FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON: January 20, 2016 – For years, Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) has called for fairness and appropriate prioritization in the Canada Revenue Agency’s activities. Today, we welcome the government’s announcement to take clear steps in the direction by ending the CRA’s political activities audit program.
Many Canadians support the work of charities, which together comprise over 8% of the national GDP. Recently, concerns have surfaced about audits undertaken by CRA targeting charities’ perceived political activities. This has caused a “chill effect” on democratic charitable activities.
The Canadian Council of Churches, of which CPJ is an affiliate member, has raised this substantial concern in a letter to government. During the 2015 federal election, CPJ called for the government to consult with the charitable sector in clarifying Canada Revenue Agency’s definitions of political activities. Today, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, committed to do exactly that, announcing that she will engage with “key stakeholders” and direct the Charities Directorate of CRA to “find ways to further clarify the rules governing a registered charity’s involvement in political activities.”
“A free and healthy charitable non-profit sector is a crucial part of our democracy,” said Joe Gunn, Executive Director of CPJ. “Faith-based organizations are a significant part of this sector and must be able to speak freely.”
Contact: Brad Wassink, Communications Coordinator, Citizens for Public Justice, at 613-232-0275 x.225 or ac.jpc@darb.