That charities are subject to laws that cannot be obeyed is symptomatic of several problems. In part this can be traced back to the federal government’s lack of constitutional jurisdiction in legislating in this area (a topic we have written about many times). But the role of the courts in ensuring that laws meet the principles of natural justice has become muddied with the long record of losses by charities at the Federal Court of Appeal. However, the solution to this particular problem—including some of the more problematic parts of the political activities tests may be simpler than redrafting the constitutional division of powers.
The federal government's 2012 budget includes some measures that deal with charities and not-for-profit organizations. The one that I'll focus on here is intended to improve transparency at affected organizations and limit their ability to undertake political activity.
Established in 1995, First Reference provides organizations with practical and authoritative resources to help ensure compliance with constantly changing Canadian legislation and best practice