ULCC Working Group Consults on Crowdfunding Revisions to Uniform Informal Public Appeals Act

2 October 2019

By Greg Blue, Q.C.

A Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) Working Group is conducting an online consultation until 15 January 2020 in connection with updating the Uniform Informal Public Appeals Act (UIPAA) to address internet-based crowdfunding. The UIPAA was the model for the Saskatchewan legislation that proved its worth as a means of building consensus and ensuring transparency around the distribution of the $15 million fund gathered via a GoFundMe campaign from worldwide sources in the aftermath of the 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

The UIPAA was promulgated by the ULCC in 2011 in two versions, one for use in the common law provinces and territories, and the other for use in the civil law system of Qu├ębec. While the Saskatchewan iteration of the common law version gave the court adequate tools to reach broadly supported solutions in the Humboldt Broncos case, a slightly different fact pattern might have called the applicability of the legislation into question, potentially leading in turn to divisive, drawn-out controversies in the community.

The UIPAA was originally aimed at providing a framework for protecting and managing funds raised in spontaneous fundraising appeals through local media within a relatively limited geographical area, including the appropriate disposition of surpluses. Since 2011, however, the availability of internet crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe and Kickstarter have made spontaneous fundraising efforts possible on a worldwide scale.  The potential for organizers, donors, funds, and objects (the persons or causes for which the money is raised) to be located in different jurisdictions anywhere in the world, rather than being concentrated in one community or region, greatly complicates the picture.

In 2018 the ULCC formed a 10-member Working Group chaired by BCLI Member Emeritus Arthur L. Close, Q.C. to revise the UIPAA to address issues stemming from the new world of internet-based crowdfunding. BCLI Senior Staff Lawyer Greg Blue, Q.C. is also a member. The Working Group has generated a consultation paper containing a draft of a revised UIPAA. The consultation paper is now being vetted openly for comment at a dedicated website.

To download and read the ULCC Consultation Paper on a Uniform Informal Public Appeals and Crowdfunding Act, visit http://www.unilaw.ca.

The contact form on the webpage may be used for short comments. Longer comments should be sent by e-mail to consult@unilaw.ca.

Comments should be sent by 15 January 2020.

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