Transparency

Ask questions, get audited: the case of PEN Canada

Dear Voices-Voix supporters,

What happens when a champion of free expression asks questions of the Canada Revenue Agency's audits of charities? Especially if you voice concerns over the apparent targeting of progressive charities? Well, in the case of PEN Canada, you get audited too.

Charity law blocks progress on issues facing Canadians

By Garfield Mahood and Brian Iler, the Toronto Star, 14 Feb 2015

Canadian charities are under attack. Environmental, human rights and international development charities, organizations struggling to address poverty and women’s issues are examples of non-governmental organizations that have lost their ability to issue charitable tax credits under the Income Tax Act. Either that or they face the threat of a loss as a result of ongoing Canada Revenue Agency audits.

Long-form census is needed for good decision-making: Editorial

By The Toronto Star, 5 February 2015

It’s like pulling government policies out of a black hole.

That’s what groups as varied as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, doctors, charities, city planners, educators, economists, business leaders, scientists, academics, pollsters, civic activists and ordinary citizens alike have been arguing since the Harper government ditched the long-form census back in 2010. (...)

PM's charity audits look for 'bias, one-sidedness'

By Kelly Crowe, CBC News, 4 February 2015

Is fighting for the right to buy private health care a charitable act? Apparently it is.

But fighting for the right to die on your own terms is not. It's political, at least according to the logic of the Canada Revenue Agency.

So, when is a charity being political? It's an increasingly perplexing question.

Damage from cancelled census as bad as feared, researchers say

By Tavia Grant, The Globe and Mail, 29. Jan. 2015

The cancellation of the mandatory long-form census has damaged research in key areas, from how immigrants are doing in the labour market to how the middle class is faring, while making it more difficult for cities to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely, planners and researchers say.

Statistics Canada developed a voluntary survey after Ottawa cancelled the long-form census in 2010. Many had warned that the switch would mean lower response rates and policies based on an eroded understanding of important trends. Now researchers – from city planners to public health units – say they have sifted through the 2011 data and found it lacking.

Coalition of organizations call for the reinstatement of long-form census

Bill C-626 supports Canadians’ right to information

TORONTO (Wednesday, January 28, 2015)CJFE and 10 other organizations call on the Canadian government to pass Bill C-626 and reinstate the mandatory long-form census.

In 2010, the federal government ended the long-form census that informed critical business, policy, and research decisions across the country. As information becomes an increasingly valuable commodity in today’s world, Canada made a conscious decision to blindly walk away from vital data about our culture and society.

The mandatory long-form census provided critical information about demographics, commuting patterns, skills shortages, and other economic data that helped to determine public policy, guide researchers, and give businesses a leg up. It allowed for historical comparisons that let us know how our society is changing.

CSE tracks millions of downloads daily: Snowden documents

By Amber Hildebrandt, Michael Pereira and Dave Seglins, CBC News, 27 January 2015

Canada's electronic spy agency sifts through millions of videos and documents downloaded online every day by people around the world, as part of a sweeping bid to find extremist plots and suspects, CBC News has learned.

Details of the Communications Security Establishment project dubbed "Levitation" are revealed in a document obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and recently released to CBC News.

Why haven’t any Harper-friendly charities been scrutinized

By Edward Kennan, Toronto Star, 23 January 2015

t turns out charities in Canada — at least the ones the government doesn’t like — are forbidden from “exercising moral pressure.” As if that isn’t the entire point of charitable enterprises. The absence of the profit motive and of self-interest in those involved in such an organization virtually defines a charity. Without those two things, what’s left is the pressure of morality compelling people to do the right thing.

NDP seeks probe of Canada Revenue Agency's text message destruction

By the Canadian Press, 19 january 2015

A New Democrat MP is asking the federal information watchdog to investigate the Canada Revenue Agency's systematic deletion of employee text messages. (...)

The Toronto Star reported last month that the federal revenue agency had destroyed all text message records of its employees and stopped electronically saving such messages. (...)

Research into controversial topics hurt by Conservative grant priorities

By Mike Hager, The Globe & Mail, 15 January 2015

Canadian universities are shying away from research into such controversial topics as immigration and assisted suicide because of the federal Conservative government’s continued focus on matching research grants to corporate interests, experts and advocates say.

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