DEEPLY FLAWED DECISION FROM CRA AND OUR APPEAL
Alhamdulilah, by the grace of Allah SWT, Human Concern International (HCI) is the oldest and most longstanding Muslim international relief charity in Canada since its establishment in 1980.
HCI has provided humanitarian aid and development support to more than one million individuals and families around the world. With the support of over 65,000 donors, HCI has delivered over $165 million of aid. It has responded to numerous famines and humanitarian crises.
HCI has developed a partnership ecosystem of over 1000 organizations and implemented over 1000 projects. In any given year HCI implements over 100 projects which benefit over 300,000 beneficiaries worldwide.
HCI has demonstrated 40 years of effective program delivery while meeting the expectations and trust of our donors.
In 2014, the CRA informed HCI that it was initiating an audit for two fiscal years from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2013. HCI responded to the audit findings in 2018 in a fulsome manner. After 3 years of silence, the CRA has issued a deeply flawed decision of a one year suspension of receipting privileges and a penalty for events that occurred nearly ten years ago. We must stress that this is not a revocation.
The CRA felt this suspension was warranted because of a historical receipting practice used by many Canadian charities at the time of the audit and today and that is permitted generally by CRA. As our donors are aware, HCI sometimes worked with individuals and groups that are connected to the communities in which the project will occur. These diaspora groups often collected funds on behalf of HCI who worked with an implementation partner for projects that were vetted and approved by HCI and carried out on HCI’s behalf.
The CRA was not satisfied with the receipting of donations for six projects out of hundreds the organization has implemented. These projects include orphan support, education and health projects in India, Somalia, Bangladesh, and Kenya. The CRA did not raise any concern about the use of the funds or the beneficiaries.
HCI reaffirms that it has not engaged in any inappropriate receipting practices. Indeed, CRA had audited HCI twice previously and had not raised any formal concerns with receipting practices.
We feel confident that we will overcome this and we need our donors and community to stand with us as we get through this.
We believe that the decision is fundamentally unacceptable, unreasonable, and poorly conceived. The decision questions the integrity of the audit process and the credibility of the CRA. That is why we have contested the decision in a court of law and with CRA. At the earliest of the suspension’s completion or it being discontinued by the court, we will begin to again issue official donation receipts for gifts to HCI
Rest assured HCI will continue to operate as a registered charity. Despite our temporary inability to issue tax receipts, we ask that you continue your donation commitments so that our programs can continue unaffected. Our beneficiaries across the world are in dire need and we need your support now more than ever to be able to extend them a helping hand.
HCI’s Board, management team and staff have been working tirelessly to expand the organization’s work and reach. Over the last several years we have seen donations grow by almost 40%. Our newest project, the “Zero Hunger” program, supports families in twenty countries worldwide.
As you may know recent press and academic reports have exposed prejudiced audits and targeting of Muslim charities by the Review and Analysis Division (RAD) in the CRA. HCI’s audit was conducted by this division. The action against HCI comes in the midst of these credible allegations against the CRA. 130 Muslim organizations have already signed a letter to the Prime Minister calling for Muslim charities to be subject to the same oversight and audits as other registered charities and to take immediate steps to stop “special” audits focused on Muslim organizations. Furthermore, the Senate of Canada is currently passing a bill to reform the tax rules that have been used to take this unwarranted action against HCI.
We are grateful for the support of all of our stakeholders. Together we will overcome this Inshallah. HCI reaffirms its commitment to strong governance and transparency.
As we are in the month of Dhul Hijjah each of us has an obligation to provide our Udhiya/Qurbani, and as for the less fortunate, they have the right to a blessed, joyous Eid celebration made possible through your donations. We call on you to continue to work with HCI with your generous donations to fulfil your Qurbani today.
HCI has been proudly serving the Muslim community for 40 years, and through your generosity and support, our programs are continuously improving the lives of many vulnerable people. Each donation made enables us to further the mission of taking impoverished people from crisis to sustainability.
July 14, 2021
Human Concern International