Application review process

When we first receive an application, we verify that it is complete (all the information and documents requested on the application form are included).

  • If an application is complete, we send the applicant an acknowledgement letter. The letter states the approximate amount of time it will take before the application is assigned to an officer for review.

  • If an application is incomplete, we reject it and return it to the applicant.

If we need clarification or more information

We may contact the applicant for more information and documentation to help us decide on an application. We may also offer the applicant the opportunity to amend its purposes so that they accurately reflect its activities. Generally, the applicant will have 60 days to respond. If the applicant:

  • provides us with a response that fails to show that its purposes and activities are charitable, we will likely deny the application, and will provide a written final decision.

  • believes that it has already provided all the required information, it can notify us in writing and we will provide a written final decision.

  • does not provide a response, we will consider its application abandoned and its file will be closed without further notice. An applicant does not have the right to appeal a decision to close an application because the applicant was not officially denied registration.


If the organization would still like to become a registered charity after its file has been closed, it can re-apply. The organization will have to send us a new application with all the required documents for registration.

If we refuse to register

If we determine that an applicant's purposes or activities are clearly not charitable, we will send a letter stating that we have denied the applicant registration.

If we deny registration, an applicant can appeal the decision by filing a notice of objection to the following address within 90 days of the day our letter was mailed:

Assistant Commissioner
Appeals Branch
250 Albert Street
Ottawa ON  K1A 0L5

If we approve registration

If we approve registration, we will send a notice of registration. This notice includes an organization's:

The notice of registration should be kept in a safe place - accessible to all authorized representatives of the charity.

Avoiding delays

Missing information causes delays. To avoid delays:

Common delays occur when an applicant fails to provide:

  • a complete list of the directors, trustees, or like officials (with each person's address, telephone number, and date of birth);

  • a complete set of governing documents (including any by-laws and amendments, if applicable);

  • a certificate of good standing or similar document from the appropriate registrar (if the organization has been incorporated for five years or more, or if the organization is incorporated and applying for re-registration);

  • complete financial information about the organization (this includes completing Q17 on the application form, as well as providing the organization's latest financial statements, if applicable);

  • a complete description of the organization's activities to show that they are charitable and fulfill the organization's purposes, as stated in its governing documents; and

  • copies of any agreements or contracts the organization has with representatives carrying out the organization's activities inside or outside Canada (if applicable) and complete details about these arrangements. See Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada for more information.

Draft governing documents

We will review draft governing documents once, if we receive them with an application that includes all requested information and documentation.

If we determine that an organization is likely to qualify for registration, we will ask the organization to provide certified copies of the governing documents within 60 days. If we do not receive the documents within 60 days, the application will be closed without any further contact from us.

If we determine that the organization is not likely to qualify for registration, we will send a letter of opinion indicating that the organization is not likely to qualify and we will provide our reasoning. The file will then be closed and there will be no further contact from us. Draft governing documents and/or draft purposes are not subject to a final decision, since a determination can only be made when we receive a copy of an organization’s certified governing documents. Our decision to close a file is not subject to appeal, since the organization is not a legal entity and was not officially denied registration. An organization may, after receiving our letter of opinion, send a formal application that includes its certified governing documents.

For incorporated organizations (established by letters patent, memorandum of association, application to form a society, etc.), certified means that the documents bear an effective date and are stamped or signed by the appropriate incorporating authority. For organizations created by a constitution, certified means that the constitution contains the signatures of at least three current directors/trustees or like officials of the organization and bears an effective date. For trust documents, certified means that the document contains the signature(s) of the trustee(s) and bears an effective date.


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