Is The Fur-Bearers a non-profit or a charity?
The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals (The Fur-Bearers) is a registered non-profit organization (S-4222).
Though the terms "non-profit" and "charity" are often used interchangeably, a non-profit differs from a charity in a number of ways, most notably: a non-profit organization is not able to issue a tax receipt while a registered charity can. Registered charities are also eligible for considerably more grants and government funding than a non-profit. Many people ask why The Fur-Bearers does not have charitable status, and in order to answer this, a quick review of The Fur-Bearers history is needed.
Why can’t The Fur-Bearers have charitable status?
The Fur-Bearers was started in 1953 and actually began as a registered charity. The mandate was to expose the inherent cruelty associated with killing animals for the commercial fur trade.
The Fur-Bearers was committed to showing the public the truth about the fur trade, however since charities in Canada cannot criticize a legal industry, our work was not considered a charitable endeavor. Revenue Canada (now Canada Revenue Agency) stated that we were spending more than the allowed 10% of our revenue on advocacy campaigns. Revenue Canada made it clear that unless The Fur-Bearers was willing to change its mandate, our charitable status would be revoked.
Photo: Article from the Toronto Star, January 5, 1998
The Fur-Bearer's volunteer Board of Directors refused and believed that the organization’s work to expose the horrors of the fur trade was more important than being a charity. The Fur-Bearers carried on as usual, lost charitable status, and has continued ever since as a non-profit. There were consequences to losing charitable status, primarily with funding.
Photo: Article from Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe, November 1, 2002
As result of a court ruling in 2018, the Canadian government backed down from the 10% rule that affected many non-profits. The Fur-Bearers are currently working with legal experts to reapply for status as a charity. More on this soon.