Political activity audit strips Dying with Dignity of charitable tax status

OTTAWA — The federal government is stripping Dying with Dignity Canada of its charitable tax status following a political activity audit by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The organization, a registered charity since 1982, advocates for choice and dignity at the end of life, including providing information about patient rights, advance planning and education on the case for physician-assisted death.

The Harper government announced a crackdown on registered charities in its 2012 budget, providing an extra $8 million to the tax agency to audit groups that may be engaged in what the government deemed excessive political advocacy.

An audit blitz has targeted environmental groups that oppose the Conservative government’s energy policies as well as groups advocating for foreign aid, human rights and even poverty reduction.

Dying with Dignity says the revenue agency has informed it that the organization never should have received charitable status in the first place because it does not advance education in the charitable sense.

Dying with Dignity says in a release that it will continue operations after its charitable status ends next month and that its conversion to a non-profit agency will allow it to conduct political advocacy without constraints.

The group, first registered more than 30 years ago, was re-registered in 2011 when its charitable status was last confirmed.

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