The nature of charity reporting and transparency is changing significantly; while the longstanding focus on financial reporting remains, there is much greater emphasis on illuminating governance systems and impacts. Regulatory regimes are becoming more polycentric with the expansion of third party watchdogs and emergence of new self-regulatory bodies. With more open access to data, transparency has become an independent force in these regimes. The article outlines a conceptual model of charity regulatory regimes and applies this to analyze recent developments of regulation-by-transparency in Canada. Although the intent of encouraging greater transparency is seldom questioned, this Canadian case study demonstrates how transparency can become politicized, damaging the relationship between the regulator and the charitable sector. In addition, the open data movement means that charities now operate in a world in which neither they nor state regulators control access and use of information.

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Keywords Canadian charities, Charity regulation, Charity reporting, Co-regulation, Regulation-by-transparency, Transparency
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Journal Voluntas
Phillips, S.D. (2013). Shining Light on Charities or Looking in the Wrong Place? Regulation-by-Transparency in Canada. Voluntas, 24(3), 881–905. doi:10.1007/s11266-013-9374-5