With the release of the Report of the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities, we can see the direction Canada is going. Below is a brief summary on the good, bad, and neutral revisions the Consultation Panel is advising.
- The Panel recommends that the CRA should revise its policy to remove the requirement that a charity’s materials must reflect all sides of the argument
- The Panel recommends that amendments retain the prohibition on charities’ engaging in “partisan political activities”, with the inclusion of “elected officials”
- This restricts our free speech even more than before by prohibiting charities to support a political party, candidate for public office, or a current elected official! Only charities have this restriction placed on their free speech. We are treated like we are second class citizens.
- In regard to the current political activities reporting requirement, the Panel recommends that the quantitative approach be replaced with a qualitative approach. In pther words, charities would not be required to track and report a percentage of resources expended on their political activities; however, they would be required to describe these and articulate how they further their charitable purposes.
- This is not necessary because the main issue is the restriction of free speech churches face (the prohibition on partisan speech). Charities are first and foremost a charity, so the 10% allocation of money to political activities is an understandable restriction and does not need to be revised.
Read full report here.