Written with the assistance of Graeme S. Harrison, articling
Canadian registered charities seeking to comply with
Canada's new anti-spam law (CASL) recently received some
disappointing news. CASL is a very complex law and many
important issues remain ambiguous and uncertain. Several registered
charities under the Income Tax Act, however, had thought
that they could avoid some of the turmoil that non-profits and
businesses were facing as they sought to address the implications
of compliance with a regulatory regime that regulates all
commercial electronic messages. Registered charities had obtained,
under the Industry Canada Regulations published in December 2013,
an exemption from the regulation of commercial electronic messages
provisions of CASL (Section 6) for messages sent for the
"primary purpose" of fundraising.
While this exemption was good news for charities, uncertainty
remained about what "primary purpose" might mean and how
"fundraising" was to be interpreted.
Imagine Canada describes itself as "A national charitable
organization that supports charities and nonprofits so they can
support Canadians and communities they serve". Imagine Canada
reported that it had entered into discussions with Industry Canada,
one of the regulators responsible for certain aspects of CASL, to
seek clarification on aspects of how registered charities would be
treated under CASL. On June 5, Imagine Canada issued an
"Issue Alert" on its website and to many registered
charities on how they believed charities' activities would be
treated under CASL. Many charities responded favorably to such
guidance, which gave them a direction forward in planning their
Further, the CRTC did not give specific guidance on their
interpretation for Imagine Canada to disseminate to Canadian
charities. Rather, according to the "Issue
"The CRTC has yet to issue official guidance on the
exemption as it applies to charities and has indicated that an FAQ
document pertaining to registered charities will be issued in the
coming weeks. [Note:AfterCASL comes into
force.] As such, the full extent of the discrepancies
between the interpretation provided by Industry Canada, the authors
of the legislation and regulations, and the CRTC, may only become
clear after the legislation takes effect.
We have written to the CRTC asking to meet with them immediately
to obtain clarification and guidance to assist charities."
It is very unfortunate that registered charities, like
non-profits and commercial concerns in Canada, will need to await
clarity on many open issues under the new law until after the law
is in place.
It is hoped that the uncertainty created by the new law will be
given prominent consideration in enforcement decisions by the CRTC
in respect of the compliance efforts of legitimate businesses,
nonprofits and registered charities as they seek to navigate its
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions or GST.
Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan Act and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions.
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