An uncharitable chill : a critical exploration of how changes in federal policy and political climate are affecting advocacy-oriented charities
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Starting in 2012, the Canadian federal government deployed denunciatory rhetoric against environmental organizations and charities, increased enforcement of regulations governing resources that charities devote to “political activities,” and added environmental organizations to Canada’s anti-terrorism strategy as a potential national threat. Using grounded theory and in-depth interviews with leaders of charities that advocate on public policy issues and with charity experts, this study explores if, how, and why these organizations are affected by, and responding to, possible loss of charitable status. It finds Canada Revenue Agency audits target certain charities; communications and other functions are affected, along with the ability of these charities to maximize their socially mandated democratic work; and that government is abusing power by using state resources to treat charities as “enemies.” Though there are examples of contentious actions, groups are primarily using collaborative umbrella alliances to protect themselves from what they perceive as government abusing its authority.
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