CLA Says Reports 'Do Not Fairly Represent' Situation

Recent media reports about the Canadian Lacrosse Association’s revoked status as a charitable organization “do not fairly represent the association’s entire situation,” the CLA said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The CLA had its status as a Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Association revoked in 2010 due to its involvement in an investment program that, according to the statement, included “a number of other amateur sport organizations in Canada” that also lost their charitable standing with the Canada Revenue Agency.

According to the Peterborough Examiner, the CRA in 2010 deemed the $60.7 million gifting program to be an illegal tax shelter. CLA officials say they are awaiting the outcome of pending litigation on the program before reapplying for charitable status with the CRA.

The issue came to light recently when four Canadian national team volunteers — chairman Dean French, men’s field lacrosse director Dave Huntley, box lacrosse director Johnny Mouradian and women’s lacrosse director Gary Gait — sent a letter to the CLA board demanding, among other things, the resignation of two high-ranking CLA executives and improved insurance coverage for national team players.

Instead, the CLA board voted last week to part ways with French, Huntley and Mouradian, citing “irreconcilable” differences. Gait has been told he can reapply for his position, according to the Examiner, which first reported about the CLA’s internal strife Oct. 22.

The CLA urged in its statement Tuesday, the entirety of which appears below, that regaining its RCAAA status remains a priority.

CLA Statement

OTTAWA, Ontario — It has recently come back into the public’s attention that the Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) had its Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Association (RCAAA) status revoked back in 2010. The CLA Board of Directors believes that it would be beneficial to its members, and to the Canadian lacrosse community as a whole, to re-address the situation in an effort to provide some clarity.

The facts published through the media by a group of former National Team Program volunteers do not fairly represent the Association’s entire situation, and therefore we do not share their opinions.

The CLA’s RCAAA status was revoked in 2010 due to the Association’s involvement in one of two investment programs. While the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) had no issues with the first program, they did challenge our involvement in the second program, which resulted in their decision to revoke our charitable status. A number of other amateur sport organizations in Canada that were part of that particular program also lost their charitable status. Litigation with respect to this investment program continues to work its way through the courts.

At the time our RCAAA status was revoked, it was certainly detrimental to our image as the national governing body for the sport, however it had little effect on our financial position. The return on our investment from the investment programs have far exceeded any charitable contributions we had previously experienced and continue to be an important part of our organization’s funding structure, which supports all aspects of our mandate.

Contrary to the opinions shared by certain individuals and media outlets, the Board has been transparent on this issue to all of our members, particularly through our Member Associations, who have been updated regularly at annual meetings on the status of our investments and our standing with the CRA.

It should also be noted that, after investigation, the CLA was unable to ascertain any written evidence that there were parties prepared to make substantial charitable contributions to our organization based upon our charitable status. Notwithstanding that the CLA has received only modest charitable contributions in the past, we recognize the importance of regaining our charitable status and it remains a priority.

To be clear, it remains a priority for the CLA to regain its RCAAA status, and we have instructed our legal counsel to investigate what would be required for our organization to once again be granted charitable status.

In the meantime, the CLA will continue to support all aspects of our sport across the country and make decisions that are in the best interest of our members.

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