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.


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.

For more information, see Guidance CG-029, Relief of poverty and charitable registration.

Examples of purposes 

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 experiencing poverty. For example, a charity established to advance education could also teach money management skills.


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