Differences between Ontario and Canada Non-Profit Incorporation

federal vs ontario Non Profit Companies
Originally Published: Feb 15, 2016

Overall information regarding a Not for Profit Incorporation

A Not for Profit or Non Profit incorporation is established to provide either services or products to the community without making profit.

These businesses are incorporating to support or improve the community.  A Not for Profit may generate revenues however the revenues stay within the organization to further its ability to promote and assist the community.

Overall examples of Not for Profit Incorporations as are follows:

  • Sport or athletic organizations
  • Social Clubs
  • Professional or community organizations
  • Service Clubs

Federal Not for Profit Incorporation (Electronically filed)

Name Protection

A federal incorporation provides the best name protection available in Canada.  If you are wanting the organization to have a physical address within more than one Province or you will be promoting or advertising the business in more than one Province, the federal Not for Profit incorporation provides the highest level of name protection through incorporation within Canada.  With providing the highest level of name protection, there is also the consideration of finding an available name.  With a federal Not for Profit incorporation, your proposed name will be will be reviewed against a much larger scope of existing Not for Profit incorporations within Canada.  It is very important to have a unique name.

What is the required Information?

  • Name of Corporation
  • Address of Corporation (a home address can be used)
  • Minimum of 3 directors (Must be at least 18 years old, legal names and addresses and signature required and original signatures are not required.)
  • Purpose of the corporation (business activity)
  • Restriction on Activities (usually no restriction)
  • Classes of members (Template is provided for one or two classes. You may also provide a custom structure)
  • Distribution of Property on liquidation (Template is provided. You may also provide your own wording)
  • Additional Provisions (Template is provided. You may also provide your own wording)
  • Name and phone number of individual Authorizing this registration
  • Federal Nuans report
  • Government fee is $200.00

not for profit / charitable incorporation

The federal government provides examples of classes of members, distribution of property on liquidation and additional provisions that you may opt for or provide your own examples.

Purpose of the Corporation

The objects of the corporation are typically 2 to 6 paragraphs of details providing what you will be providing to the community for this business.  The federal government does not provide examples of templates for you to review or use as templates.  These details you will need to provide in your own words.


The Federal Not for Profit Incorporation is filed electronically and takes 5 business days for the federal examiners to process and either accept or reject with revisions requirements.

Charitable Status

You may obtain a charitable status for the incorporation if the business.  Typically, charities fall into the following purposes:

  • Advancement of education
  • Poverty Relief
  • Advancement of religion
  • Certain purposes that the benefit to the community have been approved by the courts and have stated are charitable

Types of Charities

Charitable Organizations – carries on its own purposes and receives funds from “arms-length” donors such as independent individuals or businesses.

Public Foundations – Typically provides a minimum of 50% of its income to qualified donees (usually other charitable organizations with the proceeds provided by “arms length” donors.

Private Foundations – Typically funds provided and used are in the form of a “non arms length” donors such as family to assist the community through other charitable organizations.

What does having charitable status provide?

  • The availability to provide tax receipts to individuals/corporations who provide financial contribution
  • Receive donation from other charitable organizations
  • Tax and HST exemption
  • Eligibility to claim tax rebates from HST paid

Federal Not for Profit Incorporation – Learn More

Ontario Not for Profit Incorporation (Manually filed)

Name Protection

When incorporating in the Province of Ontario, the business name has name protection within the Province of Ontario solely.  If the organization you are establishing will be located within the Province only, completing the Ontario incorporation may be suitable.  With the Provincial incorporation, your business may import into another Province or Territory within Canada as long as the business name is not already in use or similar business name exists within an alternative jurisdiction.  The Provincial examiners will compare your business name to existing Not for Profit and Charitable businesses more specifically within the Province of Ontario.  It is always important to provide a unique name however the name approval is not as difficult as with a federal incorporation.

What is the required Information?

  • Name of Corporation
  • Address of Corporation (a home address can be used)
  • Minimum of 3 directors (Must be at least 18 years old, legal names and addresses and signatures are   required for filing with the Province of Ontario).
  • Objects the corporation (The Province provides templates for commonly used incorporations)
  • Name and phone number of individual Authorizing this registration
  • Ontario Nuans report
  • Government fee is $155.00 for 8 to 12 weeks turnaround time and $255.00 for 7 business days turnaround time.

Objects of the corporation

The objects of the corporation are the overall statements related to what activities the Not for Profit incorporation will carry on.  The Province of Ontario provides a number of commonly used Not for Profit incorporations including Athletic and Sports Clubs, Music, Arts, Community Associations and Centers along with a number of other examples.  This can be useful whether you are within any of these common business types or can be a useful resource for you to provide your own wording.

Timeframe for Incorporation

The Province of Ontario requires the documents to be filed manually with their office.  This is part of our service when you choose to incorporate Provincially.

$155.00 – 8-12 week turnaround time when filed with the Provincial office

$255.00 – 7 business day turnaround time when filed with the Provincial Office

Charitable Status

The Province of Ontario assists individuals who are looking at incorporating a Charitable organization within Ontario by providing a number of pre-existing templates for wording of the object clauses such as

  • Religious organizations
  • Religious schools
  • Foundations
  • Services for seniors
  • International development
  • Spousal abuse
  • Relief of poverty
  • Programs for physically or mentally disabled
  • Promotion of health
  • Substance abuse
  • Preservation of the environment
  • The arts
  • Community centres, immigrant services, literacy and employment training

Additional fees for charitable

If the charitable organization you are attempting to incorporate does not fit within one of these pre-existing templates, you may be required to pay an additional $150.00 government filing fee for the incorporation to be approved by the Public Trustees office in Ontario.

Incorporate Your Ontario Not For Profit Company

If obtaining charitable status with your incorporation, whether you Provincially or federal incorporate, receiving the completed Articles of Incorporation from either jurisdiction is the first step in obtaining the full charitable status.

The secondary step is to apply with the Canada Revenue Agency for tax status as a charitable organization.