Relief of poverty

To relieve poverty in the charitable sense means to bring relief to those experiencing poverty. People experiencing poverty are those who lack the basic necessities of life or simple amenities available to the general population.

Examples: 

  • operating a food bank for the benefit of the poor
  • providing non-profit residential accommodation for persons of low income
  • providing clothing, and other basic amenities to persons of low income
  • providing the necessities of life to victims of disasters or sudden catastrophes

Purposes that relieve poverty are accepted by the courts as providing a public benefit because they provide relief only to beneficiaries experiencing poverty. It is only charitable to provide benefits to the extent required to relieve poverty.

Examples of purposes 

  • Relief of poverty 
    • To relieve poverty by operating a food bank for [specify eligible beneficiaries, for example, individuals or families who are poor, of low income, or in need].
    • To relieve poverty by operating a soup kitchen for [specify eligible beneficiaries, for example, individuals or families who are poor, of low income, or in need].
    • To relieve poverty by providing basic necessities of life, including food, clean water, clothing, and/or shelter to [specify eligible beneficiaries, for example, individuals or families who are poor, of low income, or in need].
    • To relieve poverty by providing food and other basic necessities of life to [specify eligible beneficiaries, for example, individuals or families who are poor, of low income, or in need].
    • To relieve poverty by providing residential accommodation below market rate, support, and incidental facilities to [specify eligible beneficiaries, for example, individuals or families who are poor, of low income, or in need].
    • To relieve poverty by establishing, operating and maintaining shelters for the homeless.
  • Developing nations 
    • To relieve poverty in developing nations by providing food and other basic necessities of life to individuals or families in need.
    • To relieve poverty in developing nations by providing basic necessities of life, including food, clean water, clothing, and/or shelter to [specify eligible beneficiaries, for example, individuals or families who are poor, of low income, or in need].

    For more information, see Guidance CG-002, Canadian registered charities carrying on activities outside Canada.

  • Disaster relief 
    • To relieve poverty by providing necessities of life, including food, clean water, medical supplies, clothing, and/or shelter to victims of disasters.

    For more information, see Guidance CG-002, Canadian registered charities carrying on activities outside Canada.

Preventing poverty is not a charitable purpose 

The courts have confirmed that purposes for the prevention of poverty are not charitable. They have stated that charities whose purposes relieve poverty must have beneficiaries that are experiencing poverty at the time the benefits are provided. The courts have not accepted the risk of poverty as being equivalent to actually experiencing poverty.

Charities cannot be established with purposes for the prevention of poverty. However, charities can conduct activities that have the effect of preventing poverty. These activities typically advance purposes in one or more of the other charitable categories where the beneficiaries are not restricted to those that are poor. For example, a charity established to advance education could also teach money management skills.

 

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