How and how much direction and control varies depending on the circumstances.

In CRA’s Guidance “Using an Intermediary to Carry out a Charity’s Activities within Canada” it notes:

“5.1. How should a charity direct and control the use of its resources?

Generally speaking, the nature and the number of measures a charity adopts to direct and control the use of its resources should correspond to the circumstances of the activity, such as:
• the amount of resources involved
• the complexity and location of the activity
• the nature of the resources being transferred
• any previous experience working with a particular intermediary
• the capacity and experience of the intermediary

The CRA recommends adopting the following types of measures to direct and control the use of a charity’s resources:
• Create a written agreement, and implement its terms and provisions.
• Communicate a clear, complete, and detailed description of the activity to the intermediary.
• Monitor and supervise the activity.
• Provide clear, complete, and detailed instructions to the intermediary on an ongoing basis.
• For agency relationships, segregate funds, as well as books and records.
• Make periodic transfers of resources, based on demonstrated performance.
A charity must record all steps taken to exercise direction and control as part of its books and records, to allow the CRA to verify that the charity’s funds have been spent on its activities.
A charity is registered to assist refugees, and it begins an activity to help refugees in Canada from a foreign country that recently suffered a civil war. However, the charity’s staff has little expertise in the language and culture of the foreign country, and encounters difficulty when trying to contact people it can help.
The charity finds a Canadian, non-profit organization that welcomes newcomers to Canada, and that by coincidence happens to have several members who immigrated from the same country some time ago. The non-profit agrees, and has the capacity, to act on the charity’s behalf in carrying out the activity of providing housing, interpretation, language training, social services, and employment preparation.
The charity and the non-profit meet to plan the activity. The charity takes the non-profit’s advice and experience into account as they plan the activity, although it has final authority over the use of its funds. Both parties are satisfied with the activity, and the non-profit agrees to act on the charity’s behalf.
The charity adopts as many measures to direct and control the use of its resources as is practical, including developing a written agreement with its agent, implementing the terms of the agreement, monitoring the activity, and providing ongoing instruction when required.
In this case, the CRA will likely consider that the charity is directing and controlling the use of its resources.
The facts of every situation will differ, and it is not possible to give precise guidelines to cover all situations in advance. If a charity plans to start a program that requires the transfer of property to an intermediary, or has questions about these types of transfers, we recommend contacting the CRA for advice.

For more information on the CRA Guidance “Using an Intermediary to Carry out a Charity’s Activities within Canada” (Reference number CG-004) see: or