Environmental and left-leaning charities can breath a sigh of relief now that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has instructed Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier to modernize Canada’s archaic charity law and clarify rules around allowable “political activity.”
The ministry should “allow charities to do their work on behalf of Canadians free from political harassment,” Trudeau wrote in a ministerial mandate letter Friday, “with an understanding that charities make an important contribution to public debate and public policy.”
The new mandate signals a remarkable change in tone from the at times aggressive stance of the former government.
In 2012 the Harper government allocated $13.4 million to the Canada Revenue Agency for the audit of charities to determine if groups were in violation of rules that limit their spending on “political activity” to 10 per cent of resources. The program also instituted new reporting for charities receiving foreign funding.