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Evidence of meeting #56 for Finance in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was organizations.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Andrea McManus  Chair, Association of Fundraising Professionals
Owen Charters  President and Chief Executive Officer, CanadaHelps
Dennis Howlett  Coordinator, Canadians for Tax Fairness
Jim Patrick  Senior Vice-President, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, Mobile Giving Foundation Canada
Ruth MacKenzie  President and Chief Executive Officer, Volunteer Canada

4 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

I think so.

I would like to thank all of the witnesses for coming here this afternoon and giving us the information they've passed on. It has been invaluable.

I'll start my questioning with you, Mr. Patrick, because you're doing some very creative things with the cellphone. I'm curious. How are you handling situations where an employer has an employee who is donating via a cellphone that's actually the employer's phone? How do you handle situations like that?

4:05 p.m.

Senior Vice-President, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, Mobile Giving Foundation Canada

Jim Patrick

I haven't heard of that being a problem. I think that would be up to the employer to settle with the employee. I think most organizations set rules for the use of technology by their employees, and I haven't heard of this being an issue.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

So that hasn't come up as an issue.

For example, I have a government phone. I could actually donate to the NDP party—

4:05 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

—and Mark would be upset if I did that

4:05 p.m.

Senior Vice-President, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, Mobile Giving Foundation Canada

Jim Patrick

You raise an interesting and very timely point. Yesterday the Federal Election Commission in Washington received a petition to allow techs to donate platforms to serve as vehicles for political donations. It's not established that way in Canada. We'd have to do some work with Elections Canada, provincial agencies, and the Canada Revenue Agency before we could do that.

We have a standing recommendation generally that government technology be unlocked. We often find that regulators, whether at Industry Canada or the CRTC, are making decisions about use of technology that they can't themselves experience because their government cellphone has all the functionality turned off. So it's a related issue, but you're bang on.

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

That's interesting.

I know Mr. Mai talked about the stretch tax credit not being in the budget. It's kind of curious, because if it were in the budget the NDP would actually vote against it. Maybe that would get you to vote for the budget. I'm not sure what he was getting at there. We'll have to listen carefully next year to see what happens.

We are in a time of deficit reduction when we have to be very responsible with taxpayers' dollars. We have to figure out the most efficient and opportune ways to increase charitable donations. We can't do it all. That's just not an option, whether it's capital gains, the stretch tax credit, or something similar to that.

I guess I'd look to you guys. I'll let you go through the table, if that's all right, depending on the time the chair lets us have. If you were to give us one item for the committee to focus on, what would it be?

I'll start with Andrea and work my way down—no pressure.

4:05 p.m.

Chair, Association of Fundraising Professionals

Andrea McManus

I'm just glad you're not asking me to comment on whether the NDP would vote against the budget if—

4:05 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

4:05 p.m.

A voice

So what do you think?

4:05 p.m.

Chair, Association of Fundraising Professionals

Andrea McManus

I'm not going to say.

But I would have to answer your questions with my personal opinion.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

That's fair. You're here as a witness.

4:05 p.m.

Chair, Association of Fundraising Professionals

Andrea McManus

I would have to say capital gains, and gifts of private securities, land, and real estate.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

They would have the most bang for the dollar.

4:05 p.m.

Chair, Association of Fundraising Professionals

Andrea McManus

Well, it's....

Counter me....

4:05 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

4:05 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, CanadaHelps

Owen Charters

I intend to.

We've been clear that it's the stretch tax credit. Also, when you talk about an era of deficit reduction we're looking for one measure, and I think that's the one. It's also because we're seeing the bulk of these service cuts, etc., ending up on the backs of charities. So they need the support to do this. I think it's actually an investment more than a cut.

4:05 p.m.

Chair, Association of Fundraising Professionals

Andrea McManus

Actually, he's made me change my mind.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Now you're a Liberal.

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

I'm so sorry.

Ms. MacKenzie.

4:05 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Volunteer Canada

Ruth MacKenzie

It's not necessarily on the table today, but using tax policy to address the economic barriers to volunteering....

As far as the issue that's on the table today, I would agree with Mr. Charters. The stretch tax credit is the most effective method to increase the donor base and make room for individual, average Canadians to give or to give more to charities.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

You raise a good point. Is the issue in Canada getting more volunteers to come forward? Should we be creating incentives to get more volunteers than having more dollars? Have you ever considered that?

4:05 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Volunteer Canada

Ruth MacKenzie

Yes. As I said, there's a link between volunteering and giving as a behaviour. I think we have about 45% of the population engaged as volunteers. It's very significant. We have about 84% of the population engaged in informal helping out in our neighbourhoods and communities.

I think we need more volunteers. Until we have every Canadian volunteering, we need more volunteers so that it is seen as part of our day-to-day lives. From my perspective there is also an important element about building the capacity of organizations to engage volunteers. Our position is primarily to have volunteers better engaged, over simply saying that we need more volunteers.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Vice-Chair NDP Peggy Nash

Mr. Hoback, you'll have to continue in the next round.