Change legal status

Every registered charity (other than an internal division of an existing registered charity) must be legally established by a governing document (for example, letters patent, articles of incorporation, trust document, or constitution). Under the confidentiality provisions, a copy of a registered charity's governing document can be provided to anyone who asks for it.

When a registered charity changes the way it is legally established, such as becoming incorporated, it must provide the Charities Directorate with a copy of its new governing document. This kind of change usually results in the organization receiving a new registration number.

Note

Statute law, common law, and administrative policies concerning charities change over time. Therefore if an organization qualified for registration several years ago, it may not qualify today, or it may have to change its purposes or activities. We recommend that prior to changing the way it is legally established, the charity submit a draft copy of its new governing document for our review.

If the new governing document contains new purposes, the charity should provide a detailed description of activities showing how and where it intends to carry them out. Go to Change purposes and activities for more information.

To submit your new governing document

Through MyBA
  1. Log in to your My Business Account (MyBA) account.
  2. Scroll down to the menu for your charity’s RR account.
  3. Select “Update registered charity or RCAAA information”.
  4. Then, select “Change legal status” from the dropdown menu.
  5. Provide a description of your request in the text box. If your charity has a different business number, please ensure you provide this number.
  6. Upload your new governing document. You may upload either draft or certified governing document. See below for more information about the required documentation.
On paper

Mail or fax your request and new governing document to:

Charities Directorate
Canada Revenue Agency
Ottawa ON K1A 0L5

Fax: 613-954-8037

See below for more information about the required documentation.

Mailed or faxed letters must include the signature of a director/trustee or other authorized representative of the charity. Make sure to include the name and the registration number of your charity.

Becoming incorporated (for example, federally, provincially, or territorially)

Provide:

  • a copy of the incorporation documents (for example, letters patent or articles of incorporation) bearing the seal, stamp, or signature of the incorporating authority
  • any bylaws

Ceasing to be incorporated

When a charity ceases to be incorporated and wants to continue operating, it must adopt a new governing document.

Provide:

  • a copy of the certificate of dissolution of the dissolved corporation
  • a copy of a trust deed showing an effective date and the signatures of at least three trustees or a copy of a constitution showing an effective date and the signatures of at least three directors

Changing the jurisdiction of incorporation (for example, provincial to federal)

Provide:

  • a certificate of dissolution of the former corporation
  • a copy of the new incorporation documents (for example, letters patent or articles of incorporation) bearing the seal, stamp, or signature of the incorporating authority
  • any bylaws

Maintaining corporate status

Generally, incorporated organizations must maintain their corporate status on an annual basis by filing reports and/or paying a fee with their incorporating authority (federal, provincial, or territorial). In some jurisdictions, corporate status is revoked when an organization does not meet these obligations.

Incorporated charities should consult with their incorporating authority for information about these requirements. For information about federal statutes and regulations that apply to corporations, visit Corporations Canada. For information about provincial and territorial statutes and regulations that apply to corporations, go to Provincial and territorial government information for charities, in particular the applicable provincial/territorial corporate registry section.

Becoming an internal division

Provide:

  • confirmation that the charity abides by the governing document of the head body
  • a letter from the head body confirming that it is an internal division

If the charity was previously incorporated, provide also a copy of the dissolution of the dissolved corporation.

Ceasing to be an internal division

When a charity ceases to be an internal division and wishes to continue operating, it must adopt a new governing document.

Provide:

  • a copy of the new governing document (constitution, trust deed, or incorporation documents)
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