As previously reported, the 2016 Federal Budget announced the government’s commitment to engage with stakeholders in an effort to clarify the political activities rules applicable to Canadian registered charities. On September 27, 2016, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, P.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue (the “Minister”), held a news conference at which she launched the government’s public consultations on these rules. The first stage of the consultations is an online consultation process, which is now open and will remain open until November 25, 2016. We encourage our readers and clients with an interest in these issues to visit the Canada Revenue Agency’s online consultation page to submit their comments. Some parts of the sector have long cried out for a change to the political activities rules and now is your chance to be heard. Public consultations are only effective if the government receives feedback from impacted parties.

After the online consultation process, in-person consultations will take place in Halifax, Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. The dates for these meetings have yet to be announced.

A panel will then be convened to consider the feedback from the online and in-person consultations and to make recommendations to the Minister in a report to be provided in early 2017. We are pleased to report that Susan Manwaring, Partner at Miller Thomson LLP and National Lead of our Social Impact Group, has been appointed to the panel. Susan has extensive experience helping organizations comply with the rules and regulations applicable to charities, including the complex rules around engaging in political activities.