COVID-19 Bulletin: Advocacy Efforts Continue & AGM Timelines Are Extended

Associations play a vital role in business development, personal wellbeing and policy development. Our voices are more important than ever.

Ensuring the federal government keeps associations in mind when developing its COVID-19 response plan is critical. CSAE’s efforts to inform and press government regarding the specific needs of associations and other NFPs are ongoing. Many of you have been actively taking steps to add pressure to decision makers – and this activity is especially crucial at this time.

Following last week’s announcement by Minister Morneau, we have been working on the wage subsidy file. We were quick to respond and provide recommendations to the Assistant Deputy Minister of Small Business and Marketplace Services, at Innovation, Science and Industry Canada, to establish baselines regarding evidence of 30% declining revenues.

We informed the government that Canada’s not-for-profit associations and charities operate on a different financial model than most businesses. A one-year cycle is a much better indicator than a given quarter or a given month, due to the following facts:

  1. Memberships are a very large revenue source for most associations. As such, annual renewals can happen at different times throughout a calendar year, depending on the organization.
  2. Events also make up a significant share of revenue for most. These could include, for example, fundraisers for charities, trade shows for industry organizations, or training events for professional associations.

We further advised that the government should take the following factors into consideration when establishing the baseline to illustrate a reduction in revenue:

  • Past revenues are a reliable predictor for associations, often more reliable than for businesses
  • The government may need to consider accepting anticipated revenues with evidence to support
  • CSAE could provide a comparison of revenue month-over-month over three years (two years as base), beginning February 2018 vs. February 2019 vs. February 2020, and March 2018 vs. March 2019 vs. March 2020. This may show the beginning of a pattern, and alleviate concerns around revenue recognition. The alternative would be around registrations to date for events that were produced at the same time in the year previous.
  • Present a decrease in cash flows into the main operating account, as evidenced by bank statements, for those organizations that use one main operating account. We suspect this may be the most straightforward metric, but it will be hard to show a regular decline without comparing to a previous year or years as the baseline.

To ensure the federal government addresses industry concerns and provides support in its subsidy and benefit programs, we will be launching a CSAE Digital Advocacy portal that allows you to write directly to your Member of Parliament to share your support for association inclusion. Ensuring the right baseline for measurement on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is a vital component of this plan, and creating opportunities for support around operating expenses is equally important. We will provide more information and a link for support in the coming days with support from our partners at Impact Public Affairs.

In the meantime, you can help amplify our message by sending this letter to your regional Parliamentary Secretary. Use this list to identify your regional representative, and “cc” the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.

Further to correspondence with Corporations Canada pressing for flexibility around annual general meetings, an extension has been made to timelines for holding AGMs. There is also an extension to the filing of the annual return.


  • The NFP Act allows corporations to request Corporations Canada to authorize a delay in calling an annual meeting.
  • NFPs may apply for authorization Extending the time for calling an annual meeting of members.
  • Corporations Canada is currently developing tools to help NFP corporations prepare an application. They will be available shortly on the Corporations Canada’s website.
  • Corporations Canada has published on it website a Notice outlining some options for federal corporations to consider to remain compliant under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act in regards to the COVID-19 context.
  • NFP corporations whose annual returns are due to be filed before June 30, 2020 now have until September 30, 2020 to file their annual return.

For the full response to CSAE from Corporations Canada, click here.

During this time of physical distancing, it is more important than ever to remain connected and supported. CSAE members can drop in virtually, to share their thoughts and experiences through Talk Tuesdays, an informal videochat moderated by Tracy Folkes Hanson, CSAE’s president and CEO. The threads on Associations Connect, open to all, are a vital meeting place for ongoing discussion and support.

The following upcoming virtual events provide opportunities to build capacity in advocacy and feature outstanding experts in their fields.

Perception, Public Opinion and Polling
April 8, 9 AM EDT
Is perception your reality? For many associations, putting your thumb on the pulse of the public’s opinion of your organization can seem like an elusive and monumental task. Join Abacus Data CEO David Coletto to understand public opinion data, to create engaging data-driven content, refine messaging and concepts for campaigns, and advance advocacy objectives with policymakers. Learn more>>

How to Handle Government Relations During the Pandemic
April 14, 10 AM EDT
CSAE Alberta’s next educational session will be focusing what is most pressing to associations and organizations across the province. Join the conversation around government measures for COVID-19 relief, how the association sector will be impacted and your next steps. Learn more>>

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