Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector Reviews Challenges Faced by Charities
January 2021 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on January 28, 2021

By Jacqueline M. Demczur


The CRA’s Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (“ACCS”) met again in December, 2020 to discuss a number of matters of concern to the charitable sector, including charities that have been hit harder than others during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ACCS met by videoconference on December 1, 2020, and a readout of that meeting was published on the CRA website earlier this month on January 6, 2021.

The readout reported that Tony Manconi, Director General of the CRA’s Charities Directorate, provided the ACCS with an update on the charitable sector, noting that the Directorate’s client services phone line had received over 50,000 calls in the past eight months, similar to prior years. Manconi recommended that charities call the CRA if they are unsure about eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (“CERS”) or the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”). According to the readout, the CRA has processed over 76,000 applications for CEWS with over $2 billion paid out to charities.

ACCS members noted the difficulty for some organizations to adapt to the pandemic, and how some charities that were not eligible for CERS because they own their own buildings and had to close some facilities. Many organizations “are spending their time and resources dealing with immediate challenges” and fatigue among volunteers and directors is “a real concern.”

The ACCS also discussed the draft of its first report on “important issues facing registered charities” (set out below), which received detailed feedback from its five working groups during the meeting:

  • Modernizing the regulatory framework in Government as it relates to the charitable sector;
  • Supporting the work of charities serving vulnerable populations;
  • Exploring charity-related regulatory and legislative issues faced by Indigenous Peoples and organizations;
  • Examining the regulatory approach to charitable purposes and activities, including its impact on charities working with non-qualified donees, and charities engaging in revenue-earning activities; and
  • Improving data collection and analysis related to the charitable sector.

As part of this report, the ACCS has drafted recommendations for the Minister of National Revenue and the Commissioner of the CRA to address these important issues. The ACCS also discussed during the meeting “common themes, potential gaps and a work plan for 2021”, which will include the five working groups consulting with a wide range of stakeholders and using those findings to inform future recommendations. The report is expected to be available “in the coming months.”

The next ACCS meeting is scheduled for January 29, 2021.


Read the January 2021 Charity & NFP Law Update