Media Release: Imagine Canada Reacts to Budget 2012
Ottawa, March 29, 2012 – Imagine Canada, the national umbrella organization for charities and public benefit nonprofits, is pleased that the government will “continue to explore social finance instruments” and we encourage the acceleration of these efforts as the sector seeks to meet growing demand with ever constrained financing. “One of the sector’s top priorities is financial sustainability and we urge government to facilitate an enabling environment in which new models can thrive,” said Marcel Lauzière, Imagine Canada’s President and CEO. “A range of new financing instruments will be required and they need to be complemented by measures to provide business advisory and business support programs for charities and nonprofits. Imagine Canada has recommended and will continue to press for access to existing business support programs for charities and nonprofits.”
The budget also announced that charities will be required to provide more information about their political activities including the extent to which these are funded by foreign sources. In addition, the budget proposes to amend the Income Tax Act to further “restrict the extent to which charities may fund political activities of other qualified donnees and to introduce new sanctions for charities that exceed the limits on political activities, or that fail to provide complete and accurate information in relation to any aspect of their annual return.”
“Internationally, Canadian charities are at the forefront of transparency and accountability,” said Lauzière. “Imagine Canada will carefully analyze these proposed changes to assess their full implications and will engage actively in the consultations on these proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act. The onus is on the federal government not to discourage these donations or activities, or to add disproportionate administrative costs to charities.” As the government notes in the budget: “Given their unique perspectives and expertise, it is broadly recognized that charities make a valuable contribution to the development of public policy in Canada.”
Imagine Canada is pleased to see that the government has introduced measures that will enhance reporting and transparency and increase sanctions in connection with abusive tax shelter schemes.
With regard to the significant cuts to government departments, they will have a major impact on the communities served by Canada’s charities and nonprofits and we call on government to ensure transition support and funding to minimize the short- and long-term impact. We also urge government to accelerate its intent as announced in the budget to “modernize the administration of grants and contributions to reduce red tape and make it easier to access funding.”
Building on the experience of other countries, the Finance Department has announced that the “Government of Canada and the Mint will work in collaboration with Imagine Canada to reach out to institutions and charitable organizations who may wish to organize fundraising activities around the elimination of the penny.” Imagine Canada looks forward to collaborating creatively with government and charities across the country to maximize this fundraising opportunity.
Finally, Imagine Canada is disappointed that today’s federal budget did not include the Stretch Tax Credit for Charitable Giving, which had been the sector’s top priority. “We were hopeful that the government would choose to move forward with the Stretch Tax Credit at this time given the strong support the Stretch has received at the Commons Finance Committee hearings on charitable giving,” said Lauzière. “The Stretch Tax Credit is about challenging Canadians to give or to give more. Imagine Canada will continue to press for it and we look forward to the Committee’s report this spring.”
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Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization whose cause is Canada’s charities and nonprofits. We strengthen the sector’s collective voice, serve as a forum and meeting place, and provide a supportive environment for organizations to build stronger communities.
For futher information:
Marnie Grona [English media]
Director, Marketing & Communications
1.800.263.1178 x244 or 416.597.2293 x244
Amanda Mayer [French media]
Imagine Canada - Ottawa
1.800.263.1178 x239 or 416.597.2293 x239
Did you know that there are 161,000 nonprofilts and charities in Canada?
Did you know that Canada’s nonprofit and voluntary sector is the 2nd largest in the world?
The sector represents $79.1 billion or 7.8% of the gross domestic product
The sector is larger than automotive and manufacturing. It generates $112 billion in revenues and employs 2 million people
Canadians donated $10 billion in 2007
Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have the highest donor rates.
Canadians volunteered 2.1 billion hours in 2007
Young Canadians aged 15 to 24 are more likely to volunteer than Canadians in any other age group
One percent of nonprofits command 60% of all revenues flowing to the sector
Canadians with the lowest household incomes give a greater percentage of their income than others
Saskatchewan has the highest volunteer rate in the country, followed by the Northwest Territories and the Yukon
Those exposed to giving and volunteering activities early in life are more likely to continue those behaviours as adults