Benefits to Aboriginal peoples of Canada

Policy statement

Reference number
CPS-012

Effective date
November 6, 1997

Purpose

This policy statement outlines the Directorate's policy on the registration of applicant organizations that provide benefits to Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

Statement

The courts have recognized as charitable organizations that address the needs of Aboriginal peoples of Canada under the following category of charitable purposes, other purposes beneficial to the community in a way the law regards as charitable.

Implementation

1. This policy applies to applicant organizations that restrict their benefits to the needs of Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Footnote 1 

2. To qualify for registration as a charity, an organization must meet a public benefit test. It must show that its purposes and activities provide a tangible benefit to the public as a whole, or a significant section of it.

3. The courts have determined that organizations whose purposes and activities are restricted to the needs of Aboriginal Peoples of Canada are charitable, and as such meet the public benefit test.

4. An organization that restricts its services to Aboriginal peoples by providing them with culturally appropriate wellness programs, focusing on their traditions and customs, or their particular cultural, spiritual, or linguistic needs, can qualify for registration as a charity. Footnote 2 

5. The following are examples of organizations that could qualify under the following category of charitable purposes, other purposes beneficial to the community in a way the law regards as charitable:

  • shelters for youth or victims of abuse
  • family counselling services
  • suicide prevention lines
  • rape crisis centres
  • counselling centres for alcoholism and/or substance abuse
  • organizations focusing on medical conditions that have a particular pattern in Aboriginal communities
  • youth groups
  • drop-in centres
  • seniors' recreational associations
  • community centres
  • organizations that facilitate industry, commerce, agriculture, or craftsmanship
  • organizations providing legal services

6. The following are examples of organizations that are not able to justify restricting their benefits to Aboriginal peoples of Canada:

  • hospitals
  • ambulance services
  • fire protection services
  • disaster relief funds
  • rescue and safety organizations
  • meals on wheels
  • block parents
  • recycling services
  • organizations protecting the environment
  • parks and recreational grounds

7. An organization cannot qualify for registration with purposes established to assist Aboriginal peoples of Canada if it further restricts its beneficiaries to a limited class of eligible persons, also known as "a class within a class". Footnote 3  For example, limiting beneficiaries to a particular nation that excludes members of other nations does not meet the necessary element of public benefit. An organization cannot qualify unless it can demonstrate that it addresses a charitable need particular to that limited group, for example, a problem faced only by the Métis or by one specific nation. Footnote 4 

References

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