Charities

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Charities are a special type of not-for-profit which make an important contribution to the lives of the people of Ontario.

The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) plays a role in protecting the public interest in charitable property. This page gives basic information to people who use, run, or donate to charities.

Learn more about: how to make sure your donations are being used wisely; how to make a complaint about possible misuse of charitable property; how to establish a charitable not-for-profit corporation, and the duties and responsibilities for directors or trustees of charities

Donating

Charitable Donations: Know the Facts Before You Give
Be an informed donor: ask questions, check facts, don't be pressured, and give when you know your money will help people in need
Tips for Donors on Charitable Giving
Tips on choosing charities, avoiding scams, and dealing with canvassers and telephone solicitations

Making a complaint

Complaining About Charities
Do you have concerns about the way a charity is using its property? Learn how to make a complaint about possible misuse of charitable property

Starting and running a not-for-profit

Not-For-Profit Incorporator's Handbook
Provides general information on the nature of a not-for-profit corporation, including charities, and guidelines on how to organize, start up, and maintain such a corporation
Incorporating a Charity with or without Pre-Approved Objects
The Government maintains a standard set of charitable object clauses (called "Pre-approved objects") that describe the most common types of work carried out by charities. If the work intended to be carried out is accurately described by one or more of the pre-approved objects, then it becomes easier to apply to incorporate a charity.

This page explains when and how to apply using pre-approved objects

Information for Directors and Trustees

Duties, Responsibilities and Powers of Directors and Trustees of Charities
Directors manage charitable corporations. Trustees manage unincorporated charities and trusts. Directors and trustees are sometimes referred to as "charitable fiduciaries"
Investments by Directors and Trustees of Charities
Directors of charitable corporations and trustees of charitable trusts are responsible for the assets of the charities they manage. They have a duty to manage the funds responsibly
How to get a Court Order on a Charitable Matter Without Going to Court
Describes an inexpensive and simple way to get a Court Order under section 13 of the Charities Accounting Act. To get an Order, the consent of the OPGT and every other person who would have been served is required.

Court Orders that you may be able to get in this way include:

  • choosing a new trustee when a current trustee retires and the charitable trust has made no provision for appointing a replacement
  • giving more time to a charity to dispose of a business interest
  • applying funds to a new charity when it is no longer possible to apply charitable property or money to its original purpose (for example, where a charity has shut down or ceased to exist)
Liability Insurance and Special Purpose Trust Funds
While certain conditions apply, a regulation under the Charities Accounting Act allows charities to:
  • indemnify or buy liability insurance for their directors, officers or trustees to protect them against losses with which they may meet while managing the charity in good faith
  • combine special purpose trust funds (money given to the charity to be used for a particular purpose) for investment purposes
Charitable Fundraising: Tips for Directors and Trustees
A successful fund-raising campaign can make a significant difference to a charity's future operations and raise its profile in the community. However, when fund raising campaigns are not conducted appropriately they tarnish the reputation of a charity and of the charitable sector as a whole. Poorly managed fundraising campaigns may also have legal consequences for the charity and its directors or trustees.

Announcing the Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Information Sessions

Every year Canada Revenue Agency Charities Directorate staff visit communities across Canada to provide information sessions for registered charities.  These sessions help registered charities understand their obligations under the Income Tax Act and cover a number of topics, including income tax provisions and obligations, which are often part of a charity’s daily life (e.g. issuing receipts for donations). 

The sessions are geared toward everyone working for, or with, a charity — including volunteers, treasurers, board members, or officers. All attendees will find something of interest to them.

This is also a great opportunity to ask questions and to share information with other charities.

Sessions are offered in the spring, typically May and June, and in the fall, usually September and October.

The sessions are free and all registered charities are encouraged to send representatives.  Don’t miss out on this great opportunity.  If you are interested in attending or finding more information about the Charities Information Sessions, please visit http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/cmmnctn/wbnrs/menu-eng.html.

Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Directorate is the federal regulator of registered charities in Canada.

To Contact the Charitable Property Program by Mail or Fax:

Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee
Charitable Property Program
595 Bay Street, Suite 800
Toronto, ON  M5G 2M6

Fax: (416) 326-1969

Or you can call our general inquiry line at:

Tel: (416) 326-1963 or

Toll Free 1-800-366-0335 and then press 1, 8