The Joint Regulatory Table
The Joint Regulatory Table was a working group that was convened in November 2000 under the
Voluntary Sector Initiative to study and make recommendations for improving the legislative
and regulatory environment in which the voluntary sector operates.
Table members were drawn in equal numbers from the government
and voluntary sector. Members were chosen on the basis of their expertise, experience and willingness
to work collaboratively rather than as representatives of organizations.
The Table examined the federal regulation of charities and looked at options for change in
four key areas:
- accessibility and transparency of the federal regulator, including making information it
holds about charities available to the public;
- better access to appeals for organizations that disagree with decisions made by the regulator;
- compliance reforms, such as the possibility of introducing new sanctions to ensure charities
meet their legal obligations; and
- institutional models.
In addition to these four regulatory areas the Table was also active in two other areas. It
worked with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency in developing a shorter annual reporting form
for charities, and drafting guidelines on the type and degree of business activity charities
can legally engage in.
As the Table pursued its work, it realized that its proposals in the various subject areas
were, in fact, interdependent. For example, recommended changes related to sanctions implied
change in the appeals process. Members also realized that the recommendations are dependent
on the institutional context in which they might be implemented. For these reasons, many of
the recommendations are interwoven and form an integrated framework. This will need to be considered
in future discussions on implementation.
To ensure that the implications of any regulatory changes were fully considered, the Table
held consultations on an interim report during the Fall of 2002. People from a wide range of
voluntary sector organizations, their advisors, provincial government departments and the general
public offered their views on the interim recommendations.
The interim report was largely supported in the consultation process and led to a final report,
entitled Strengthening Canada’s Charitable Sector: Regulatory
Reform, which was released in May 2003.