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I would like to obtain minutes of Board of Trustee meetings from a federal charity organization in Canada. I know how to do that in the U.S. How does one do it in Canada? Is this something that technically only a Canadian citizen can do?

Update: I checked at the Canada Revenue website and discovered that there is a distinction at least for their purposes between charity and non-profit, and that the organization I'm interested in is a charity not a non-profit. For what that's worth.

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    Obtaining minutes of Board of Trustees meetings of private non-profit organizations in Canada would ordinarily be governed by the statute authorizing the creation of that kind of organization in the province where the organization is legally organized. Knowing that it is in Canada and that is it a non-profit is insufficient to provide an answer. You would need to know what kind of non-profit organization it was and what province's laws it was organized under. It also seems that you may be asking about a governmental organization which is different from a private non-profit. – ohwilleke Aug 26 '17 at 1:46
  • @ohwilleke - I checked the organization's website. It says "registered (11926 7862 RR0001) charitable organization." I believe it is a national organization. If more information is required, could you write down for me exactly what I should ask? (I'd like to ask in a gentle way, as I believe this organization is going through a rough patch in terms of funding and staffing turnover.) – aparente001 Aug 26 '17 at 17:24
  • Well, it seems then as if it's a federal not-for-profit. You should include this information in the question. – Zizouz212 Sep 13 '17 at 0:28
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In general

First, it is true that individual provinces have their own rules governing non-profit organizations, and that federal charities are treated separately from other types of non-profit organizations in Canada. Since you are interested in a federal charity, the documents of interest are the Income Tax Act and the Access to Information Act. However, the process proscribed in the latter act seems to be rather involved and obscure.

The Canadian government provides “How to get information about a charity”, a web page that suggests you:

  1. Contact the charity directly. There is significant variance on the policies of individual charities, and it might be worth your time to simply ask for the information.
  2. Search the list of charities for access to publicly available information. Here are two search pages, one for charities and the other for federal corporations. Each may prove useful.

Specifically

Here are the search results for the entity you mentioned in a comment:

Note: it appears that they are overdue on their annual filing.

Further remedies

  1. Make an informal information request through the Canada Revenue Agency. The “How-to” page included above states that this process is free and can yield a variety of non-confidential information, including governing documents. It is unclear whether this includes minutes from a board of trustee meeting specifically.

Make an informal request

  1. Make a formal “access to information” request through the Canada Revenue Agency. This process may include processing fees, and usually offers only the same information as the informal requests, but allows you to complain to the offices of the information and privacy commissioners.

Make formal request


Note on board meetings for non-profits in Canada: taken separately from charities, there is some concern in Canada regarding the lack of information about non-profit entities.

  • Your fine print at the end made me feel a little better, after I was told by a government official that in Canada, there is no freedom of information act as I'm used to. – aparente001 Sep 21 '17 at 2:32

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