Current Advocacy Initiatives
GST Public Service Body Rebates
Representatives from CAUBO and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) met with Finance Canada in June to voice concerns regarding changes to the claim periods for GST Public Service Body Rebates that were announced in 2014. In total, close to 50 letters of support were sent to Finance Canada, demonstrating that CAUBO had strong support from its members on this issue. CAUBO and FCM representatives clearly illustrated the administrative impact of this change for universities and municipalities, as well as potential implementation and auditing challenges for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). While initial reactions were positive, no formal response has been received from Finance Canada or CRA to our request to modify the regulations. We continue to monitor the situation on members’ behalf.
Administrative Burden Initiatives
Tri-agencies and the concept of risk associated with internal charges
CAUBO worked with members to outline issues related to the documentation and approval requirements for low-dollar value internal charges incurred by research grants. A meeting was held with the Tri-Agencies to invite them to work together to address these issues. The Tri-Agencies have acknowledged that a risk-based approach can and should be applied to certain types of internal charges that pose lesser risks. We continue to work with them to establish a compliance framework that will decrease the administrative burden associated with these transactions in keeping with the Tri-Agencies risk tolerance.
Reducing the administrative burden in Canada in research management
An initiative undertaken jointly by CAUBO, CASRAI , CARA and other key stakeholder groups focuses on reducing undue administrative burdens in various research management processes in Canada, and where federal programs are a source of this burden, to support/inform efforts at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) to achieve a tangible reduction of the burden. A Steering Committee composed of representatives from CAUBO and CASRAI is overseeing this project, whose objectives are to:
- understand the various issues from the perspectives of the diverse stakeholders;
- identify and prioritize specific issues where tangible solutions are most feasible;
- convene a working group of subject matter experts to collaboratively develop the documentation and proposed standards for the identified solution; and
- develop plans for implementation within the local systems of affected stakeholders. Members interested in providing input on these issues can do so by joining the ABC Community of Interest group.
More information on: http://casrai.org/abc
Recent Past Advocacy Initiatives
Amendments to the Tax Code (regulation 4802 and section 253.1)
CAUBO and the Pension Investment Association of Canada have sent two letters to the Minister of Finance requesting specific changes to the tax code. The first letter requested amendments to regulation 4802 to permit Canadian public universities to invest as shareholders in tax-exempt corporations such as real estate pools. The second letter requested amendments to section 253.1 to clarify the ability of Canadian public universities, as registered charities, to invest in limited partnership vehicles as a passive investor. Federal Budget 2015 amended this restriction to allow such investments as long as they account for 20% or less of holdings in the limited partnership – good news for universities.
Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
In response to a request from CFI in 2013, CAUBO and the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) collaborated to develop a common position on the proposed changes regarding in-kind contributions. As a result of the arguments put forward, the CFI did not implement the 10% limit on supplier discounts as proposed. Subsequently, the CFI published updated guidelines that clarified expectations for collaborations and partnerships and promoted practices to ensure the integrity of the procurement process is supported with respect to supplier discounts.
Canadian not-for-profit accounting standards
In response to a request from the Accounting Standards Board and the Public Sector Accounting Board for comments on their proposed changes to Canadian not-for-profit accounting standards, CAUBO’s Finance Committee, with input from a broad cross-section of interested members, developed a CAUBO response which highlighted key concerns of universities regarding the proposals. Numerous universities used this response as a basis for their own individual responses.