Urge Your Lawmakers to Oppose Fees on Registered Charities
(Nov. 10, 2008) AFP members are asked to write to their Members of Parliament, Senators and Cabinet in support of the joint AFP-Imagine Canada petition that asks Cabinet to vary or rescind the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) decision to impose additional regulatory burdens and fees on registered charities under its proposed telemarketing rules.
A position paper that provides more details and includes a sample letter can be downloaded from the Attachments section below .
In January 2008 the CRTC ruled that all organizations that carry out telemarketing activities—including registered charities and other organizations exempted from the national Do-Not-Call-List (DNCL)—must register with the new national DNCL operator and help finance the costs of enforcing the telemarketing rules by paying fees. The CRTC’s decision did not put a cap on the fees that it could charge.
By refusing to exempt registered charities from its telemarketing rules and compelling these charities to confront more bureaucracy as well as unfair fees, the CRTC effectively undermines the spirit of Parliament’s decision to exempt registered charities from the national DNCL and places an onerous burden on charities and their staffs.
In response, AFP, along with Imagine Canada, submitted a joint petition to Cabinet to vary or permanently rescind the CRTC’s January 2008 ruling as it relates to registered charities. Cabinet has until January 2009 to render its decision, so these last two months are the last opportunity for AFP members and their organizations to influence that decision.
In their joint petition, AFP and Imagine Canada argued that the CRTC’s ruling:
- Imposed a new regulatory burden and red tape on registered charities, even though Parliament had exempted registered charities from the national DNCL regime, which is the principal element of the telemarketing rules
- Required registered charities to pay fees that can hardly be considered charitable expenditures
- Flew in the face of the long-standing history of regulatory forbearance toward charities exercised by federal, provincial and municipal governments on issues ranging from income tax to municipal property tax, to corporate governance obligations under corporations law
Recently, the CRTC announced that it could not find a third-party complaints investigator. The CRTC itself will now take on that role. Due to this situation, the CRTC is suspending all references to fees (that potentially would have been levied on registered charities) to the Complaints Investigator delegate and records relating to such fees until further notice.
However, the government still reserves the right to reinstate the fee requirements, so it is very important that AFP members (and their organizations) contact their Members of Parliament, Senators and Cabinet to support the petition.