To Be or Not To Be a Charity:
The Decision Tree

The purpose of this tree is to help non-profit and voluntary organizations interested in obtaining charitable status understand the responsibilities and requirements of administering a registered charity. By using this decision tree, your organization will obtain a print-out that answers the following questions:

  1. Will registration benefit our group?
  2. Will our application likely be approved?

Make sure you have 15 to 20 minutes to complete the tree. We promise that your information will not be viewed by or be available to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

More than 85,000 charities are registered with the CRA. Although these charities are appreciated for the work they do, people must be aware that registering and becoming a charity is a very large responsibility.

Charitable registration is not always the right choice. Operating a charity means your organization will be subject to complex laws and demanding rules. It will be required to complete lengthy and detailed forms on an ongoing basis. It can often take up to 18 months to register, and the procedures can be time-consuming and even confusing.

Please note: All information in this decision tree is general and should be used as a guideline only. Any conflict about an organization’s activities will depend on how the CRA and courts look at the specific situation. If you have any concerns, we recommend that you get legal advice.

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The Charity Tree is a project by the
Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia.