Most Canadians don’t understand how diverse the Canadian charity sector is.   The public sometimes has stereotypes of charities – those helping the poor are viewed as charities or registered charities.  This stereotype or misunderstanding of the charity sector often benefits charities.  But in fact, it is not accurate and there are a lot of different organizations in the charity sector.

CRA in its statistics divides the charity sector into 252 different subcategories which also include RNASOs and RCAAAs.  Here is a chart showing the 4 heads of charities (each is a different colour), the categories and subcategories.  Many charities may actually be doing work in many different heads of charity, categories or subcategories.

So when I hear people say we have too many charities I can only laugh – perhaps in your neighbourhood there are 5 charities dealing with opera and I agree perhaps there are too many opera charities in your neighbourhood!   But have you thought of the work of different charities, that each area of the country sometimes has slightly different needs and are communities outside the major centres being appropriately serviced?   We may see thousands of charities slowly disappear over the next few months or years and it will even be more important than ever to ensure that adequate charitable services are available across the country.