They said The Fur-Bearers had to stop pushing back at the fur industry in Canada. The Canadian government said that the fur industry was doing nothing illegal, and therefore if The Fur-Bearers continued to campaign against it, charitable status would be revoked.
This was part of the “10% rule” in the now Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) policy: that charities can only engage in political activities with 10% of their resources.
Long-time members and directors George and Bunty Clements (below) had dedicated their lives to showing Canadians the truth about the cruelty of leg-hold and other traps used to catch animals solely for their fur or in failed attempts to manage wildlife. The Clements had witnessed the suffering, and they knew what they had to do: continue speaking against the inherently inhumane fur industry, charitable status be damned. And in 1999, charitable status for The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals was revoked.
Some supporters may remember what this meant: an end to charitable tax receipts and grants. It put a severe limit on the ability of The Fur-Bearers to fundraise and provide truly humane solutions to keep animals out of traps and help communities coexist with wildlife.
For 20 years, we’ve pushed through thanks to you – your donations, legacy gifts, and monthly support have kept our operations functioning. We’ve saved lives – literally, in places where we’ve helped communities develop or enhance their coexistence programs for bears, coyotes, beavers, and other wildlife. We’ve saved lives that aren’t visible, too, by educating Canadians about the cruelty of fur trim and helping them make the choice to Make Fur History. George and Bunty both passed in the 2000s, months apart, hoping their beloved community of animal lovers would continue their work despite the almost immediate loss of 50% of revenue due to the loss of charitable status.
Today, 20 years after being dealt an epic blow, we have a chance to change history – and we need your support more than ever.
In mid-2018, the charity Canada Without Poverty fought this rule in Ontario, where Justice Edward Morgan of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice wrote in his decision that, “…to ‘permit’ 10% of an organizations resources to be devoted to public policy advocacy is to prohibit 90% of that organization’s resources from being devoted to public policy advocacy,” and, “…while counsel for the Attorney General contends…the measure ‘ensures that organizations with “registered charity” status can engage in some political activities’, a different reading of the identical measure is that it ensures that registered charities cannot engage in most political activities.”
The Government of Canada ceded the point and withdrew the 10% rule – thus opening up the opportunity for non-profits like The Fur-Bearers to regain charitable status, and all the benefits that includes.
We’re already hard at work with a legal team and accountant to update our constitution to bring it up to 2019 requirements and developing a lengthy submission to the Canada Revenue Agency as part of our re-application. Costs are expected to exceed $20,000 for this effort, but the impact could be incredible, not just for the animals, but for you as a supporter, too.
Realizing The Dream
George and Bunty dreamed of a Canada where wildlife could be wild and free; they dreamed of a Canada where traps were outlawed as cruel devices, and coexistence wasn’t a campaign, but a community standard. With your help we can take a crucial step forward to that future. With charitable status we will be eligible for grants that can get our coexistence strategies into more communities than ever before, communicate the cruelty of fur and the non-lethal solutions that save lives, and help more animals.
Please give today to help us regain charitable status and move forward with more strength and compassion than ever before. Note: we are currently without status and cannot issue tax receipts.