MP puts forth charity initiative

(Photo by Elli Garlin)

Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid is hoping that his new bill, C-348, will increase the number of donations to charities at the end of the year — a season that isn’t the most financially stable for most Canadian families.

The bill, which was introduced to the House of Commons on Oct. 31, proposes an extension of the charitable donations tax deadline from Dec. 31 to the last day of February. According to Braid, the extension will allow charities to claim eligible donations until the end of February for the previous calendar year.

“So it extends the deadline for charitable donations,” explained Braid. “December, of course, is a period of time where Canadian families are financially stretched, and charities, in particular smaller charities, are administratively stretched.”

“The rational behind extending the deadline is to give Canadians a greater opportunity to make charitable donations in their communities,” he continued.

In addition, Braid hopes that the new bill will make people see the potential tax benefits when donating to a charity.

The federal tax credits currently are set at 15 per cent for donations under $200 and 29 per cent for ones over $200.

“[To have families] become more knowledgeable about the tax benefits that are available to them when they donate to charities,” he added, is a goal of the bill.

To coincide with the extended deadline, Braid also hopes to establish National Charities Week in the final week of February. This week will spread awareness about the efforts made by charities locally, nationally and abroad. He said that this was added in the bill as a “sort of a foundation to help highlight and celebrate important work that charities do.”

According to Braid, there were various motivations behind introducing this bill into the House of Commons. He noted that he has seen, with some of the involvement he has had with charities, challenges when it comes to donations.

“There’s been, over the last number of years, there’s been a trend toward lower levels of giving to charities, and this was exacerbated during the global economic downturn,” said Braid. “There was a twofold impact, donations to charities went down and the demand for the services charities provided went up. So I want to find ways to support the important charities in the communities across the country to ensure their long-term sustainability.”

The bill, since its introduction to the legislature, has been tabled until a second reading in the early year. It will need to be studied in a committee and then go back for a third reading before being voted on.

“It will take a number of months to do that at this point,” he said. “The feedback has been extremely positive, both locally and nationally.”

He said that the he is relatively optimistic the bill will pass thorough the House and it will be implemented by the federal government.

“I’m hopeful that, [but] of course it’s up to the House of Commons at the end of the day,” he concluded. “Charities are vital to the well-being of our society and have the ability to strengthen our communities.”

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