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

To learn if you’re incorporated provincially, use the Ontario Business Registry’s search feature . Enter the full legal name of your corporation. If you enter your nonprofit’s name accurately, your nonprofit will come up in the search results if it was incorporated in Ontario. If you receive no search results, it likely means you’re not incorporated provincially.

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.

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

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

Reviewed: 2021-10-18