Describing your activities

When examining an applicant’s statement of activities, we look for a detailed description of its programs as they relate to each of its purposes. An applicant cannot simply express its goals. It must give detailed and real plans for its current and proposed activities and show that they further its charitable purposes. Failing to provide enough information, or failing to show that it devotes all of its resources to activities that further its charitable purposes are grounds to deny registration.

In the section on Purposes and activities of the Application to be a registered charity under the Income Tax Act, you must describe in clear detail each charitable activity you will undertake to achieve each of your stated charitable purposes and show how it provides a benefit to the public. You will be asked to name the activity, describe it, answer specific questions about it, and provide any supporting documentation. This includes any public policy dialogue and development activities that you may have since they are also considered charitable activities.

When describing a charitable activity, keep the following points in mind:

  • what you want to achieve
  • how you're doing it – detailed plans
  • who the beneficiaries are and how they are selected
  • any fees charged
  • frequency and length of the activity 
  • involvement of employees and volunteers
  • how you maintain direction and control over activities and resources
  • other logistics (transportation, facilities, etc.)

In addition to your description of the activity, you will also be asked to provide the following information:

  • activity start date
  • details of intermediaries and other partnerships
  • location(s) of activity
  • anticipated expenditures for this activity
  • purpose the activity supports

Finally, you will be asked to provide all relevant supporting documentation, such as minutes of meetings, newspaper articles, website information, videos, CDs, fundraising materials, pamphlets, brochures, and any other documents/media that will allow the Charities Directorate to determine if your activities are charitable.

Note

Don’t include your fundraising activities and related business activities in the section on Purposes and activities. You should report them in the section on Gifts and other income generating activities.

Example of an activity description

Activity: Classes on employment life skills

The Northern Education Society is focused on providing job-skills training to individuals in isolated Northern communities, in an effort to relieve poverty.

The Society will host a two-hour class every Monday and Wednesday evening, at the Northern Community Centre. Classes will consist of lesson plans focusing on life skills to assist participants to obtain and to maintain employment, such as effective time management and budgeting. Participants will also have access to the centre’s computers and will be introduced to Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook, to learn computer skills. Examples of course material are attached. Each class will be facilitated by two volunteer instructors who currently work in the education field.

The classes will be offered to anyone in the community at no charge, but will be limited to 10 participants per session. The training will be advertised throughout the community, and participants will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In addition, each Tuesday and Thursday evening, volunteers will be available at the Northern Community Centre to provide one-on-one assistance with resume building and job interview preparation. The Society will focus on recruiting volunteers who have experience in human resources and/or management, and this service will be available to residents of the community at no charge.

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