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Other Consequences of the Federal Budget

CCA Bulletin 07/12

April 27, 2012

In the wake of the budget presented on March 29, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tabled yesterday a Bill that puts into place some the budget initiatives. Food inspection has attracted a great deal of attention but in the cultural sector there are two measures in particular that we would like to highlight.

Dissolution of the Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal (CAPPRT)

The dissolution of the CAPPRT was not a major surprise, although it had not been hinted at. It hadn’t been announced in the budget, but it had been expected to happen sooner or later. While the CAPPRT’s responsibilities will be transferred to the Canada Industrial Relations Board, the Status of the Artist Act will still be the basis of the decision. In fact, the only amendment to the Act consists in replacing the word Tribunal with the word Board. When asked about this issue, our members, agreed that the fact that the Status of the Artist Act remains the basis of the decision making mitigates concerns that the needs of the cultural sector may not be heard. It is worth noting that in Québec, the Commission for the recognition of artists’ associations and producers associations (CRAAAP) was transferred to the Labour Relations Commission in 2009 and it seems that stakeholders are reasonably satisfied with the results.

Nonetheless several of the players in the cultural sector would at least like to see some of the expertise on the Tribunal transferred to the Canada Industrial Relations Board. The Heritage Minister was the one who named the members of the Tribunal, and although they did not all have experience in the arts, and this fact alone provided some comfort to stakeholders. The cultural sector would be pleased to see the staff of the Tribunal transferred to the Board in order to ensure a smooth transition that would be consistent with the spirit of the Status of the Artist Act.

We are still not clear on when the Tribunal will be dissolved but transition measures have been put in place. Processes still in progress with the Tribunal will be transferred to the Board and considered as part of their portfolio.

In short, no fear for chaos at this point.

Charitable Organizations

The Bill also confirms the announcements made in the budget regarding changes to the regulations relating to charitable organizations. There are modifications to the rules on registering a foreign charity as a qualified donee; changes to rules used to determine the extent to which a charity has exercised political activities, and measures giving the Minister of Revenue the authority to suspend the privilege of issuing tax receipts for any registered charity that violates certain regulations.

The Bill expands the definition of political activity to include gifting to a donee to support political activities and provides some further regulations in regard to how funds may be dispersed to qualified donees. The CCA will be monitoring the changes and will keep you informed on the impacts for charitable organizations.