Civil Society Charities Need To Advocate for Better Laws and Policies

Consultation on Charity Laws

Despite the ruling in favour of Canada without Poverty that policy change advocacy is fundamental to poverty reduction, the proposed finances law stipulates that such advocacy activities must be incidental to charitable purposes. A limit of 50% of time/resources is proposed for non-partisan advocacy, up from the previous 10%. (There is zero tolerance for partisan advocacy.) This is exactly the same model as previously, that restricts work for policy change, with a burden of accounting and risk of onerous audits.

Prevent Cancer Now was formed with the aim to move “upstream” from cancer treatment to cancer prevention. We advise people to avoid various exposures, read labels, etc. It may be argued, however, that it is fundamentally wrong to be asking busy people with limited resources to sift through myriad products to find the safest personal care, child care and cleaning products, materials, etc. If a product is on the shelf in the store then most people assume that it is safe – and these people should be right! Labelling is a poor second-best, and advice from public interest groups is a distant third.

While Prevent Cancer Now provides copious science-based guidance and information and tips on least-toxic choices, similar to Canada without Poverty we work to move further “upstream” by changing the laws that determine what is on the store shelves and in our environment, in the first place. This is “non-partisan advocacy,” as to accomplish the goals laws and policies must be improved.

Prevent Cancer Now‘s lack of charitable status is a barrier for donors and has meant that we have lack base funding, straining volunteer efforts.