Charities Under Threat: Responding to federal charity-bashing and CRA Audits

Federal cabinet ministers have called registered charities criminal organizations and terrorist organizations and the government has set aside $13 million for stepped up audits of charity activities by Canada Revenue Agency. This panel explores the effects on charities and their ability to pursue their societal Missions, the “best practices” that charities can pursue to minimize their risk of losing their charitable status, and the implications for society and democracy of the government’s actions. The panel will include a charity lawyer and a researcher whose thesis jump-started a national conversation on these issues. There will be time for questions.


5:30 – 6:00 PM: Networking and snacks 

6:00 – 7:00 PM: Presentation 

7:00 – 7:30 PM: Q&A and Wrap 

7:45 – 9:30 PM: Post-event social!



<a href=”″>Margaret Mason, charity lawyer, Bull Housser 

One of Canada’s leading lawyers for charitable and not-for-profit organizations, Margaret Mason is a frequent writer and speaker nationally. Her expertise includes corporate structuring and regulatory compliance for charitable organizations. Her practice spans a broad range of issues which affect charities and not-for-profits including tax exempt status, governance, international programs, and social enterprise.


<a href=””>Gareth Kirkby, Researcher, Professional Communicator 


A former Webster Award-winning journalist, Gareth Kirkby’s recent Master’s thesis examined the impacts on charities of confrontational rhetoric and actions by the federal government. It triggered a national discussion this past summer. Gareth’s research involving interviews with charity leaders and experts, found government using CRA to target certain charity sectors, that an “advocacy chill” triggered by government actions is “muffling” and “distracting” charities from their Missions, that the government is attempting with some success to narrow society’s important policy conversations, treating some charities as national enemies, and that these cumulative actions are a threat to democratic decision-making.



<a href=””>Ethan Clow has been working in the nonprofit sector for several years. He was executive director of the Centre for Inquiry Vancouver, and is currently a community engagement consultant. Ethan has hosted two talk shows on CiTR 101.9FM, the campus community radio station at UBC. For several years he hosted Radio Freethinker, a show promoting science, critical thinking and secular humanism, and now he hosts The Sector, a podcast focusing on social justice, nonprofits and activism.


Event hashtag: #Net2van 

Host: @Net2van @EthanClow and @NoahCab

Presenters: @GarethKirkby


Mobility Access: This venue does not have ramps and elevators and is not wheelchair accessible. 

Hearing Access: Speakers at this event will use microphones. 

Sight Access: Contact the organizers if you need an advance copy of the presentation.

We want everyone to be able to participate in the Net2Van community and events. Please don’t hesitate to let us know what we can do to accommodate your needs.

This entry was posted on by .

About admin

Eli strives to be a connector – the interstitial tissue that holds the muscle of a community together. He’s been a volunteer manager, an event organizer and a digital campaigner. Basically he’ll take any gig that allows him to enable a group of passionate people to create things they love. Currently he’s the NetSquared Community Manager supporting a global volunteer network of 50 monthly meetups for the nonprofit technology sector. Together they hold over 450 events per year.