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  • Anmol Trehin

Not-For-Profit and Charities in Quebec: What's the Difference?

You have probably heard the terms “not-for-profit organizations” and “charities” countless times, but what do they mean? Today we’ll provide an overview of not-for-profits and charities and how they differ from for-profit corporations. 

Understanding the Legal Framework

Not-for-profits and charities are organizations established to serve specific purposes without the primary goal of generating profits for their members. While both types share similar goals of benefiting society, they differ in their objectives and how they operate within the legal framework.

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Not-for-Profit Organizations vs Charities

Not-for-profit organizations are entities that do not distribute profits to their members or stakeholders. Instead, they reinvest any surplus funds back into their mission or activities to further their social, educational, cultural, or recreational goals. Not-for-profits may engage in a wide range of activities to support their missions.

On the other hand, charities are a specific subset of not-for-profit organizations that are granted charitable status under the Income Tax Act. Charities enjoy certain benefits, such as tax-exempt status and the ability to issue official donation receipts to donors for tax purposes.

What about For-Profit Corporations?

While for-profit corporations aim to maximize profits for their shareholders, not-for-profits and charities prioritize their social or charitable missions above financial gain.

This fundamental difference influences various aspects of their operations, including governance structure, sources of funding, and regulatory requirements. 

Not-for-profits and charities are subject to specific laws and regulations that govern their incorporation, governance, reporting, and tax treatment, distinct from those applicable to for-profit entities.


Understanding the distinctions between not-for-profits, charities, and for-profit corporations is vital for anyone involved in business or interested in contributing to social causes. 

By recognizing the unique roles and legal frameworks governing these organizations, individuals, and businesses can make informed decisions about how to support and engage with them effectively.

In our next post, we'll delve deeper into the legal requirements and considerations for establishing and operating not-for-profits and charities in Quebec. Stay tuned!

This blog post is not legal advice and is for general informational purposes only. Always speak with a lawyer before acting on any of the information contained herein.


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