TELL THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT CANADIANS’ FREE SPEECH

A NEW LAW IS NEEDED TO GIVE CITIZENS A VOICE THROUGH CHARITIES THEY SUPPORT

Charities provide an invaluable service for Canadians by advocating for better policies to help protect our environment, ensure the health of our families, eradicate poverty, and more. Charities voice the concerns of Canadians. But the rules around what charities can and cannot do are open to abuse due to ambiguous and arbitrary guidelines. This ambiguity led to the launch of harassing and costly audits of charities. If the laws aren’t changed, this could happen again.

Right now corporations can spend freely on lobbying, advertising and any kind of political activity. They can deduct 100 per cent of those expenses from their income. In contrast, charities that voice Canadians’ concerns are severely restricted in the form and quantity of public policy work they can do. It’s time to level the playing field between corporations and the charities that speak for Canadians. Other countries around the world have modernized their charitable laws to protect free speech. It’s time for Canada to do the same.

We have a chance now to urge the new federal government to keep its promise of creating a new law to protect your right to be heard through the charities you support.

The federal government is considering how to change the rules governing charities’ abilities to speak out about social change.  Send a letter today to tell the Prime Minister you value the role charities play in undertaking research, education and securing public policies that improve the lives of all Canadians.

Take action now! Send a letter and protect our free speech!
Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue
Hon. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance
Hon. Rona Ambrose, Interim Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Leader of the Opposition
Hon. Rhéal Fortin, Interim Leader of the Bloc Québécois
Hon. Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Hon. Thomas J. Mulcair, Leader of the New Democratic Party


Subject: Change the law and give citizens and charities the right to free speech

Canadian charities have played a critical role in the development of a better Canada; from laws addressing acid rain, banning smoking in public spaces to those creating provincial and national parks. Despite these and many other accomplishments, the outdated law that governs charities actually restricts what charities can say to influence public policies that impact Canadians’ lives.

These rules must be modernized to enhance the role of charities in the development of new laws and policies. Corporations can spend freely on lobbying, advertising and any kind of political activity. Furthermore, they can deduct 100 per cent of those expenses from their income. In contrast, charities are severely restricted in the form and quantity of public policy work they can do. This restricts my ability as a citizen and as a supporter of a charity to have my voice heard on
issues that I care about.

I strongly encourage the federal government to end restrictions on the activities that charities can pursue in achieving their goals. If a new law or policy is needed to achieve goals like protecting the environment, upholding human rights, fighting racism, preventing poverty or improving Canadians’ health, charities should be free to tell the public, the media and government why that is the case. It is only fair and it is good for democracy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to let charities speak their mind. I strongly urge you to follow through on that promise.

Concerned citizen,


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