Rights & Money

10 Canadian Charities With Good Scores

Deciding where to donate your hard-earned dollars is easier when you know how they’ll be used

By Katrina Caruso


If you’re looking for a place to give back this holiday, you might consider donating to one of the charities below. Financial donations are a crucial part of a charity’s budget for their annual and long-term programming, but it can be difficult to discern whether a charity is using your money in a way that aligns with your values and if the organization is financially accountable and transparent. Charity Intelligence Canada (Ci) rates charities using those and other criteria, including administrative and fundraising costs. Based on those ratings, here are 10 charities worth looking at, along with links to Ci’s reviews.

Photo: iStock/Nastco.

Fresh Start Recovery Centre

Cause: Homelessness & Addiction

Location: Calgary (local programming)

Founded: 1992

Website: freshstartrecovery.ca

Impact: Very High

Cents towards cause: $0.89 of every dollar donated

Fresh Start Recovery Centre is a treatment facility for men with addictions to alcohol and drugs. Patients follow a program structured to follow the 12-step method, with progress testing and counselling. Patients can take part in supplementary programs on health and mental wellness.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada

Cause: Youth

Headquarters: Burlington, ON (Canada-wide programming)

Founded: 1912

Website: bigbrothersbigsisters.ca

Impact: Good

Cents towards cause: $0.85 of every dollar donated

Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada offers individualized, group, and in-school mentorship programs for children without role models in their lives. The organization has 108 Canadian offices.

Ecotrust Canada

Cause: Environment

Headquarters: Vancouver (52 projects total, 42 of them in British Columbia)

Founded: 1995

Website: ecotrust.ca

Impact: N/A

Cents towards cause: $0.82 of every dollar donated

Ecotrust Canada is a sustainable development charity that builds solutions for environmental and economic concerns in four main areas: community development, business innovation, information democracy, and social finance.

Food for Life Canada

Cause: Food Security

Headquarters: Burlington, ON (Local programming: Acton, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton, and Oakville)

Founded: 1995

Website: stophungerpains.ca

Impact: Good–High

Cents towards cause: $0.82 of every dollar donated

Food for Life Canada is an Ontario-based food bank that primarily collects dairy, meat, and produce from grocery stores and restaurants and redistributes the food to local organizations and citizens in need.

Doctors Without Borders Canada

Cause: International Aid

Headquarters: Toronto (International programming)

Founded: 1991

Website: msf.ca

Impact: High

Cents towards cause: $0.81 of every dollar donated

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières Canada (MSF) sends doctors and others with medical experience to 60 countries worldwide, particularly in areas stricken by disasters, wars, and other emergencies.


Cause: Indigenous Students

Headquarters: Ohsweken, ON (Canada-wide programming)

Founded: 1985

Website: indspire.ca

Impact: High

Cents towards cause: $0.76 of every dollar donated

Indspire supports Canadian Indigenous post-secondary students, helping them to get to graduation; only 10% of Indigenous students complete post-secondary degrees, while 27% of non-Indigenous students do.

World Animal Protection

Cause: Protecting Animals

Headquarters: Toronto (International programming: Africa; Asia; Europe; North and Latin America)

Founded: 1980

Website: worldanimalprotection.ca

Impact: N/A

Cents towards cause: $0.74 of every dollar donated

World Animal Protection’s programs include education and awareness campaigns.

Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation

Cause: Childhood Cancer

Headquarters: Toronto (Canada-wide programming)

Founded: 2003

Website: ctcacf.org

Impact: N/A

Cents towards cause: $0.74 of every dollar donated

Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation is public foundation that fundraises for charities that support children with cancer and their familes.

Aunt Leah’s

Cause: At-Risk Youth

Location: New Westminster, BC (Local programming)

Founded: 1988

Website: auntleahs.org

Impact: High

Cents towards cause: $0.71 of every dollar donated

Aunt Leah’s focuses on foster-care children at risk of becoming homeless as they age out of the system, as well as mothers at risk of losing custody of their children. The organization offers four main programs: education and employment, food security and health, housing, and life skills.


Cause: Education

Headquarters: Toronto (Canada-wide programming)

Founded: 2002

Website: jumpmath.org

Impact: Very High

Cents towards cause: $0.62 of every dollar donated

JUMP Math teaches math to children (Kindergarten to Grade 8) using creative approaches to education and cognitive science. The organization also offers training programs for teachers and provide research for math education.