UNHCR Canada

280 Albert Street, Suite 401
Ottawa, ON K1P 5G8
Executive Director: Not Listed

Charitable Reg. #: Not Registered


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

Not yet rated.


Audited financial statements available only through official request for information from Charities Directorate.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 0 cents are available for programs.

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About UNHCR Canada:

UNHCR CANADA IS NOT A CANADIAN REGISTERED CHARITY. Each year, this is one of the charities most requested by donors. Yet, since it isn't a registered charity, UNHCR Canada does not file an annual return, or provide financial statements. As such, there is no information for us to report.

Ci's Special Report on Ukraine: How to help

As a UN agency, UNHCR is a qualified donee. This means UNHCR Canada can issue tax donation receipts. UNHCR Canada has no financial transparency or reports showing how Canadian donations were spent or the work and people these donations supported. 

What we find unusual is that UNHCR has registered as a charity in the UK and Australia, and provides these donors with full reports and meets all the charity requirements in the UK and Australia. Despite fundraising in Canada since 1976, and Canadians having the same high expectations of charities that giving should be more than just getting a tax receipt, UNHCR has not chosen to register as a charity in Canada. 

UNICEF Canada, another UN charity, chose to be a registered charity in 1955. UNICEF Canada is financially transparent and reports how much money it raises, the work it does and the people it helps (see Charity Intelligence's report on UNICEF Canada).

We have spoken with UNHCR management over the years. UNHCR Canada has asked to be posted on Ci's website. We sincerely wish we had information to post.

UNHCR Canada is the Canadian branch of the UN High Commission for Refugees. The UNHCR was founded in December 1950, succeeding earlier agencies like the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, and prior to that the International Refugee Organization that fell out of favour in 1947.  

UNHCR Canada fundraises from Canadians to raise donations to protect refugees, people who have been forcibly displaced or who are stateless, to assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement in a third county. UNHCR’s mandate does not cover Palestine. UNHCR’s mandate has grown to include humanitarian aid.

UNHCR is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the headquarters of the UN. It is governed by the UN General Assembly and the UN Economic and Social Council. UN General Assembly elects High Commissioners every five years. The current High Commissioner is Italian diplomat, Filippo Grandi who was elected in 2016. UN General Assembly extended Grandi's term to 2023. 

As of December 2020, UNHCR operates in 138 countries, has 18,015 full-time staff, and its F2021 budget is US$9.2 billion.

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Results and Impact

In Canada, UNHCR's website posts that its protection work in Canada includes: strengthening Canada’s asylum system by ensuring it protects asylum-seekers and guarantees their fair access to the refugee state determination process, ending the detention of asylum-seekers, strengthening the government’s data collection on asylum-seekers and refugees, and advocating on key protection issues. UNHCR Canada makes public information and educational materials to help keep Canadians informed and build support for refugees in Canada and abroad. 

Charity Intelligence cannot assess the impact of UNHCR given the lack of transparency and accountability.

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UNHCR Canada provides no financial reports. 

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending ---
Total overhead spending 0.0%
Program cost coverage (%) 0.0%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Total revenues 0
Total spending 0
Cash flow from operations 0
Capital spending 0
Funding reserves 0

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 0

Avg. compensation: $0

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F0

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

Comments provided by UNHCR Canada October 6, 2021

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. UNHCR, also known as the UN Refugee Agency, operates in more than 130 countries and has had offices in Canada since 1976.

The Private Sector Partnerships (PSP) office for UNHCR Canada is based in Toronto. UNHCR Canada’s PSP office actively raises funds in Canada and engages the public to learn more about the plight of refugees and forcibly displaced people through mailings, advertising and digital engagement. UNHCR Canada’s PSP office is responsible for raising funds from individuals, foundations and corporate entities within Canada and remitting them to UNHCR’s programs around the world.

Donations to UNHCR Canada currently do not fund programs within Canada. The money is remitted globally and applied either to the highest priority needs of the organization or to the area to which the donor has specified.

In 2020, of every dollar donated to UNHCR—including contributions from governments and private individuals— 84 cents went to implement programs. This is a high efficiency rate and is gained in part from our global scale.

Under Canadian law, as a body of the United Nations, UNHCR Canada is a Qualified Donee as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This allows us to issue tax receipts for donations. Many other countries such as the US and the UK do not make this distinction for UN agencies, hence the need to register charitable entities which are called “National Partners” in those countries.

You can learn more about how UNHCR Canada fundraises here and you can learn more about where donor money goes here.

The UNHCR Canada PSP office gains many benefits from an efficiency standpoint in not registering as a charity: overhead such as salaries, IT and HR are paid from global accounts allowing us to leverage economies of scale.

UNHCR seeks to ensure the greatest level of transparency in reporting how funds have been allocated and the impact that monetary contributions have had on the ability to carry out our vital, lifesaving work in support of millions of refugees and forcibly displaced people worldwide. On UNHCR’s Global Focus website, we offer a comprehensive breakdown by donor country of funds contributed and how the contributions were earmarked and allocated.

UNHCR is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions. Most of UNHCR’s programs are funded by governments, but partnerships with corporations, foundations and private individuals also constitute important sources of funding.

In 2020, 85 per cent of UNHCR’s funding worldwide came from governments and the European Union, while 11 per cent came from private sector donors. In 2020, UNHCR Canada raised $15.3 million from private donors. An analysis and overview of UNHCR’s programmatic funding in 2020 can be found here.

Money raised from Canadian private donors is listed as “private donors” in Canada. Government funding an also be viewed on this website.

UNHCR also publishes an annual donor impact report and a more comprehensive overview and report on all of our organization’s work.

We are in active consideration as to whether to register as a charitable entity in Canada. This would confer numerous benefits, including the ability to share audited financial statements with our donors just for our Canadian operation. There are also downsides to pursuing this option, including the potential to have increased costs of fundraising—all these considerations are being actively weighed and discussed.

Regardless of the direction we ultimately maintain or pursue, donors to UNHCR in Canada can see global reporting on our program implementation and impact. To learn more about UNHCR and the latest about our work worldwide, please visit https://www.unhcr.ca.

Charity Contact

Website: www.unhcr.ca
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For additional information on UNHCR

Tel: 1.877.232.0909


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001