Politics and charity only mix in a handful of cases, tax returns show

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

OTTAWA - The Conservatives are clamping down on the political activities of registered charities, but tax returns show only a tiny fraction of Canadian organizations spend money for political purposes.

A Canadian Press analysis of the Canada Revenue Agency's charities database found 450 of the 85,000 charities registered in Canada reported spending money on political activities.

It is possible the actual number could be higher, since charities self-report to the CRA.

Still, the finding that so few charities spend money politicking raises questions about the Conservatives' motivation for further restricting these activities.

The recent federal budget promised to impose new penalties on charities that exceed limits on political spending or fail to provide full disclosure of funding and activities.

Charities are allowed to engage in limited, non-partisan politics.

Most charities can spend only 10 per cent of their resources on political activities, although smaller ones are permitted to spend up to 20 per cent.