A statutorily defined term for the amount of any property, service, compensation, use, or other benefit that the taxpayer or related person received, obtained, or enjoyed, or is entitled, either immediately or in the future that is consideration for, in gratitude, or in any other way related to the gift.
A meeting of the members, which must take place once every fiscal year. While there are no specific requirements for the agenda of an annual general meeting either provincially or federally, the following business should be attended to by the members and reflected in the minutes of the meeting:
-consideration of the financial statements
-consideration of the report of the auditor, if any
-report of the directors
-selection or appointment of directors as necessary or desired
-review of membership.
An individual or organization that aids a cause, institution, or individual, especially with a gift of money.
The performance of compassionate, helpful, or charitable acts intended to produce good.
The recipient of funding or other assistance intended to be of benefit to the recipient.
Benevolent organization is not a technical or legal term but is a term Benefic Group employs to describe charitable organizations, public and private foundations, and not-for-profit organizations, as well as for-profit corporations, trusts, joint ventures, and other entities devoted to benevolence.
Benevolent sector is a term Benefic Group employs to describe all entities and individuals who are not agencies of the state and are dedicated to doing and producing good. The benevolent sector is also sometimes referred to as the voluntary sector, the independent sector, or the third sector.
Governance rules for managing the internal affairs of a company or organization.
Formerly known as Revenue Canada, Canada Revenue Agency is responsible for administering the Income Tax Act, and its Charities Directorate administers the registration and compliance provisions applicable to Canadian charities.
A registered charity that primarily carries on its own charitable activities. Less than 50% of the charity's directors can be related persons. As well, at least 50% of the funds the charity receives must come from unrelated donors.
The individuals responsible for managing or supervising the management of the affairs of the benevolent organization. Registered charities require a minimum of three directors.
A statutorily defined term that represents the amount by which the fair market value of the gifted property exceeds the amount of advantage, if any, that a donor has received or will receive for making a donation or gift. The eligible amount of gift is used to determine the donor's tax benefit from the gift.
Once registration is revoked, a charity can only donate to an eligible donee, which the statute defines in respect of a particular revoked charity as a registered charity:
-of which more than 50% of the members of the board of directors or trustees of the registered charity deal at arm's length with each member of the board of directors or trustees of the revoked charity
-that is not subject to a suspension of tax-receipting privileges
-that has no unpaid liabilities under the Income Tax Act or the Excise Tax Act
-that has filed all its information returns, and that is not subject to a security certificate under the Charities Registration (Security Information) Act
For the purposes of this website, references to a federal corporation refer only to a corporation that has been incorporated pursuant to Part II of the Canada Corporations Act as a corporation without share capital.
In Canada, the four recognized heads (or categories) of charity are:
-relief of poverty
-advancement of education
-advancement of religion
-community benefit -- in ways the law recognizes as charitable
A non-cash gift of property, including inventory, capital and depreciable property such as securities, artwork, equipment, and cultural and ecological property. The CRA does not consider services contributed as gifts in kind on the basis that services do not constitute a transfer of property.
A series of graduated penalties that may be imposed by the CRA (as lesser sanctions than revocation) for breaches of the rules and regulations governing the operation of registered charities. These sanctions may take the form of cash penalties, suspension of tax receipting privileges, and suspension of the ability to receive funds from other charities. In addition to the sanctions, the Canada Revenue Agency, Charities Directorate publicizes some of these breaches on its website (www.cra-arc.gc.ca).
A gift made during a person's lifetime and not upon death in a will.
A constating document that establishes the existence of, and outlines the objects and purposes of, a federal not-for-profit organization. (In British Columbia, the comparable constating document is called a constitution.)
Members of not-for-profit corporations or societies fill the governance role comparable to that of shareholders in for-profit corporations.
A minute book is a document containing certain records of a corporation. It is kept at the records office of the corporation, and must be kept up-to-date. A Minute Book usually contains:
-governing documents
-documents filed with the Registrar of Companies or Corporations Directorate
-members' register
-directors' register
-members' minutes and resolutions
-directors' minutes and resolutions
-documents approved by directors
-Canada Revenue Agency documents (optional).
The primary purpose of a private foundation is generally to make gifts to organizations that are qualified donees. A registered charity is designated as a private foundation if 50% or more of its directors are related persons, and/or if more than 50% of its funding comes from related persons.
For purposes of this website, references to a provincial society refer only to a society incorporated pursuant to the Society Act of British Columbia.
The primary purpose of a public foundation is usually to raise money to make gifts to organizations that are qualified donees. A registered charity is designated as a public foundation if fewer than 50% of the charity's directors are related, and more than 50% of its contributed capital comes from unrelated donors.
Donees that qualify under the Income Tax Act as authorized recipients of gifts from other charities and can issue an official donation receipt with consequent tax benefits to individual and corporate donors. They are primarily registered charities and registered Canadian amateur athletic associations (RCAAA).
A registered charity will be designated by the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable organization, a public foundation, or a private foundation, depending on its structure, its source of funding and the way it operates.
The process by which an organization applies to Canada Revenue Agency, Charities Directorate to be designated a registered charity.
The removal of an organization's charitable status, either on a voluntary basis or for cause.
The form number of the application to register a charity under the Income Tax Act. This form is filed when applying for charitable registration.
The form number of the annual public information return, which a registered charity must file disclosing the financial and operational data of the past year. Portions of this form are made public and posted on the Canada Revenue Agency's website.
The analysis of taxpayer's assets and projected income to determine the most tax-efficient way to structure the taxpayer's affairs.
A gift made upon death by will.
An individual with significant accumulated wealth.

Services for Canadian charities
and non-profit organizations

Participants in the benevolent sector often face unique legal problems requiring specialized knowledge and legal expertise. Benefic delivers the following specialized legal advice and services.

Specialized Advice

Strategic advice on the various legal structures available when seeking to:
  • carry out charitable activities domestically or internationally
  • raise funds for current activities or for capital projects or endowments
  • develop sustainable funding through entrepreneurial endeavours
  • accomplish social good through the investment of capital
  • influence public policy and citizen's understanding through advocacy and education.
Incorporation and registration of benevolent organizations:
  • advise about legal forms and structures available to achieve charitable or philanthropic goals
  • advise about purposes and activities acceptable for charitable registration
  • advise about non-profit (non-charitable) organizations.
Governance and liability:
  • draft or reorganize bylaws to address governance, control and administrative concerns
  • draft letters, patent, or constitutions that address capacity and charitableness concerns
  • advise about director liability.
Tax planning considerations in charitable gifting:
We draw on both practical and academic knowledge, and our ongoing analysis of global and domestic trends in the charity sector.
Benefic also undertakes policy work and selective litigation targeted at improving the law of gift and charity as well as the environment in which benevolent organizations operate.


Canada's benevolent sector faces an increasingly complex regulatory environment at both the provincial and federal level, with increased interim sanctions and penalty taxes recently introduced in the Income Tax Act.
Given this environment, and the broad discretion exercised by the sector's regulators, donors and benevolent organizations increasingly need the courts' protection to ensure they are fairly treated.
Until Parliament legislates a definition of charity, court challenges are the only way to ensure that the law of charity keeps pace with the social changes of the 21st century.
Benefic has been involved in administrative and judicial appeals regarding:
  • CRA audits and revocations of registered charities
  • clients' rights to administrative fairness when dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency
  • the scope of charitable purposes and activities that are entitled to benefits under the Income Tax Act
  • the law of gift
  • human rights issues applicable to benevolent organizations.