McCarthy Tétrault wins important pro bono victory in freedom of expression challenge to restrictions on charitable status

Toronto, July 19, 2018 – On July 16, 2018, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice struck down a provision of the federal Income Tax Act that required charities to limit their “political” activities to no more than 10 per cent of their total activities. McCarthy Tétrault successfully represented Canada Without Poverty, a leading national anti-poverty organization.

The court found that the broad definition of “political” and the 10 per cent restriction made it impossible for Canada Without Poverty to pursue its charitable purpose, and concluded that there was a violation of the guarantee of freedom of expression in section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

Canada Without Poverty was represented by a McCarthy Tétrault litigation team that included David M. Porter, Geoff R. Hall and Anu Koshal.

“This case required us to work with Canada Without Poverty to create a complex factual record to demonstrate how the 10 per cent restriction adversely affected the organization’s pursuit of its charitable purpose. We are very pleased that the court accepted this evidence and found a constitutional violation,” said David, partner at McCarthy Tétrault.

“McCarthy Tétrault has a long history of taking on difficult litigation, and a long history of taking on pro bono cases for those with worthy causes but without the means to pay for legal representation. We are very proud to act in a case that builds on this long history,” said Geoff, partner at McCarthy Tétrault.

The case is Canada Without Poverty v. AG Canada, 2018 ONSC 4147.

About McCarthy Tétrault

McCarthy Tétrault LLP provides a broad range of legal services, advising on large and complex assignments for Canadian and international interests. The firm has substantial presence in Canada’s major commercial centres as well as in New York City and London, UK.

Built on an integrated approach to the practice of law and delivery of innovative client services, the firm brings its legal talent, industry insight and practice experience to help clients achieve the results that are important to them.