Mandate Letters Issued to Amend ITA Concerning the Charitable Status of Certain Organisations
Jan 2022 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on January 27 2022

By Terrance S. Carter
   
 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued mandate letters to all Cabinet Ministers on December 16, 2021. Two mandate letters, specifically a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and a letter to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, direct them to introduce amendments to the ITA to, among other things, “make anti-abortion organizations that provide dishonest counselling to pregnant women about their rights and options ineligible for charitable status […]”.

As mandate letters outline objectives set out by the Prime Minister for Cabinet Ministers to achieve, it remains to be seen what amendments to the ITA will be introduced to that end. However, notwithstanding one’s position on the underlying social issues reflected in the mandate letters, it is concerning that the federal government’s proposal specifically targets an existing segment of the charitable sector that it believes should no longer be eligible for charitable status by proposing amendments to the ITA to ensure that result.

Such action may have the unintended consequence of establishing an unsettling precedent in the long term, as a similar approach could subsequently be taken by future governments with regard to another segment of the charitable sector that the government of the day considers should no longer be eligible for charitable status. Ultimately, this provision of the mandate letters affects the entire charitable sector. As such, it will be important to carefully monitor any proposed amendments to the ITA to see what the long-term implications of such amendments might be on the sector as a whole.

   
 

Read the January 2022 Charity & NFP Law Update