Canada: Important Commitments To The Charitable And Non-Profit Sector Announced In 2018 Fall Economic Statement

Last Updated: November 27 2018
Article by Sarah Fitzpatrick

In the 2018 Fall Economic Statement, released on November 21, 2018, the Federal Government of Canada announced important commitments for the charitable and non-profit sector.

Advisory Committee on Charitable Sector

The Government has committed to engaging in a meaningful dialogue with charities. In response to the recommendations of the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities and the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group, the Government is creating a permanent Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector which will advise the Government on important issues facing charities. The Advisory Committee will be led by the Canada Revenue Agency and be made up of stakeholders from the charitable sector.

The Government will be providing $4.6 million in funding for the Committee over the 2018-19 to 2023-24 period.

Social Finance Fund

Also in response to the recommendations of the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group, the Government intends to establish a Social Finance Fund which will have up to $755 million available on a cash basis over the next 10 years. The Social Finance Fund is intended to help charitable, non-profit and other social purpose organizations access new financing and attract private sector investment through matching funds. In addition, the Government proposes to invest $50 million over two years in an Investment and Readiness stream which will assist social purpose organizations in improving their improving their competency in navigating the social finance market.

Additional details on the Social Finance Fund will be released in early 2019.

Canadian Journalism

The Government announced three new initiatives it plans to introduce to support Canadian journalism. The initiatives build on the commitments to explore new models to provide financial support for journalism in Canada that the Government made in the 2018 Federal Budget. We previously reported on the commitments made in Budget 2018 here.

The three proposed initiatives are:

1. Charitable Tax Incentives for Eligible News Organizations

The Government intends to create a new category of qualified donee for non-profit journalism organizations that produce a wide variety of news and information of interest to Canadians. Qualified donees, which include registered charities, are organizations that can issue official donation receipts to donors in the same manner as registered charities. This will provide donors with a tax deduction or credit if they make a donation to a news organization that is registered as a qualified donee. In addition, this will allow these news organizations to also receive funding from registered charities.

2. Refundable Tax Credit to Support News Organizations

The Government intends to introduce a new refundable tax credit for qualifying news organizations effective January 1, 2019. The refundable tax credit would support labour costs that are associated with producing original news content. Both non-profit and for-profit news organizations that qualify would be able to use the refundable tax credit.

An independent panel will be appointed, with representatives from the news and journalism sector, to define the eligibility requirements for this tax credit, as well as to advise on other measures.

3. Non-Refundable Tax Credit for Subscriptions to Canadian Digital News Media

Lastly, the Government intends to introduce a new temporary, non-refundable 15% tax credit for subscribers who subscribe for digital news media. No detail has been provided yet on what will be the qualification requirements for this tax credit.

The Government estimates that the three incentives on journalism will cost it approximately $595 million over the next five years. Additional details on these new incentives will be included in the 2019 Federal Budget.

A copy of the 2018 Fall Economic Statement is available here. We will continue to update our readers on developments on these matters when further announcements are made.

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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