Feds to allow charities to engage in political, but not partisan, activity


OTTAWA — The federal government is appealing an Ontario court ruling striking down limits on the political activities of charities at the same time as it says it will introduce legislation this fall to eliminate those limits.

Canada Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier says there were significant errors of law in the July 16 ruling that require an appeal despite the legislative plans.

The Liberals campaigned on a promise to ease the restriction that limits charities to spending no more than 10 per cent of their funds on political activities, following five dozen audits by the former Conservative government that critics said targeted charities for challenging government policy.

The court case in Ontario was filed by Canada Without Poverty which was told in 2016 it could lose its charitable status because it was violating the 10 per cent limit.

The Liberals launched a review of the matter in 2016 and have been sitting on a recommendation to change the Income Tax Act for more than a year.

Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence, another organization that was at risk of losing its charitable status, says he thinks the court decision has prompted the government to finally act.

The Canadian Press