Laying the groundwork for charity regulatory reform in Canada
Mowat NFP’s new release, the second in its Enabling Environment series, aims to set the stage for the design of a new legislative framework governing the charitable sector in Canada.
Canada’s charitable sector is at a crossroads. Heavy demand for services is already straining capacity. If, as seems likely, charities face a future of slow revenue growth, the gap between demand and capacity may degrade the quality of the supports it provides to the most vulnerable people in our communities.
The federal government made a commitment to explore broader opportunities to reform the regulatory regime governing charities in its mandate letters. The recent Report of the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities urges the federal government to “modernize the rules governing the charitable sector through the development of a new legislative framework.” We suggest that the federal government and the sector take that opportunity.
This paper reviews the federal charities regulatory regime, and discusses the limitations of this regime as designed and administered today. It summarizes past reform efforts and international lessons, and recommends high-level changes by which the federal government and the sector can begin to build a more responsive regulatory framework.