In Canada, the Charities Directorate of CRA reviews carefully all registered charity applications. Some of the latest statistics from the CRA show that most charities that apply for registration are not granted it. It is not that these organizations are bad - but you have to meet all the criteria for a registered charity to be accepted by CRA. While 1670 were accepted in 2015-16 fiscal year, many more received unfavarouble decisions. Unlike the US in which the 501c3 application process appears to have been stripped down to almost nothing - here in Canada there is still a vigorous process to protect the integrity of the registered charity system.
According to CRA's Report on the Charities Program 2015-2016 they noted that the CRA received about 3810 charity applications.
The Directorate made the following decisions on applications during the 2015-16 fiscal year:
Final turn down 84
We assist many charities with the registered charity application process. In some cases we help charities after they have already begun the process and they realize that it may be far more complicated than they thought. In our experience it is better to discuss these issues as early as possible and best is before the organization is ever created. In some cases it is quite clear that an organization cannot become a registered charity but in most cases of CRA having an issue with an application it is simply a matter of the applicant not understanding certain terminology or the requirements of charity law. If you wish to retain our law firm to discuss your charity application or establishing your organization you can contact us.
Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?
Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.