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Federal Budget 2023: Charity Highlights

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federal budget 2023  charity highlights
Several pages of bar graphs and pie charts piled randomly with a magnifying glass in the foreground.

In the Federal Budget 2023, released last week, where were charities to be found amidst the more than $40 billion in spending?

Unlike Budget 2022, which brought significant changes to the disbursement quota and allowed charities to fund non-charities through qualifying disbursements, Budget 2023 is quiet on the charitable front. If you simply search for words like “charity,” “charitable” or “non-profit” there is little to find. Digging a bit deeper through the funding announcements, there are some programs for which charities may be eligible and proposed changes to anti-terror rules that could impact some charities.

FUNDING & PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENTS

Depending on your charity’s purposes and activities, some of the following funding announcements may be relevant:

Affordable Housing

“Budget 2022 announced significant investments to make housing more affordable, including by helping people buy their first home, tackling unfair practices that drive up costs, and working with provincial and territorial governments, municipalities, and both the private sector and non-profits to double the number of new homes that Canada will build by 2032. Budget 2023 proposes new measures to build on this progress and continue the government’s work to make housing more affordable from coast to coast to coast” (page 42).

Opioid Crisis

Budget 2023 proposes to provide a total of $359.2 million over five years including for community-based supports and a new community-based program to prevent youth substance use (page 58).

Official Languages

Budget 2023 proposes to provide $373.7 million over five years to support the Action Plan for Official Languages which is designed to ensure equality of English and French, increase bilingualism, support official language minority communities, and restore the size of Francophone communities. The Action Plan includes $117 million to encourage official languages as a tool for economic development, including “increased support for the non-profit organizations that serve these [official language minority] communities,” training bilingual nurses and personal support care workers and promoting French-language research (page 138).

Tourism – Local Projects and Events

“Budget 2023 proposes to provide $108 million over 3 years, on a cash basis, starting in 2023-24, to the Regional Development Agencies to support communities, small businesses, and non-profit organizations in developing local projects and events” (page 140).

Security Infrastructure Program

“Budget 2023 proposes to provide $49.5 million over five years, starting in 2023-24, to Public Safety Canada to enhance and expand the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program and allow it to be more responsive to the evolving security needs of communities.”

According to the program information page, it “makes funding available to private, not-for-profit organizations that are at risk of being victimized by hate-motivated crime” and “helps with the cost of security infrastructure” for places of worship, private educational institutions and community centres.

Supporting Black Canadian Communities

“Budget 2023 proposes to provide $25 million, in 2024-25, to Employment and Social Development Canada for the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative, to continue empowering Black-led and Black-serving community organizations and the work they do to promote inclusiveness” (page 142).

Advancing Gender Equality in Canada

“Budget 2023 proposes to provide $160 million over three years, starting in 2023-24, for the Women’s Program to provide funding to organizations in Canada that serve women” (page 144).

Local Food Infrastructure Fund

This fund is meant to support “community-led efforts to address food insecurity by helping invest in the infrastructure needed to produce, store, and deliver locally-sourced food in a sustainable manner” – Budget 2023 proposes $10 million to top up this fund (page 145).

Inclusion of Canadians with Disabilities

“Budget 2023 proposes to provide $10 million over two years, beginning in 2023-24, to Employment and Social Development Canada to help address the unique needs and ongoing barriers faced by persons with disabilities by investing in capacity building and the community-level work of Canada’s disability organizations.” It also proposes $21.5M for engaging the disability community, provinces and territories on the future delivery of the Canada Disability Benefit (page 146).

Assistance for Ukraine and Ukrainians

Global Affairs Canada will allocate $84.8 million from existing resources for “targeted support to Ukraine for humanitarian assistance, mental health support, demining, agriculture, and other priority areas.”

In March 2023, the government announced it would extend the temporary Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel, allowing Ukrainians to apply until July 15, 2023, and arrive in Canada until March 31, 2024. Budget 2023 commits $171.4 million in funding toward this extension (page 169).

WILL CHARITIES BE ELIGIBLE?

Lowering Credit Card Transaction Fees

The government “secured commitments from Visa and Mastercard to lower fees for small businesses” – it is unclear as to whether charities will be eligible. More details, including eligibility criteria “will be released in the coming weeks” (page 36).

PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE CHANGES

Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

In Budget 2023, the federal government proposes to “address gaps in Canada’s AML/ATF [Anti-Money Laundering/Anti-Terrorist Financing] Regime and strengthen cooperation between orders of government” by amending the Criminal Code and the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.

The proposed changes will do a variety of things, including:

  • Allow law enforcement to freeze and seize virtual assets with suspected links to crime;
  • Increase intelligence information sharing between law enforcement and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and law enforcement and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC);
  • Create a new offence for structuring financial transactions to avoid FINTRAC reporting;
  • Give FINTRAC power to disseminate strategic analysis related to the financing of threats to the safety of Canada;
  • Oblige the financial sector to report sanctions-related information to FINTRAC

The government also intends to spend $2 million to create a new Canada Financial Crimes Agency to “increase money laundering charges, prosecutions and convictions, and asset forfeiture in Canada” (page 172).

ADDITIONAL FEDERAL BUDGET 2023 DOCUMENTS

Budget 2023 Tax Measures: Supplementary Information

Budget 2023 Statement and Impacts Report on Gender, Diversity, and Quality of Life

Budget 2023 A Made-in-Canada Plan, Strong Middle Class, Affordable Economy, Healthy Future and Statement and Impacts Report on Gender, Equality, Diversity and Quality of Life

The content provided in this blog is for general information purposes and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Every organization’s circumstances are unique. Before acting on the basis of information contained in this blog, readers should consult with a qualified lawyer for advice specific to their situation.

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