On January 18, 2012, Montreal Personal Safety Examiner David Love traveled to Ottawa to Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette’s office on Parliament Hill. A lengthy conversation with the Senator, personal advisors and aides confirmed mutual concerns for the safety of Canadian and Montreal area citizens who fall prey to insidious, predatory cults that exploit the vulnerable.
Earlier that morning, the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency received a formal complaint citing Narconon Trois-Rivières and Narconon Incorporated as not being a benefit to society.
The issue of public benefit is at the heart of every inquiry into an organization’s claim to charitable status under the Income Tax Act (ITA). Under current law, an organization is only charitable if it meets the definition of charity according to common law. Part of that definition requires that, for an organization to be considered charitable, it must be established for public benefit.
Under common law, an applicant organization will be deemed charitable only if it meets two fundamental requirements:
1. The organization’s purposes must be exclusively and legally charitable.
2. It must be established for the benefit of the public or a sufficient segment of the public.
It is well established in law that all organizations that want to be registered as a charity under the ITA must ensure that their purposes are directed to the public’s benefit. This requirement applies to all categories of charity.
The “benefit” aspect of the test concerns whether the charitable purpose under consideration is directed towards achieving a universal good that is not harmful to the public—a socially useful endeavour. The “public” aspect involves an examination of who constitutes the “public.” This notion of public benefit has also been called the “public character” of charity, in that it “seeks the welfare of the public; it is not concerned with the conferment of private advantage.”
Factors affecting the extent to which proof of benefit is required include: the nature of the proposed charitable purpose and the category it falls under; the social and economic conditions of the time; the extent to which the benefit may be quantified; the existence of any harmful impact of the undertaking; and the relationship between the purpose and the intended beneficiaries.
Thus it is primarily in circumstances where applications with novel fact situations, which do not fall clearly within previously recognized purposes, are being submitted for registration, that evidence of benefit to the public must be provided. (See section 3.1.4 below for a discussion on the type of evidence that may be required to establish “benefit”).
At times, the indirect benefit may be considered too remote—particularly when the direct benefit is in favour of private individuals. An examination of this issue often involves a balancing of private benefit versus public benefit, the former being generally prohibited.
The charitable purposes of some organizations may result in a benefit to the public while at the same time producing some negative effect. Where such a conflict occurs, the public benefit shown to arise from the charitable purpose is typically evaluated against any harm that may also arise from the proposed activity. In determining charitable purpose, we are looking to ensure that a substantial net benefit results.
Conversely, a purpose will not be charitable if it confers private benefits. A private benefit occurs when one of the reasons for the organization’s existence is to confer individual benefits to a limited group of persons on the basis of criteria that are not relevant to the charitable purpose at hand.
A key part of the process of determining charitable status involves a consideration of the question of who will be benefiting. Although most organizations applying to be registered as charitable under the ITA will be offering services or programs aimed at the public at large, there are others that will be set up for the purpose of providing services or programs directed at or serving specific groups.
Organizations that confer a private benefit are not charitable. A private benefit will be found when the beneficiaries of the organization’s services are defined solely by some personal connection, such as family relationships or common employment, or another connection unrelated to the organization’s purpose, such as colour of hair or membership in a group unrelated to the need served.
Organizations with purposes that are discriminatory or based on notions of racism may, depending on the nature of the discriminatory purpose, offend the norms in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They may also be in contravention of the various human rights regimes, either federally or provincially, or contrary to public policy as expressed in those constitutional and legislative regimes.
The formal complaint to the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency states, in part:
“Narconon Trois-Rivières et al. are being investigated by the Quebec Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, and the College of Physicians. In July 2011, the College of Physicians banned Dr. Pierre Labonté (Narconon Medical Manager) from ever associating with Narconon again. It was proven that “the physician was associating himself with a detoxification center using methods not recognized in current medical literature.”
In fact, the entire Narconon Program consists of Scientology indoctrination processes and pseudoscientific therapies that cause far more harm than good. Many patients were/are taken from Narconon to the hospital emergency ward in Trois-Rivières because of negligent treatment at the center.
Narconon is operated as a commercial business venture, with huge sums ending up in Scientology bank accounts. I have documented evidence and a long list of witnesses to substantiate these claims. Following my lengthy formal complaint to the Quebec College of Physicians and other government agencies, my statements and evidence were found to be credible by all.
I also had a two-hour meeting with the SQ Intelligence Police regarding the public safety of the patients at Narconon and regarding my safety as well, due to the threats I received on my Facebook wall from one of the Narconon executives.
I have documents that will show the Charities Directorate that Narconon does NOT benefit the community in a way the law regards as charitable. Quite notably, this organization causes far more harm than good as will be evident to the Directorate when applying the “Public Benefit Test” as prescribed under the Income Tax Act.
The Narconon Trois-Rivières organization is under the direct control and administration of Narconon Incorporated (ABLE Canada), Narconon International, The Church of Scientology of Montreal, the Church of Scientology of Quebec City, the Church of Scientology of Toronto, and the mother Church of Scientology in California. The income from Narconon Trois-Rivières is forwarded to these entities through several means, as will be evident in my next communication to the Charities Directorate.
I can and will provide the Charities Directorate with this documented evidence, once I am assured that I have directed this formal complaint to the appropriate agency and person AND that I am assured the security of the documents I submit.
I refer you to the following:
The Queen v. Church of Scientology of Toronto was a 1992 Canadian criminal case involving the Church of Scientology and members of the organization.
An investigation into the Church of Scientology’s activities in Ontario was begun when stolen documents from public and private agencies as well as information on other covert activities in Canada turned up as part of the evidence collected in the Operation Snow White case in the U.S.
On March 3–4, 1983, police raided the Scientology headquarters in Toronto and seized an estimated 250,000 documents in more than 900 boxes.
On June 25, 1992, seven members were convicted for operations against the Ontario Provincial Police, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The Church of Scientology itself was convicted on two counts of breach of the public trust: infiltration of the offices of the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. The Church of Scientology was ordered to pay a $250,000 fine. The Church of Scientology became the only Canadian religious organization to be convicted for breaching the public trust (the term ‘religious organization’ being used loosely; the Church of Scientology is not officially recognised by the Canadian Government as a religion).
That being said, would you kindly confirm I have directed this letter/document to the appropriate authority to receive evidence and investigate?”
The Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency was one of several matters discussed in Ottawa on January 18, 2012. An investigative reporter also attended the meeting in the Senator’s office and a news story will be published within days.
The safety of patients under the care of detoxification centers in Canada is under government and media scrutiny, and those who do not meet certain qualifications in providing professional care could soon be closed and all operations shut down permanently.
David Edgar Love