When considering civil society organizations, there are few things to which government officials are more sensitive than political activities. It is doubtful that the activities considered unacceptably political by the Communist Party of China are any more overtly political than the impugned activities of charities in Canada.
The referendum in Scotland demonstrates the risks of England denying tax benefits to charities which promote indigenous Scottish values. Canada should have the self-confidence to respect the values and purposes which emanate from Quebec's people and legislature when granting tax benefits to registered charities.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue says that it is "absolutely shameful" to suggest that Canada Revenue Agency officials auditing charities could "somehow fall under political influence." This is a sideshow which is distracting the charitable sector from the real issues.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recently forced Oxfam Canada to exclude "preventing poverty" from their mission statement in order to keep their charity status. Now a fundamental question needs to be answered. Why does the CRA think that charities have to wait for individuals to fall into poverty's trap before the charities can help the disadvantaged? Isn't prevention better than a cure? The bigger concern, however, is with a black-and-white definition of poverty. The assumption that one is not poor one day, but wakes up to be poor the next day is completely flawed.
with the activities of its charities section having been so thoroughly politicized by the Harper government, we can no longer call the CRA an effective instrument of public policy. Its campaign of vexatious audits of the political activities of progressive charities represents has created a chill in political dissent, and is a new low even for the Conservative regime.
Shelters and soup kitchens haven't demonstrated an ability to provide long term solutions for the majority of chronically homeless people. They should be an integral part of alleviating homelessness, but they don't have the financial capacity to solve the problem on their own. Moreover, it isn't fair to let City residents bear the entire cost.
Canadian charities are experiencing an "advocacy chill" and changing the way they go about their work as a result of what they say is "bullying" by the Harper Conservative government. My just completed Master's thesis research finds that the denunciatory rhetoric of government ministers against charities, followed by stepped up audits is having its toll not only on charity operations, but also on the strength of Canada's public discussions and thus on the vigor of democracy itself.
The evolution -- we might even say revolution -- taking place in the field of corporate social responsibility has been fascinating to behold. For the best companies, making your employees recycle, and cutting a big cheque once a year to some lucky charity, is no longer good enough. They're making "giving back" an integral part of doing business.
After a bout of severe vomiting following a few bites of food, she went to the ER and refused to leave until she got answers. She knew in her heart something was seriously wrong. After a series of tests, a gynaecologist arrived to break the news. It was indeed ovarian cancer. In fact, a tumour the size of a grapefruit was removed from her body.
It's expensive to raise a family. Canadian governments recognize this, and have historically tried to ease the expense at least a little by offering parents with dependent children tax credits and deductions that others don't get. The individual tax credits may not seem significant, but they can add up to a few more dollars in your pocket. And when you are raising kids, every little bit helps.
We've all seen the ads. A white person -- often a celebrity -- strolls through a dilapidated village of mud huts, stooping to pick up one of the strategically-placed children who sit listlessly, their bellies bloated with hunger. The problem with these ads is they reinforce negative stereotypes about people in Africa and other developing countries -- that they are helpless victims who need to be saved. The goal of the ads is to tug heartstrings and create an emotional connection between you, the potential donor, and the people in need. Numerous studies have shown that donors respond better to appeals that include an "identifiable victim"-- putting a name and face to the cause -- than they do to a statistic.
It's important to be mindful when you give. Next time you attend a function where people ask for a donation for charity don't reach for the minute rice or the wax beans that you know you're not going to eat -- reach for your favourite tin of soup, or a jug of real juice or some healthy pasta, and consider how much MORE receiving that kind of generosity will mean to someone who does need the help.
From afar, we witnessed the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. To date, Canada's Jewish community has commendably raised close to $200,000 for relief in the Philippines. We will never forget the role the Philippines played in helping to push for the Jewish people's salvation and in ensuring that our futures are secure thanks to the creation of the Jewish state.
I was given the opportunity to visit the Olive Tree Refugee Camp in Atmeh Syria. All the little girls approached me with their unique knitted creations. When I had to say my goodbyes, one woman voiced her concerns about the lack of yarn to work with. That same night, I wrote out the plan for Tight-Knit Syria, a project to help supply yarn, as well as establish an online store to sell knitted products from the Olive Tree Camp.
The reality is that we do not have to be professional "life-savers" to help people. Each of us can choose to live a meaningful life, to have a positive impact on others, and to embrace and help people in need. No cameras. No medals. No public recognition... just ordinary "heroics" by ordinary people. I believe that there is "magic" in kindness.