors of using marked crosswalks. It concludes from its findings that a senior is four times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident with a car at a marked crosswalk than at an intersection with a stop sign or a light.

    Example 1 — Distributing the charity's research

    Healthy Retirement distributes the results of its research to the media, its members, other charities that specialize in promoting the health and welfare of seniors, the general public, and anyone interested in its findings. It also publishes its report in medical association journals and on its Web site, and highlights its release in a newsletter sent to subscribers. In these cases, all the resources devoted to the research and distribution of the findings are considered resources devoted to charitable activities because:

    • the activities are connected and subordinate to the charity's purposes;
    • the activities do not contain a call to political action; and
    • the activities are based on a well-reasoned position.

    This is information that seniors can use to improve their safety and that decision-makers can use when deciding where and whether to use crosswalks or other traffic controls when considered in combination with other issues.

    Example 2 — Distributing a research report to election candidates

    Healthy Retirement decides to send its report to all candidates in a municipal election to inform them about the hazard marked crosswalks pose for seniors. This is a charitable activity because it is connected and subordinate to the charity's purpose and because no one candidate is favoured over another.

    Example 3 — Publishing a research report online

    A major finding of the report was that many motorists fail to respect the right-of-way at marked crosswalks. When Healthy Retirement publishes its report online, it highlights this fact and urges motorists to observe the law. This is still a charitable activity because it is encouraging people to respect the existing law on an issue that relates to its purposes.

    Example 4 — Presenting the research report to a Parliamentary Committee

    The research director of Healthy Retirement presents the charity's findings to a Parliamentary Committee formed to hear representations on whether there should be stiffer penalties in the Criminal Code for dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. She ends her representation with a recommendation (based on a well-reasoned position) that a driver failing to observe the pedestrian right-of-way at a marked crosswalk should be automatically subject to a charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, as a deterrent.

    Even though the charity explicitly proposed a political solution to the problem, this activity is charitable because it is a communication to an elected official based on a well-reasoned position.

    Example 5 — Giving an interview about the research report

    Following her representation, as the research director of Healthy Retirement is leaving Parliament, she is stopped by the media and interviewed for television and radio about what she said and the report. She outlines her representation and repeats the conclusion that on the basis of the research the charity has done, the charity thinks that the number of pedestrian deaths involving seniors might be reduced if drivers who failed to recognize the right-of-way of pedestrians at marked crosswalks faced stiffer penalties. This interview is not a political activity because the research director did not arrange a media campaign to publicize the charity's conclusion that the law should be changed; she simply explained what she had said to the elected representatives.

    Example 6 — Distributing the research report to all Members of Parliament

    A bill is being debated in Parliament. The bill proposes a change to the Criminal Code that would allow a driver who fails to observe the pedestrian right-of-way at a marked crosswalk to be charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. Healthy Retirement gives Members of the House, for use in debate, a relevant well-reasoned position regarding how such a charge might encourage drivers to uphold the law and thereby save lives. This is a charitable activity because Healthy Retirement is informing elected representatives about its work on an issue that is connected and subordinate to the charity's purposes and based on a well-reasoned position.

    Example 7 — Participating in an international policy development working group

    The research director of Healthy Retirement is asked to join a working group of the World Health Organization that is gathering together government policy makers, academics, and voluntary sector representatives from around the world to develop a charter to promote the health of senior citizens. Such an activity is connected and subordinate to the charity's purpose. Although the research director is taking part in an initiative organized by an international body, this kind of activity is considered to be like communicating with a public official because government policy-makers are also invited (whether or not they actually attend). Therefore, as long as the research director's contribution is based on a well-reasoned position, the resources of the charity devoted to developing such a charter are viewed as resources devoted to a charitable activity.

    Example 8 — Joining a government advisory panel to discuss policy changes

    A provincial government launches a Health Sector Initiative to look at ways of improving its service delivery to residents of the province. Healthy Retirement is asked to join an advisory panel with other health charities and public officials to discuss possible policy changes. Based on a well-reasoned position, Healthy Retirement suggests that the province should increase its number of long-term hospital care beds for the elderly. Although the charity is recommending a change in provincial health policy, the charity's involvement in the advisory panel is a communication to a group of public officials based on a position that is well-reasoned. Therefore, the resources devoted to the activity are resources devoted to a charitable activity.