For an organization to be accepted for registration as a charity, one of the main requirements is that it must operate exclusively for charitable purposes. Charitable purposes include:
- the relief of poverty,
- the advancement of education,
- the advancement of religion, and
- other purposes beneficial to the community, as determined by the courts.
Not all worthwhile purposes are considered charitable. Examples of non-charitable purposes are:
- service clubs or fraternal lodges,
- assistance to specific individuals or groups (as distinct from assisting a general type or group of the public), and
- promotion of sports (though organizations promoting amateur athletics in Canada on a nation-wide basis may seek registration as a Canadian amateur athletic association).
If your purposes do not fit completely within the above four categories of charitable purposes, then you will not be able to register your organization as a charity.
Your organization’s purposes are set out in its governing documents as the "objects" of the organization. Click here for information on how to draft your objects so that they are acceptable to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and for further information, including definitions and examples of each of the above four categories.