Sources of Information on Canadian charities
The Charity's Website
The first place to look for information is on the website of the Canadian charity. You can find a charity’s website by searching on Google. A good website will provide information on the charity’s mission, activities, impact, governance structure, financial statements, contact information, fundraising costs, gift acceptance policy or receipting rules, among other things.
CRA T3010 Information
The second place one should look is the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Charities Directorate database on all 86,000 Canadian registered charities. http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html We have also developed a charity database (www.charitydata.ca) from the CRA T3010 information which is free and much more user-friendly than the CRA website. Keep in mind that both the CRA T3010 data and the http://www.charitydata.ca website provide you with information that a charity files with the CRA. Remember that it may not be accurate. You may want to look more deeply into the charity. There is no better way to do this than by volunteering with the charity and seeing first-hand what they actually do.
Newspapers sometimes cover charities – both positively or negatively, but usually those stories can be found when you are searching the charity on Google. Depending on the reporter and the story media coverage is not always correct, fair and balanced.
The CRA also puts on press releases about some of the worst Canadian charities, but only after their registrations have been revoked. You can see What’s New from the Charities Directorate at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/whtsnw/menu-eng.html
Here is also a list of some of the letters sent by the Charities Directorate to a small number of charities whose registered charitable status was revoked for cause. http://www.canadiancharitylaw.ca/blog/some_historical_cra_letters_when_revocation Also here is a list of the Canadian charities revoked for cause by the Charities Directorate http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca/images/uploads/Canadian_Charities_Recently_Revoked_by_CRA_for_cause_or_result_of_audit_-_August_2014.pdf