Children's Camps Operated by Public Sector Bodies

GST/HST Info Sheet GI-037

December 2014

This version replaces the one dated July 2007.

This info sheet describes how the GST/HST applies to a children’s camp operated by a public sector body (PSB).

Meaning of significant terms

In this info sheet:

"Camp" will be used generally to refer to the single supply of services that involves supervision or instruction in recreational or athletic activities.

"Charity" means a registered charity or registered Canadian amateur athletic association for income tax purposes, but does not include a public institution. A charity can issue official donation receipts for income tax purposes.

"Exempt supplies" are supplies of property and services that are not subject to the GST/HST. GST/HST registrants cannot claim input tax credits to recover the GST/HST paid or payable on expenses related to making exempt supplies. However, certain public service bodies’ may be eligible to claim a public service bodies  rebate for a portion of the tax paid or payable on expenses related to making exempt supplies. For further information about claiming a public service bodies’ rebate, refer to GST/HST Guide RC4034, GST/HST Public Service Bodies’ Rebate.

"Primarily" generally means more than 50%.

"Public institution" means a registered charity for income tax purposes that is also a school authority, a public college, a university, a hospital authority, or a local authority determined to be a municipality.

"Public sector body" means a government or a public service body.

"Public service body" means a charity, a non-profit organization, a municipality, a university, a public college, a school authority or hospital authority.

Overnight camps

Many PSBs operate camps that involve supervision or instruction in recreational or athletic activities. Where such a camp also involves overnight supervision, the supply of the camp by the PSB is generally taxable regardless of the age of the children attending. Overnight supervision includes supervision by volunteers, such as qualified program leaders.

Children who attend overnight camps may also receive other forms of instruction, such as religious instruction or computer training. In these cases, the supplies of these camps generally remain taxable provided the camps involve recreational or athletic activities.

Example 1

A charity runs a week-long overnight camp for children who are 11 to 12 years of age. Children arrive Monday morning and depart the following Sunday afternoon. At this camp, the charity offers a series of supervised activities involving athletics, water sports, and arts and crafts. During their stay at the camp, the children also receive religious instruction twice a day. Although the camp offers religious instruction, the supply of the camp is taxable because the camp has overnight supervision. If the charity is a GST/HST registrant, it will have to collect GST/HST on the camp fees.

Although overnight children’s camps operated by PSBs are generally taxable, there are some camps that are exempt, as explained in the next paragraphs.

Day camps

Where a camp operated by a PSB does not involve overnight supervision (that is, a day camp), the supply of the camp will be exempt if the camp is primarily for children 14 years of age or under.

Example 2

A municipality offers an arts and crafts camp every Monday afternoon over a six-week period for children between the ages of 7 and 10. Although the camp involves a recreational activity, the supply of the camp is exempt since it is offered to children 14 years of age or under and there is no overnight supervision.

Camps for underprivileged individuals or individuals who have a disability

Supplies by PSBs of camps involving supervision in recreational or athletic activities that are intended to be provided primarily to individuals who are underprivileged or who have a disability are exempt from the GST/HST. The supplies of these camps are exempt even if the camps include overnight supervision and regardless of the age of the individuals attending.

Example 3

During the second week in August, a non-profit organization offers an overnight camp to children from economically disadvantaged homes who want to learn leadership skills through various sporting activities. Although there are athletic activities and overnight supervision involved, the supply of the camp is exempt because it is intended to be primarily for underprivileged individuals.

GST/HST registration

PSBs that make taxable supplies are required to register for GST/HST purposes and to collect GST/HST unless they are small suppliers. A PSB (other than a government) is a small supplier if the total revenues from taxable supplies from all of the activities of the organization are $50,000 or less in the last four consecutive calendar quarters and in any single calendar quarter. A charity or a public institution has an alternative means of qualifying as a small supplier. It will qualify as such if its gross revenue for either of its two preceding fiscal years does not exceed $250,000. Non-registrants that require more information about registering for the GST/HST should go to Business number registration.

For further information concerning the tax status of supplies made by PSBs, refer to the following GST/HST guides:

Application of the GST/HST to children’s camps involving recreational or athletic activities that are operated by a PSB
Camp is primarily for individuals who are: Tax status
14 years of age and under and includes overnight supervision Taxable
14 years of age and under but does not include overnight supervision Exempt
over 14 years of age but does not include overnight supervision Taxable
over 14 years of age and includes overnight supervision Taxable
underprivileged or who have a disability Exempt

Further information

All GST/HST technical publications are available on the CRA website at GST/HST technical information.

To make an enquiry on the GST/HST by telephone, call one of the following numbers:

  • for general enquiries, call the Business Enquiries line at 1‑800‑959‑5525;
  • for technical enquiries, call 1‑800‑959‑8287.

If you are located in Quebec, contact Revenu Québec at 1‑800‑567‑4692 or visit their website at

The information in this publication does not replace the law found in the Excise Tax Act (the Act) and its regulations; it is provided for your reference. As it may not completely address your particular operation, you may wish to refer to the Act or appropriate regulation, or contact any GST/HST rulings centre for additional information. A ruling should be requested for certainty in respect of any particular GST/HST matter. GST/HST Memorandum 1-4, Excise and GST/HST Rulings and Interpretations Service, explains how to obtain a ruling and lists the GST/HST rulings centres.

Reference in this publication is made to supplies that are subject to the GST or the HST. The HST applies in the participating provinces at the following rates: 13% in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, 14% in Prince Edward Island and 15% in Nova Scotia. The GST applies in the rest of Canada at the rate of 5%. If you are uncertain as to whether a supply is made in a participating province, see GST/HST Technical Information Bulletin B-103, Harmonized Sales Tax – Place of Supply Rules for Determining Whether a Supply is Made in a Province.

Page details

Date modified: