Charitable activities

A registered charity may only use its resources (funds, personnel, and property) inside or outside Canada in two ways:

1. It can carry on its own charitable activities. These activities are conducted under the charity's direction and control. Such activities may be carried out by the charity's employees or volunteers, or by its intermediaries (agents, contractors, or partners).

Activities through intermediaries

When working through intermediaries, the charity must be able to demonstrate that it takes an active and controlling part in a program or project that directly achieves its charitable purposes and should:

  • obtain reasonable assurances, before entering into an arrangement, that the intermediary is able to deliver the services required by the charity (by virtue of their reputation, expertise, years of experience, etc.)
  • ensure that all activities to be conducted are charitable and that they further the charity's charitable purposes
  • develop a structured arrangement with the intermediary that clearly describes what the intermediary will do on behalf of the charity, and provides the charity with sufficient ongoing direction and control over the use of its resources ( A written arrangement containing the minimum elements outlined in Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada, is strongly recommended)
  • regularly monitor the progress of the activities and be in a position to account to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the use of all its resources
     

Note

Registered charities are strongly encouraged to consult Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada, before entering into any arrangements or undertaking any activities that involve the transfer of funds to organizations that are not qualified donees.

2. It can make gifts to qualified donees (usually other registered charities). Individuals and most organizations outside Canada, such as foreign charities and international aid agencies, are not qualified donees.

A registered charity is not permitted to carry out its purposes by simply handing over its money or other resources to an individual or to another organization that is not a qualified donee. Gifting to a non-qualified donee will put the registered status of the charity in jeopardy.

To verify whether an organization is a registered charity, use the "Search" feature on the List of charities webpage.

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