Registered charities and non-profit organizations (NPOs) both operate on a non-profit basis, however they are not the same. This page explains the differences between them.

Registered charities

Registered charities are charitable organizations, public foundations, or private foundations that are created and resident in Canada. They must use their resources for charitable activities and have charitable purposes that fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • the relief of poverty
  • the advancement of education
  • the advancement of religion
  • other purposes that benefit the community
Non-profit organizations

Non-profit organizations are associations, clubs, or societies that are not charities and are organized and operated exclusively for social welfare, civic improvement, pleasure, recreation, or any other purpose except profit.

If you are operating as a charity, you cannot be considered a non-profit organization, even if you are not registered or cannot be registered as a charity. You can only meet one definition, not both.