Looking after the needs of the poor, the sick, the widows, and orphans is one of the primary tasks of the Church. It is also recognized by the Canadian government as one of it's distinctive charitable purposes and contributions to society.
Below are some quotes taken from information bulletins of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC) that are helpful in understanding how CRA views the Benevolence ministry of the church:
The purpose of the benevolence program should be consistent with the charitable purposes and objects of the ministry as outlined in the charity’s governing documents. The main purpose of a benevolence fund should be to further the work of the church. Some ministries have designed their benevolence fund policies to support their community outreach programs.
Benevolence programs must be based on helping the poor and needy in the community and not just members of the local church. To be legitimately charitable under the ITA, all activities undertaken by a charity must be available to a wide enough segment of the public to qualify as public benefit. If a church restricts benevolent assistance only to members, the church is conferring a benefit on members by virtue of their membership.....Churches may not be required to advertise the existence of such funds, but their availability must be generally known to all those attending the church, whether members or not.
Helping the needy is ALL good and an acceptable activity of the Church!
The CRA does however place some limitations for giving to individuals in need. These are mostly influenced by charitable receipting guidelines and the Income Tax Act (ITA) which applies to all Canadian citizens: