chapter  3
18 Pages

Canada

In Canada, legislative and regulatory events since September 2001, and the convening of a parliamentary commission to investigate a major terrorist incident in the 1980s, have increased attention to the impact of counter-terrorism on the charitable sector (Bromley 2006, 2007; Carter 2006a, 2006b, 2007). Canada has, of course, a vibrant charitable and philanthropic sector, with thousands of charities and other nonprofits conducting a wide range of activities throughout the country. At the same time, concern about terrorist finance through charitable channels well predated September 11, in part because of the role of Sikh terrorist organizations in the bombing of an Air India jetliner after takeoff from Canada in 1985, and their alleged links to nonprofits. Canada’s interest in preventing the flow of charitable resources to terrorism predates September 11. Canada was also associated with international initiatives against terrorist financing beginning in the mid 1990s, and signed the International Convention on the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism in 2000 (CRA 2008). The regulatory environment for Canada’s charities includes both

the provinces and the national government. The provinces remain primarily responsible for chartering charities, a similar role to the state in the United States. It is the national tax authority, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), which registers, approves and monitors charities for the charitable status that allows organization to provide donor receipts that may enable donors to take tax deductions, and that provide certain tax exemptions for charities (Phillips et al 2001). After September 11, Canada promulgated the Charities Registration

(Security Information) Act (hereafter Charities Registration Act), adopted in December 2001 as Part VI of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act. This was not the only anti-terrorism legislation adopted by Canada – a full range of such laws included the full Bill C-36 (AntiTerrorism Act), which amended the Criminal Code, Official Secrets Act,

Canada Evidence Act, Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act and other laws, ‘and to Enact Measures Respecting the Registration of Charities, In Order to Combat Terrorism’, as well as Bill C-35, amending the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act, Bill C-25, amending the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and the Income Tax Act, and other legislation. In all these cases, Canada – like other countries – sought to comply with multiple UN anti-terrorism conventions and agreements, and particularly Security Council Resolution 1373, which was adopted in the direct wake of the September 11 attacks. Putting charities registration under the rubric of anti-terrorism legis-

lation through the Anti-Terrorism Act ‘re-defined the role and importance of protecting the integrity of Canada’s registration system for charities in terms of Canada’s anti-terrorism objectives’ (CRA 2008). The purposes of the new Charities Registration Act were indeed broad:

… to demonstrate Canada’s commitment to participating in concerted international efforts to deny support to those who engage in terrorist activities, to protect the integrity of the registration system for charities… and to maintain the confidence of Canadian taxpayers that the benefits of charitable registration are made available only to organizations that operate exclusively for charitable purposes.1