How do we find our nonprofit’s current status?

This page explains how you can find out whether your nonprofit:

  • is incorporated or not
  • (if it is incorporated) is it incorporated provincially or federally
  • is it registered as a charity or not

Knowing whether or not your nonprofit is a registered charity, or incorporated provincially or federally, is important. Its status determines whether or not you can do things, such as:

  • apply for funds
  • issue tax receipts
  • work outside of Ontario

How can we find out if we’re incorporated provincially?
To learn if you are incorporated provincially, you can send a request to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. If your nonprofit existed before 2014, you can also see if it is on this list of Ontario nonprofits.

How can we find out if we’re incorporated federally?
To learn if you are incorporated federally, you need to look at your letters patent. You can request a copy of your letters patent from Corporations Canada.

How do we know if we’re a registered charity?
To learn if you are a registered charity, see if you are listed in Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) database of charities.

What if I’m none of these things?
If you are none of these things, you may be an unincorporated association, which is just a group of individuals acting together rather than its own legal entity. They may have a written agreement, like a constitution, an oral agreement, or simply a common understanding.

Reviewed: August 2017