Guaranteed Charitable Association Rights and Freedoms for All
We need all communities involved in the public good to be treated equally by the state; religious and non-religious working together to build a solid, stable, democratic society that respects pluralism and the rule of law. This is what creates an atmosphere of civil trust necessary to carry on the democratic project of maximizing individual freedom while maintaining civil peace.
Canada recognizes four “heads” or categories of charity which are presumed to benefit the public. Protecting these heads – particularly the advancement of education, alleviation of poverty, and advancement of religion – allows for “the flourishing of mind, body, and soul … Without this vision, we run the risk of doing an injustice to the very essence of what it means for humanity to thrive in community”
– Raymond Chiu
Amid growing pressure to reform or modernize charity law, including recurring calls to remove tax exemptions for religious charities, The Status of Religion and the Public Benefit in Charity Law, edited by Dr. Barry W. Bussey (Anthem Press 2020), presents an apologetic for maintaining the presumption of public benefit for the advancement of religion.