Canada’s Major 100 Charities: An Independent Guide
To find information on one of Canada's Major 100 Charities (listed below), enter its name into the search box on the right.
Canadian charities are amazing in their numbers and what they add to society. They work in different sectors to provide many services and programs. Canada’s dynamic charity sector is the envy of much of the world.
Canadian charities come in all sizes - some are big and others are small, few are rich and many are poor. There are only a small percent of the 85,600 charities that are ‘big’ charities. Within these charities, there is set of majors – Canada’s largest 100 charities. According to Ci’s findings, the Major 100 Charities receive a significant amount of the money donated by Canadians. Canada’s 100 Major Charities received a total of $4.5 billion in donations from Canadians in 2009. While this is not directly comparable to the tax-receipted donation figures released by the Canada Revenue Agency, Ci estimates that the Major 100 Charities received 37% of the $9.7 billion in total tax-receipted donations made by all Canadian individuals and corporations.
The Major 100 also account for a vast amount of the fundraising spending in the charitable sector. Small in number, they often shape how Canadians view charities - a result of their mailings, posters and press stories.
It is these Major 100 Charities that have been the focus of Ci’s work. Canada’s 100 Major Charities are selected by their sheer size, the Major 100 Charities that receive the largest amount of donations from Canadian donors. Each easy-to-read charity report answers the most frequently-asked questions donors have about Canada’s largest “household” name charities; how a dollar donated is spent, the charity’s wealth, the charity’s openness in disclosing information and also basic information about charity staff and salaries.
The purpose of these reports is to help donors better understand the facts on the Major 100 Charities and to answer the most common questions donors have. To provide in one place, public information collected from the charity’s annual report, website, audited financial statements and regulatory filings. For the first time in Canada, donors’ have access to the “gold standard” of disclosure and accountability; the charities audited financial statements, rather than government filings. We believe Canadian donors deserve nothing less. Rather than having to search many places, this information has been condensed and brought together in one place.
Some donors may use these reports to choose charities to give their time or money to. Our aim is simply to provide donors with information to become informed. We do not attempt to choose which charity to give to. Indeed, the diversity of Canada’s charitable sector is its strength, and this depends upon the diversity of opinion among donors themselves about what charities they choose to support.
The charity reports provide facts; facts without judgement. We present information on salaries, administrative costs and fundraising costs – simply as the facts of a charity. One reader may use this information because they wish to support a charity with a high salary structure, comparable to ones in the for-profit sector, offering the promise of strong and effective management; another reader may feel the opposite. Are fundraising costs high, thus maximizing money for a cause or low therefore perhaps limiting the capacity of the charity to do good?
Each donor may put a different weight on these facts. And each donor may or may not use these numbers in their personal giving decisions. Giving is a personal matter, and each donor has unique interests. Our simple aim is to provide the facts to donors to help them make their own choices, not to make the choices for them.
A Charity’s Cost Efficiency: Fundraising & Administrative Costs
Sector experts reject fundraising and administrative costs as meaningful numbers to make giving choices. We see this controversial issue from a different angle. Since 2002, the Muttart Foundation has surveyed Canadian donors about their thoughts of charities in Canada. Donors are confident in Canadian charities and value the people who work in the charity space. Yet, Canadian donors have doubts for these charities. Donors want greater transparency on how charities spend their money. They ask the most questions about how much money charities spend on fundraising and administrative costs. Questions like these are often easy to answer, mainly for financial analysts. With use of the charities audited financial reports we hope the charity profiles can simply answer these questions in a fair and reliable way.
Donor’s questions and focus on these numbers might seem unfitting to charities and sector experts. Donors deserve greater transparency in how the money they donate to charity is spent. We think the questions donors have about charities are acceptable. After all, it is donor’s money. Wouldn’t answers to their questions raise their trust in charities and boost their support for Canada’s charitable sector? Our hope is that the information on fundraising and admin in the charity reports will do just this.
Canadian charities add to the fabric of our society and run vital services to make Canada the great country it is. Canada’s Major 100 charities have big public profiles that often slant how donors’ view our entire charity sector. As the prime recipients of donors’ dollars, we hold the Major 100 charities to the highest standards of financial transparency.
Many charities have great financial transparency, but we are surprised at how many don’t offer access to such basic public records. Nearly 20% of the Major 100 charities don’t provide the public with access to their full and complete audited financial statements.
Canadian charities must submit their financial statements to the Canada Revenue Agency with their tax filings. For a small, grassroots charity, led mostly by volunteers, it could be a big cost to have audited financial statements, run a website and post this information for public access. For the Major 100 charities, each charity has a website. Would it be too much trouble or cost to post these statements on the charity’s website? We think not.
We are thankful to the devoted staff at the Canada Revenue Agency who provided us with these audited financial reports upon our request for them. These are open to any Canadian who makes a formal ask to the CRA for the reports - a tiring job tying up CRA staff time from the vital regulation of Canada’s charity sector.
We hope donors that are aware of this lack of disclosure, will ask the charities they give to and support to offer these reports on their websites. These requests will most likely be better and much cheaper at boosting the financial openness of Canada’s charity sector, than through passing laws on disclosure.
Call For Donors
Our website is in its infancy. The initial charity profiles are on Canada’s 100 big charities, gauged by the size of the donations they take in each year. As stated, this is just a tiny group of Canada’s charities. Are these the charities you have questions about? Is there another charity you would like us to produce a profile on?
To ensure that our work meets the needs of Canadian donors we are throwing open our research doors. If you don’t find the charity you want information on, please submit a request. The Ci team of volunteers are on standby to prepare profiles on the charities donors ask for. Our three year goal is to post 1,000 charity reports on our website so they are free for all donors.
To ‘vote’ for your charity of choice, please enter the charity name in the charity search box on the website. There is a link to request a charity for review if your favourite charity is not found. As a small team and a charity ourselves, we will only have some much time. To be fair, we will start with the charity that has the most votes and work our way down the list. Stay tuned…
Canada's Major 100 Charities
Aga Khan Foundation Canada
Alberta Cancer Foundation
Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation
Art Gallery of Ontario
Baycrest Centre Foundation
BC Cancer Foundation
British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
British Columbia's Children's Hospital Foundation
Calgary Food Bank
Calgary Health Trust
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
Canadian Cancer Society Alberta/N.W.T. Division
Canadian Cancer Society British Columbia and Yukon Division
Canadian Cancer Society Ontario Division
Canadian Cancer Society Quebec Division
Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Canadian Diabetes Association
Canadian Feed the Children
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
Canadian Red Cross Society
Canadian Wildlife Federation Inc.
Cancer Research Society
Centre for International Governance Innovation
Children's Wish Foundation of Canada
Christian Children's Fund of Canada
Covenant House Toronto
Crossroads Christian Communications
Doctors Without Borders Canada
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Free the Children
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT, and Nunavut
Heart and Stroke Foundation of British Columbia and Yukon
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
Help Eliminate Disease and Addiction Canada (CHARITABLE STATUS REVOKED 5/4/12)
Hope International Development Agency
Jewish General Hospital Foundation
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Canada
Kidney Foundation of Canada
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada
London Health Sciences Foundation
Malvern Rouge Valley Youth Services (CHARITABLE STATUS REVOKED 11/11/11)
Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation
Montreal General Hospital Foundation
Montréal Heart Institute Foundation
Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation of Toronto
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
Nature Conservancy of Canada
Ottawa Hospital Foundation
Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
Plan International Canada
Power to Change Ministries
Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation
Salvation Army Territorial Headquarters for Canada and Bermuda
Samaritan's Purse Canada
St Michael's Hospital Foundation
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Foundation
Terry Fox Foundation
Tides Canada Foundation
Tim Horton Childrens Foundation
Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation
United Israel Appeal of Canada
United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto
United Jewish Welfare Fund of Toronto
United Way Calgary and Area
United Way Montreal
United Way of the Alberta Capital Region
United Way of the Lower Mainland
United Way Ottawa
United Way Toronto
United Way Winnipeg
University of Alberta
University of British Columbia
University of Calgary
University of Guelph
University of Manitoba
University of Ottawa
University of Saskatchewan
University of Toronto
University of Western Ontario
Vaad Mishmeres Mitzvos - Committee to Observe the Torah Laws
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation
War Amputations of Canada
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada
World Vision Canada
World Wildlife Fund Canada
Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada
York University Foundation