(April 22, 2022) The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced the appointment of nine new members to the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS) on April 5.
The committee came under scathing criticism in March 2021 after it released its first report when it identified mid-pandemic, the biggest issues facing the charity sector as:
- Abolishing the requirement for the direction and control when a charity provides resources for a non-qualified donee
- Appeals to decisions made by the Charities Directorate be able to proceed to the Tax Court of Canada for a new hearing
- That there be a ‘home’ for the sector within government.
It was also suggested by critics such as charity lawyer Mark Blumberg that the main interest of the ACCS is de-regulation, that the people with the most money want to be free to spend it however they wish. And like most charities or charity-adjacent groups, they were criticized for a lack of diversity.
The new members of the ACCS are:
Christian Bolduc –President & CEO, BNP Performance, LL.B, ASC, C.Dir., CFRE
Owen Charters –President & CEO, BGC Canada (formerly Boys & Girls Clubs)
Dr. Anver Emon –Canada Research Chair in Islamic Law and History, and Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Toronto
Sheherazade Hirji –Former Resident Representative, Aga Khan Development Network, Afghanistan
Jean-Marc Mangin –President & CEO, Philanthropic Foundations Canada
Sarah Midanik –President & CEO, The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF)
Martha Rans –Founder & Legal Director, Pacific Legal Education and Outreach Society (PLEOS)
Tanya Rumble –Director of Development, Ryerson University
Bob Wyatt –Executive Director, Muttart Foundation
The ministry’s goal of racially diversifying the make-up of the committee seems to have been accomplished.
“I am pleased to welcome the new members of the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector, including two members from the Muslim community,” said The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue in a written statement.
“Increased representation is important to ensure that the work of the committee reflects the diverse needs of the charitable sector. I look forward to continued collaboration with the committee as we work together to shape a regulatory environment that enables charities to succeed.”
Yet the interests of the new members do not appear to have appreciably changed.
Most still represent the interest of wealthy charities, especially private and public foundations. Among the new appointees is Jean-Marc Mangin, President & CEO, Philanthropic Foundations Canada, the chief lobby group for more than 130 private and public foundations, including the largest foundations in the country. And if your interest is equity in the charity sector as opposed to “appeals to decisions made by the Charities Directorate be able to proceed to the Tax Court of Canada for a new hearing,” it’s rather like having a pharmaceutical company as a member of an advisory committee on opioid addiction. The total asset value of all public and private foundations in Canada was valued at 116.1 billion at the end of 2019
The voices to both raising the disbursement quota of foundations and regulating their investment so they have a positive social impact are growing louder. Foundations currently pay no tax on investment earnings but are not obliged to invest in anything that promotes social good. These changes—movements towards a more equitable playing field in the charity sector—do not seem to have become more likely with the new appointees.
The ACCS will continue to be co-chaired by Hilary Pearson, former President, Philanthropic Foundations Canada, and Bruce MacDonald, President & CEO, Imagine Canada.
Since 2019, the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector have published three reports containing a range of recommendations.
Michael Sabia and the staggering conflict of interest in key roles involving charitable foundations October 30, 2021
DQ Consultation: Fear and loathing in the charity sector September 27, 2021
Sector co-chairs of the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS) respond to criticism March 21, 2021