Incorporating a Charity Using Pre-Approved Objects
There are two ways to apply for Letters Patent to incorporate a charity in Ontario. You may apply:
- directly to ServiceOntario of the Ministry of Government Services using pre-approved objects; or
- through the Public Guardian and Trustee using objects specially drafted for your charity.
This Bulletin is intended to explain when and how to apply directly to ServiceOntario using the pre-approved objects. For more detailed information on the incorporation of charities generally, please see the Not-for-Profit Incorporator's Handbook on the Ministry of the Attorney General's website.
If you decide to use objects specially written for your charity, the Public Guardian and Trustee must approve the application before ServiceOntario can issue Letters Patent. For more information on the Public Guardian and Trustee's approval process, please see "Applications not Using Pre-approved Objects" below and the Not-for-Profit Incorporator’s Handbook.
Please note that the Handbook and the Charities Bulletins are intended to provide basic information on charities. They are not intended to give legal advice. For legal advice, charities should consult their legal advisor.
APPLICATION FOR INCORPORATION
Charities are a special kind of not-for-profit corporation. In order to be a charity, a corporation must meet the general requirements for not-for-profit corporations and some additional requirements which are discussed below.
To obtain Letters Patent incorporating a charity, you must complete an Application for Incorporation of a Corporation without Share Capital.
A copy of the application form is available from ServiceOntario and can be obtained by accessing the following link: http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/GetAttachDocs/007-07109~6/$File/07109E.pdf
Forms are also available, at no cost, from:
ServiceOntario - Ministry of Government Services (MGS)
393 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M2
Toll-free (information): 1-800-361-3223
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CHARITIES
To qualify as charitable, a not-for-profit corporation must meet the requirements of the Ministry of Government Services and the additional requirements for charities. The main requirements for charitable corporations are:
- The name must indicate the charitable purposes;
- The objects, or purposes, of the corporation must be charitable; and
- The special provisions must be included in the application for incorporation.
The Name of the Corporation
The name of a charitable corporation must comply with the Corporations Act. The name should also describe the purpose of the charity.
With the exception of applications to incorporate a foundation, the name of a person or family should not be included in a charity’s corporate name, as it is perceived to promote a private interest. The name of a person or family may be included in the name of a charitable corporation that is not a foundation if the proposed corporate name has a connection with the objects of the corporation and (a) has through use acquired a meaning that renders the name distinctive; or (b) is of historic, patriotic or philanthropic significance.
An application to incorporate a foundation may include a person’s name as part of the corporate name for example, the "Smith Foundation". If “Foundation” is part of the corporate name, then the objects of the corporation must include the foundation object clause: To receive and maintain a fund or funds and to apply all or part of the principal and income therefrom, from time to time, to charitable organizations that are also registered charities under the Income Tax Act (Canada). A foundation may have other object clauses in addition to the foundation object clause but at the very least should carry out the function of a foundation.
If the name of a person or family is included in the corporate or foundation name, then the provisions relating to an individual’s given name and surname or family name in Regulation 181 of the Corporations Act must be complied with.
The Objects or Purposes of the Corporation
The objects of a corporation are set out in part 4 of the Letters Patent. The object clauses describe the kind of work the charitable corporation will do. A corporation can carry out activities described in the objects. It can also carry out other activities provided they further the objects and are minor in relation to the activities described in the objects.
The Public Guardian and Trustee has developed pre-approved object clauses , which if used word-for-word are acceptable to the Public Guardian and Trustee and to the Canada Revenue Agency, although Canada Revenue Agency has additional requirements as mentioned below.
The pre-approved object clauses describe the activities of some of the most common types of charitable corporations. They are set out in Appendix "A". If the pre-approved objects accurately describe the work your charity will do, you may use those clauses in your application. If you use only the pre-approved objects you can apply directly to ServiceOntario.
To use the pre-approved objects you must complete part 4 of the application by filling in one or more of the object clauses. You may not add to, or delete from, the clauses set out in Appendix "A". You must fill in blank spaces if there are any in the clauses you choose to use (for example the name of the religion in the Religious Organizations category).
The objects of the corporation should be chosen carefully. The pre-approved objects cannot be used by all charities. A charity should only use the pre-approved objects if they describe the intended purposes of that organization.
Before deciding to use the pre-approved objects you should think about the activities your charity will carry out both on start-up and in the foreseeable future. A charity cannot engage in activities outside the scope of the objects. Directors of a corporation which uses property for purposes not set out in the objects may be required by a court to repay the money used for the other purposes.
From time to time, the Public Guardian and Trustee will approve additional pre-approved object clauses.
Part 5 of the Application for Incorporation of a Corporation without Share Capital allows you to set out special provisions relating to the corporation. The special provisions you must use if you are intending to use the pre-approved objects are set out in Appendix "B".
Canada Revenue Agency
If you wish to issue tax receipts to donors, you must apply to Canada Revenue Agency for a charitable registration number under the federal Income Tax Act.
Canada Revenue Agency has developed a list of model object clauses, most of which are acceptable to the Public Guardian and Trustee. If an application for incorporation includes a model object clause that has not been incorporated into the Public Guardian and Trustee’s list of pre-approved object clauses, the application must be sent to the Public Guardian and Trustee for approval as described in “Applications Not Using Pre-Approved” below.
If you intend to apply to Canada Revenue Agency for charitable registration and you wish to use any of the pre-approved object clauses, it is your responsibility to make sure that you have used the pre-approved clauses word-for-word. Even if ServiceOntario issues the Letters Patent, Canada Revenue Agency may not approve the clauses if there is a variation in wording.
Canada Revenue Agency has approved the Public Guardian and Trustee’s pre-approved object clauses to help simplify the application process for a charitable registration number. However, your organization's use of proper objects is only part of Canada Revenue Agency's requirements for charitable registration. Canada Revenue Agency must take other factors into consideration, including the activities and programs your organization undertakes to achieve its objects.
For information on how to apply to Canada Revenue Agency for charitable registration, you may wish to contact your local Canada Revenue Agency office which can be found in the blue pages of your telephone book or call the Charities Directorate in Ottawa at (613) 954-0410, Toll Free 1-800-267-2384. Canada Revenue Agency’s website is: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/taxes/charities.html.
Once you have completed your application you should send the following documents to the ServiceOntario:
- Two signed copies of the Application for Incorporation of a Corporation without Share Capital. Both copies must bear original signatures.
- An original NUANS name search report for the proposed name of the corporation. The name search must be less than 90 days old.
- A covering letter, setting out the name, address and telephone number of the person or firm to whom the Letters Patent or any correspondence should be mailed.
- If the proposed name includes the name of a person or is similar to the name of an existing organization, ServiceOntario may require the consent of the person or organization to the use of the name.
At the date of writing this bulletin, ServiceOntario’s fee to issue Letters Patent is $155 , or you may pay an expedited service fee of $100 for a total of $ 255 ($155 + $100) to have the application reviewed within 7 working days from the date ServiceOntario receives the application. When documents are deficient, they will be returned to the client for amendment and the expedite service time no longer applies.To check ServiceOntario’s current fees, you can call the telephone number set out below or visit its online fee schedule at http://www.ontario.ca/en/business/STEL02_168041.
The fee for issuing Letters Patent is payable by cheque or money order to the Minister of Finance. If you deliver the application, you may also pay by cash, Visa, Master Card or debit card. ServiceOntario cannot review your documents while you wait.
APPLICATIONS NOT USING PRE-APPROVED OBJECTS
If the pre-approved objects are not suitable for your charity, other objects specially tailored to your charity should be written. The Public Guardian and Trustee must approve the application for incorporation before ServiceOntario will issue the Letters Patent. If you apply for Letters Patent through the Public Guardian and Trustee, you should send your completed Application for Incorporation of a Corporation without Share Capital to the Public Guardian and Trustee at the address set out below.
The Public Guardian and Trustee will review your application and once it is approved, forward it to ServiceOntario. At the date of printing this bulletin, the fee of the Public Guardian and Trustee for reviewing an Application for Incorporation of Corporation without Share Capital is $150. This is in addition to the fee charged by ServiceOntario.
At the date of printing, the total fees for issuing Letters Patent using customized objects is $305, or $405 for expedited service - payable to the Public Guardian and Trustee. The $305 represents both the Public Guardian and Trustee’s fee for reviewing the application ($150) and the ServiceOntario fee for reviewing the application and issuing Letters Patent ($155). Please note the Public Guardian and Trustee does not have a special expedited process. If you include the expedite fee ($100) the expedited service will only apply once the application is received by ServiceOntario.
Please note, these documents take several weeks to process. For more detailed information on applying for Letters Patent through the Public Guardian and Trustee, please refer to the Not-for-Profit Incorporator's Handbook.
Summary of Advantages of Using Pre-approved Clauses
- The Public Guardian and Trustee does not need to review the application - this saves the fee payable to the Public Guardian and Trustee and the time for the review.
- Pre-approved clauses used word-for-word are pre-approved by Canada Revenue Agency.
But remember, the pre-approved objects, as written, must accurately match the intended activities of your charity.
WHERE TO CONTACT US
Ministry of Government Services
393 University Avenue, Suite 200
Toronto, ON M5G 2M2
Tel: (416) 314-8880 or in Ontario
toll free at 1-800-361-3223
Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee
Charitable Property Program
595 Bay Street, Suite 800
Toronto, ON M5G 2M6
Tel: (416) 326-1963 or in Ontario
toll free at 1-800-366-0335
Pre-Approved Object Clauses for Use in Incorporating a Charity
- To advance and teach the religious tenets, doctrines,
observances and culture associated with the (specify faith or
- To preach and advance the teachings of the (specify faith or religion) faith and the religious tenets, doctrines, observances and culture associated with that faith.
- To establish, maintain and support a house of worship with services conducted in accordance with the tenets and doctrines of the (specify faith or religion) faith.
- To support and maintain missions and missionaries in order to propagate the (specify faith or religion) faith.
- To establish and maintain a religious school of instruction for children, youths and adults.
- To establish and maintain a religious school of instruction for children, youths and adults.
- To establish and maintain a religious day school.
- To receive and maintain a fund or funds and to apply all or part of the principal and income therefrom, from time to time, to charitable organizations that are also registered charities under the Income Tax Act (Canada).
Services for Senior Citizens
- Senior Citizens' Centres
- To relieve loneliness and isolation of the aged or to
improve their mobility and fitness by establishing, operating and
maintaining a senior citizens' centre to provide recreation,
education, cultural activities and other programs for senior
- To provide respite to persons caring for aged persons by
providing temporary care to aged persons and by providing such
services as housekeeping, meal preparation, nursing and shopping
- To provide support services for aged persons including personal care, housekeeping, meals, nursing and shopping assistance.
- Relief of Poverty
- To relieve poverty in developing nations by providing food
and other basic supplies to persons in need.
- To develop or promote public health in developing nations
by educating and instructing the public on prevention of, and
curative measures for, health problems and by researching and
documenting changes in the health of the community.
- To improve the quality of drinking water in developing
nations by constructing wells and water treatment, irrigation and
sewage treatment systems.
- To improve skills in forestry, agriculture and horticulture
and to assist in the preservation of the environment in
- To provide necessities of life to victims of disasters.
Assistance for the Sexually/Physically Abused
- To educate the public and professionals about prevention
of, and responses to, child sexual abuse by offering courses,
seminars, conferences and meetings and by collecting and
disseminating information on that topic.
- To assist those affected by child sexual abuse through
counselling and treatment programs.
- To educate the public and professionals about prevention
of, and responses to, spousal abuse by offering courses,
seminars, conferences, and meetings and by collecting and
disseminating information on that topic
- To assist those affected by spousal abuse through
counselling and treatment programs
- To provide affordable and secure housing for women who have been emotionally, physically or sexually abused or traumatized and for their children.
Relief of Poverty
Programs for Physically or Mentally Disabled
- To provide residential housing and a stable living environment
to persons with disabilities.
Training Education and Counselling
- To provide life management counselling and other support services to assist persons with disabilities to become more independent in the community.
- To provide training for, and to assist in, the placement of persons with disabilities in employment.
- To provide support and encouragement to persons with disabilities by offering programs in individual development and integration into the community.
- To provide relief to persons with disabilities by developing
and implementing recreation, education and social integration
programs for the disabled.
- To educate the public on debilitating conditions and the needs of persons with disabilities by providing seminars and by collecting and disseminating information on that topic.
Promotion of Health
To relieve poverty by providing food and other basic supplies to persons of low income, by establishing, operating and maintaining shelters for the homeless, and by providing counselling and other similar programs to relieve poverty.
- Respite Services
- To provide respite to persons caring for aged, ill or
disabled persons by providing temporary care to aged, ill or
disabled persons and by providing such services as housekeeping,
meal preparation, nursing and shopping assistance.
- To provide support services for aged, ill or disabled
persons including personal care, housekeeping, meals, nursing and
Health Care Centre
- To operate a community health care centre by providing
medical, health and support services for the general public.
Health Care Co-ordination
- To coordinate health care and social services for people with debilitating diseases, illnesses and conditions.
- To provide social services to persons with debilitating
diseases, illnesses and conditions.
- To conduct research into the causes, controls and cure of
debilitating diseases, illnesses and conditions.
- To provide support for those affected by debilitating diseases, illnesses and conditions by offering education and counselling and by establishing mutual support groups.
- To educate the public about the causes and effects of, and treatments for, substance abuse by offering courses, seminars, conferences and meetings and by collecting and disseminating information on that topic.
- To conduct research for the benefit of the public into the causes of, and treatments for, substance abuse.
- To coordinate health care and social support services for persons affected by substance abuse.
- To assist persons in coping with the effects of substance abuse by offering education and counselling and by establishing mutual support groups.
- To provide a treatment and recovery facility for substance abuse clients and to provide medical and social support services at the facility.
Preservation of the Environment
- To organize or participate in environmental projects designed to:
- preserve and protect flora and fauna;
- preserve, protect and restore rivers; or
- improve the urban environment.
- To educate and increase the public's understanding and appreciation of the arts by providing performances of an artistic nature in public places, senior citizens homes, churches, community centres and educational institutions and by providing seminars on topics relating to such performances.
- To provide instructional seminars on topics related to the performing and visual arts.
- To produce performing arts festivals for the purposes of educating and advancing the public's understanding and appreciation of performing arts and to educate artists through participation in such festivals and related workshops.
Community Centres, Immigrant Services, Literacy and Employment Training
- To establish and operate a community centre to be used for
workshops, programs, athletics, drama, art, music, handicrafts,
hobbies and recreation for the benefit of the general public.
- To provide education, counselling and other support
services for immigrants and refugees in need, including language
instruction, employment training, job search programs,
translation services and information programs on Canadian culture
Employment preparation, training and counselling
- To establish, maintain and operate an employment training centre for needy unemployed and low skilled workers.
- To provide assistance to needy persons in drafting resumes, searching for employment and preparing for job interviews.
- To provide counselling to needy persons experiencing long term unemployment.
- To develop employment training and education programs for
- To provide literacy programs and classes to members of the public.
- To develop and provide education and training programs to persons who will conduct literacy training.
Low Cost HousingTo provide and operate non-profit residential accommodation and incidental facilities exclusively for:
- Persons of low income;
- Senior citizens primarily of low or modest income; or
- Disabled persons primarily of low or modest income.
Special Provisions Required for Incorporated Charities
- The corporation shall be carried on without the purpose of gain for its members and any profits or other accretions to the corporation shall be used in promoting its objects.
- The corporation shall be subject to the Charities Accounting Act.
- The directors shall serve as such without remuneration and no director shall directly or indirectly receive any profit from their positions as such, provided that directors may be paid reasonable expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties.
- The borrowing power of the corporation pursuant to any by-law passed and confirmed in accordance with section 59 of the Corporations Act shall be limited to borrowing money for current operating expenses, provided that the borrowing power of the corporation shall not be so limited if it borrows on the security of real or personal property.
- If it is made to appear to the satisfaction of the Minister, upon report of the Public Guardian and Trustee, that the corporation has failed to comply with any of the provisions of the Charities Accounting Act, the Minister may authorize an inquiry for the purpose of determining whether or not there is sufficient cause for the Lieutenant Governor to make an order under subsection 317(1) of the Corporations Act to cancel the letters patent of the corporation and declare them to be dissolved.
- Upon the dissolution of the corporation and after payment of all debts and liabilities, its remaining property shall be distributed or disposed of to charities registered under the Income Tax Act(Canada) , in Canada.
- To invest the funds of the corporation pursuant to the Trustee Act.
- For the above objects, and as incidental and ancillary thereto, to exercise any of the powers as prescribed by the Corporations Act, or by any other statutes or laws from time to time applicable, except where such power is limited by these letters patent or the statute or common law relating to charities.