Canada’s charitable sector is at a crossroads. Heavy demand for services is already straining capacity. If, as seems likely, charities face a future of slow revenue growth, the gap between demand and capacity may degrade the quality of supports for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

In response to that reality, the charitable sector is pressing for regulatory reform. The political activity audits, recently suspended but still fresh in the sector’s mind, supply just one example of where the regulatory regime must modernize if charities are to better serve their constituents. A well-drawn regulatory regime will augment the ability of charities to meet ever-growing expectations.

This paper seeks to help the sector and the architects of the federal regulatory regime – developed by the Department of Finance and administered by the Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Directorate – create a more enabling regulatory environment. In an enabling environment, the government invests in the growth and success of the sector and consults key stakeholders on their priorities and needs. It safeguards public interest, supports the sustainability of charities and nonprofits, while optimizing the policy landscape for innovation and experimentation.” This paper outlines how today’s rules sometimes interfere with that vision, and offers high-level recommendations to begin a process of re-alignment.

Authors: Duncan Farthing-Nichol, Lisa Lalande & Joanne Cave

Published By: Mowat NFP

Publication Date: June 2017

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