Napanee Community Kitten Rescue loses status as a registered charity

Kittens waiting to find a home during a recent NCKR Adoption Event. Image via NCKR Facebook.

Editorial note: Two sources in this article have remained anonymous due to fear of retribution over their speaking out. Kingstonist has vertified the identities and Napanee Community Kitten Rescue involvement of both sources.

The importance of good governance of a charity cannot be understated, and even charitable groups with the best of intentions in their organizational mission and goals can fail to meet the requirements to maintain their status as a registered charity. One local charity, Napanee Community Kitten Rescue (NCKR), is facing the challenges and repercussions of non-compliance with regulations.

According to Director Nancy Clark, NCKR’s mission is to create awareness about the issue of stray kittens, and to educate people on how to respond when they find homeless kittens. The group takes in homeless kittens, and provides appropriate resources for care and rehabilitation of the kittens in a network of foster homes. They also provide medical care and support for sick and/or injured kittens, and they are often filled to capacity (or beyond) with cats in care.

NCKR had its status as a registered Canadian charity revoked on Saturday, Jul. 30, 2022, for failing to file an Information Return (Form T3010 or Form T2052) within six months of the end of its fiscal year.

The advantages of maintaining registration with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) are many. Registered charities can issue official donation receipts for gifts that they receive from individuals and corporations. They are exempt from paying income tax and are eligible to receive gifts from other registered charities. Many goods and services they provide are exempt from goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST). Plus, status as a registered charity gives their work increased credibility in the community.

However, NCKR’s board is the centre of some controversy due to the revocation.

A former volunteer and board member with NCKR, who will remain anonymous, contacted Kingstonist on Monday, Aug. 11, 2022, to express concern that NCKR was accepting donations under false pretenses, having not made it clear to donors that they were no longer a registered Canadian Charity.

The former NCKR member also expressed concerns about mismanagement at the organization, indicating that when they asked for the NCKR letter of corporation, bylaws, and insurance last September, those items were not provided by Director Clark. This led the former member to cease involvement with the organization. The anonymous former board member said they believe there are no bylaws on file for NCKR. 

“It’s illegal, the charitable donation number should have been taken down from all advertising by midnight on July 30 [the day it was revoked],” they said.

Indeed, at that time, and as of Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, the NCKR website and Facebook page still state the organization is a Canadian Registered Charity, although the Canada Helps donation link is no longer active, and the website has since been updated to indicate it is under refurbishment.

Nancy Clark did eventually post a message to the rescue’s Facebook page on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2022, though the statement itself was dated August 15, 2022. The statement addressed the failure to file and revocation of charitable status as well as the removal of one member of the board, which Clark said was an unrelated matter.

The written statement indicates that “[on] February 16, 2022, Jonathon Geenevasen was elected to the Board of Directors for NCKR and subsequently elected as Treasurer. The previous Treasurer was to turn over all financial instruments at that time but failed to do so. As of 2022-08-12, no financials had been turned over.”

Charities involving animals can have deep importance to stakeholders and the public emotionally, and for this reason, another former volunteer, noting that they shared concerns of the other former NCKR member about mismanagement at the organization, asked to remain anonymous for fear of public reprisal. This individual said that NCKR’s public statement on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2022 was “untrue and not what happened,” calling the post misleading.

Asked why that statement had come 15 days after the revocation of NCKR’s status as a registered charity, Clark stated, “Number one, it is public knowledge if you go to the CRA website. We’re going to tell people anyway. So, we just put out a statement covering both bases because it was easier than doing two.”

Asked for clarification about why the statement came when it did, Nancy Clark said, “Basically, we put out a statement covering both things because we have been asked a lot of questions. And we wanted to make it clear publicly that… our status has been revoked.”

Director Clark explained that she is unconcerned, noting “We cannot issue receipts, and that’s really the only thing that we can’t continue. We’re an incorporated business. We’re a non-profit. We can continue operating with no problem at all. We just can’t give tax receipts for donations at the moment until we get our status back.”

Director Clark also indicated that she had not received any warning from the CRA that their status was being revoked.

“There’s a whole process you go through… [people] usually get about three letters in a row about what’s about to happen and you need to file ASAP to avoid it. In this case, we didn’t get those notices, and we’re trying to figure out why.”

Director Clark said that NCKR would reimburse anyone who had made donations after the revocation, but indicated no one had yet come forward asking to be reimbursed.

This is a developing story. Kingstonist will provide updates if/when more information becomes available.

2 thoughts on “Napanee Community Kitten Rescue loses status as a registered charity

  • Michelle, as painful as it must have been thank you for bringing this story to the public.

  • As a donor over the years I consider that Napanee Community Kitten Rescue has been open about the loss of charitable status and does not deserve to be called out and accused of non-disclosure. Knowing what the organization and Director were up against at the time, and the stresses involved in managing that plus trying to cope with the dozens of abandoned/homeless cats and kittens phone calls coming in asking for help, I am quite satisfied. These good people will make it though.

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