Advertisement

Good360 leaderboard ad
Close Search
 
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
Around the World  |  Social Affairs

Government Backdown Signals Major Advocacy Win for Canadian Charities


7 February 2019 at 4:40 pm
Luke Michael
The Canadian government has dropped its appeal of a court ruling that scrapped the limit on the political activities of a charity.


Luke Michael | 7 February 2019 at 4:40 pm


0 Comments


 Print
Government Backdown Signals Major Advocacy Win for Canadian Charities
7 February 2019 at 4:40 pm

The Canadian government has dropped its appeal of a court ruling that scrapped the limit on the political activities of a charity.

The Ontario Superior Court ruled last July that legislation preventing charities from spending more than 10 per cent of their resources on political activities violated charities’ constitutional right to free expression.

While the Canadian government agreed to remove this 10 per cent limit on non-partisan political advocacy, it appealed the court decision last August because of “significant errors of law” that saw the court apply a test for religious freedom rather than for freedom of expression.

But the government has now dropped the appeal, despite a spokesperson for National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier telling CBC News the government still believed the court made an error of law.

Spokesperson Anne Ellefsen-Gauthier said after consulting with the charity sector and reviewing higher court rulings, the government decided not to fight the ruling because little would be gained from the effort.

“Higher courts have already been pretty clear on the different test that needs to be applied to freedom of expression… We’re dropping the appeal,” Ellefsen-Gauthier said.

It was charity group Canada Without Poverty (CWP) that brought the original legal challenge, resulting in the Ontario Superior Court’s advocacy ruling.

CWP’s charitable status came under threat in 2015, after a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audit found CWP had breached regulations by spending 98.5 per cent of its time on non-partisan political activities.

The charity launched its court challenge in 2016, arguing provisions in the Income Tax Act restricting political activities were a violation of the right to freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Justice Morgan ruled in favour of CWP last July, noting in his decision the critical importance of freedom of expression for people living in poverty and the necessity of their contributions to public debate.

CWP warmly welcomed the decision on Twitter.

“We are so pleased the government has done the right thing twice – first, with the legislative changes, and now by withdrawing the appeal of the ruling. While the legislative changes were critical, it’s equally important that the rights of people living in [poverty] are recognized,” the charity said.


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au or download our contributor guidelines.

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Support for returning to learning is key to protecting future employment

Renee Hancock

Tuesday, 2nd June 2020 at 4:00 pm

COVID-19 and the impacts on mental health

Andrew Cairns

Thursday, 28th May 2020 at 8:22 am

Advertisement

Good360 leaderboard ad
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook
×

We need your help.

Our COVID-19 coverage has driven our website traffic up by 250%. But we are seeing a huge fall in advertising, which is how we fund our free news service. This is hard for us to ask knowing how tough times are for everyone. But now is the time to show us you value our work.

 Make a contribution 

You have Successfully Subscribed!