The Federal Court of Appeal recently released its decision in the Church of Atheism of Central Canada case. While the Appellant appears to have been self-represented the case provides guidance to lawyers in the area and corrects what may have been the start of a very difficult path for the law of charities.
Many in the sector have, for many years, advocated that appeals from decisions to revoke and refusals to register be heard by the Tax Court for this exact reason. They are simply better suited for testing the facts. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, these pleas have not been heard by Parliament, now though, for strictly practical reasons, they may have no choice but to make changes. All around, Vavilov will have positive implications for the charity sector.
Most organizations that are pursuing charitable status are incorporated. Part of the requirement for achieving such status is that the corporation is organized to pursue charitable purposes. But that by itself is not enough for charitable registration and so prospective charities must apply to the CRA for registration. The question then arises about the tax status of those corporations that are not yet (and may never be) registered charities, and what are their responsibilities?