The Canada Revenue Agency has recently been sending out a new form letter to some applicants for charitable registration which appear to have foreign activities requesting they provide greater detail in terms of the foreign activities.  Here is a copy of a sample letter from CRA.  The letter is worth reading and I would emphasize the importance of providing sufficient detail of the proposed foreign activity as well as a draft agreement for any structured arrangements.

SUBJECT: Request for Information – Activities Outside Canada

The Application to Register A Charity Under the Income Tax Act (form T2050) filed on behalf of {NAME OF CHARITY} has been received by the Charities Directorate. It has been placed in our inventory pending assignment for review and analysis by a Charities Officer. 

However, the information provided is not sufficient to allow us to determine whether the applicant is eligible for charitable registration. To expedite the review and analysis process, we recommend that you provide the information outlined below prior to your application being assigned.

If you do not provide the requested information, the application will be processed based on the material already submitted.

Information requested
The applicant will be operating outside Canada. According to the Income Tax Act (the Act), a registered charity may only use its resources (funds, personnel and/or property) in two ways, both inside and outside of Canada.

First, a charity can undertake charitable activities itself. These are activities/programs that are conducted under the charity’s direction and control.  Such activities may be conducted by the charity’s employees or volunteers, or by its “intermediaries” (agents, contractors or partners).

Second, a charity may use its resources is to gift funds to “qualified donees” as defined in the Act. For the most part, “qualified donees” are other registered Canadian charities. Individuals, and most organizations outside Canada such as foreign charities and international aid agencies, are not “qualified donees”.

The attached appendix contains a complete list. A charity may not simply send monies to an individual, or to a foreign organization that is not a “qualified donee”.

The information supplied does not provide sufficient detail about how the applicant will operate outside Canada.  Please provide a detailed description of each activity/program to be carried out by the applicant (both current and proposed) outside Canada. We require a clear understanding of what the applicant will do and how it will operate.

If the applicant will operate through an intermediary according to a structured arrangement, please provide details about, and/or a copy of, the arrangement. The arrangement must clearly show that the applicant will maintain continuing direction and control over, and is fully accountable for, the use of its resources.

Please refer to the enclosed Guide Registered Charities Operating Outside Canada for more information, and for details about the type of arrangement needed.

Helpful Hints
– Explain how and where each activity outside of Canada will be carried out, and by who;
– If operating through an intermediary (i.e. agents, contractors or partners):
Include details about, and/or a copy of, the structured arrangement clearly showing the applicant’s continuing direction and control over the use of its resources; and Provide information about the intermediary, including the reasons why the applicant believes that the intermediary will be able to act on its behalf.

-When responding, make sure to quote your file number (found on the top right hand corner of this form)

—- was created by Mark Blumberg, a lawyer at Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto, Ontario.  If you have legal questions about non-profit organizations or charities in Canada he can be contacted at or at 416-361-1982 x. 237. To find out more about legal services that Blumbergs provides to Canadian charities and non-profits please visit the Blumbergs’ Non-Profit and Charities page at or