Trust document


Reference number

August 15, 2011


Charitable organizations, public foundations, and private foundations may be established under a trust document.

Elements of a trust document

For registration purposes, the Charities Directorate requires that at least the following requirements are in a trust document:

  • the name of the trust
  • the name of the settlor(s) or the name of the person(s) making the declaration of trust
  • the names of the original trustees
  • the charitable purposes of the trust
  • the rules governing how the trustees will administer all property (including money) received
  • an acknowledgement that the initial trust property (including money) has been transferred to and received by the trustee
  • a provision in which the trustees give assurance that all property (including money) received will be applied only for the purposes outlined in the trust document
  • a provision detailing how the trustees will be replaced
  • the effective date of the document
  • the signatures of the trustees

Applying for charitable registration

We recommend that the trust document includes a clause allowing the trustees to amend or alter the trust in order to meet the legislative and common law requirements for charitable registration. The reason for this recommendation is that the Charities Directorate may request amendments to the trust, and amendments to a trust that is already established may not be possible or may require court approval.


You should not consider the above requirements and recommendations as being legal advice regarding the validity of a trust. They are solely provided to inform you of our requirements for the administration of charitable registration under the Income Tax Act. We recommend that you seek independent legal advice before enacting or amending a trust.


  • Income Tax Act, R.S.C. 1985 (5th supp.) c. 1, ss. 149.1
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