By: Angela Rajic
The United Nations has called out Canada for an apparent lack of respect for civil and political rights. Canada has received criticism for utilizing its Income Tax Act to silence human rights organizations and advocacy. TheIncome Tax Act establishes a cap of 10% of an organizations resources for political goals. The law has become problematic, according to many organizations, including Canada Without Poverty, who claim that it is being sued by the federal government to police organizations using "too many" of its resources to speak out about laws and policies that need to be changed to fight poverty in Canada.
A number of charities and NGOs in the country issued a collective statement warning that the "state of human rights in Canada has seriously deteriorated" in the past decade. Many of these organizations, representing everything from Aboriginal rights to refugees and anti-terrorism, fear that they could lose the charitable status and funding if the Income Tax Act is misused.
The UN recommended that the act "does not result in unnecessary restrictions on the activities of non-governmental organizations defending human rights". Canada is subject to a periodical review of its record on human and civil rights as a check against corruption, its latest having been done over ten years previously. It remains to be seen if the nations will take the U.N's criticism to heart.