Philanthropy and Charitable Tax Law

Special Edition: Philanthropy and Charitable Tax Law

For those of us who work within—or alongside—the Canadian philanthropic sector, 2020 was a year of reflection, learning, and adaptation. In addition to emphasizing the structural roots of social, health, and economic inequities in Canadian society, COVID-19 highlighted significant gaps between what the Canadian philanthropic sector currently provides and what communities need. Naturally, this invigorated much discussion and debate around how the sector can better address these gaps.

While these conversations have focused on grantmaking foundation strategy (e.g., loosening restrictions on how grants can be spent, as well as grantee reporting requirements), far less attention has been paid to the rules, regulations, and laws governing the philanthropic sector. Described in the Canadian Income Tax Act, these rules, regulations, and laws provide grantmaking foundations with generous charitable tax benefits, while also establishing a range of requirements and limitations that foundations must abide by. Simply put, these charitable tax laws determine what can and cannot be done within the sector.

Evidently, charitable tax law plays a fundamental role in linking the philanthropic sector with movements for social, economic, and ecological justice. As we enter 2021 and shift our attention toward philanthropy’s role in a just and equitable recovery, we need to give ourselves permission to reflect on, and reimagine, all aspects of the philanthropic sector, including its legal framework. PhiLab Quebec’s Special Edition on “Philanthropy and Charitable Tax Law,” aims to stimulate discussion around the role of charitable tax in the philanthropic sector’s future, as well as broader questions of adaptation to a post-COVID-19 world.

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Philanthropy and Charitable Tax Law

Consult our January 2021 Newsletter for the Special Edition: Philanthropy and Charitable Law