University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

site header

Gift Acceptance Policy

Original Approved: November 1997

Procedures Revised: February 1999

Full Review: November 2002

Approved by the Board of Trustees December 2002

Amended May 2012



Queen's University welcomes donations, which enable it to fulfill its mission of teaching, research, and community service.  This Policy is intended to guide the employees, volunteers and Board of Trustee members of Queen's University on matters of gift acceptance.

Through the promotion of voluntarism and philanthropy, the Office of Advancement1 supports and coordinates both central and faculty/school-based fundraising support to assist the University in achieving its philanthropic goals.  Federal and provincial governments encourage charitable donations to organizations such as Queen's University, and allow substantial tax benefits to donors.

The significance of these tax laws makes it an important obligation of the University to record and acknowledge all eligible gifts received. The Office of Advancement is solely responsible for issuing official charitable receipts for the eligible amounts of all charitable gifts received by Queen's University consistent with the requirements of the Canada Income Tax Act, Canada Revenue Agency guidelines and in accordance with procedures established by the University.

Queen's University at Kingston is a registered charity under the Canada Revenue Agency. Its registered charitable number is 10786 8705 RR0001.


a. Ensure that informed decisions are made on the acceptance of gifts and that such gifts are receipted in accordance with the requirements of the Income Tax Act.
b. Ensure that efficient administrative, legal and accounting practices and procedures are followed.
c. enable accurate reporting of gifts to Queen's University and its affiliated organizations2
d. ensure consistent relations with donors


In order to ensure that this Policy continues to be effective, it shall be reviewed periodically. The Office of Advancement is responsible for initiating this review (every 5 years minimum).

Back to Top

3.  SCOPE 

3.1 This Policy is established to govern the acceptance of all gifts made to Queen's University and any of its affiliated organizations whether such gifts are considered outright or deferred.


4.1 Queen's University holds itself to the highest standard of ethical conduct, both within its own community of scholars, students and employees and in all of its external relationships and interactions - with alumni, friends and donors, with businesses and commercial enterprises and with other external organizations.  The University will not accept gifts, enter into relationships, or accept external support that could reasonably compromise its public image, reputation or commitment to its academic mission and values.
4.2  Queen's University values and will protect its integrity, autonomy and academic freedom, and will not accept gifts when a condition of such acceptance would compromise these fundamental principles.
4.3 All employees, volunteers and members of the Queen's community will conduct themselves in accordance with accepted professional standards of accuracy, truth and integrity.  They will inform, serve, guide and otherwise assist donors who wish to support Queen's activities but will not pressure or unduly persuade.

Queen's University may elect to accept or decline any gift.  The final decision to decline a gift rests with the Board of Trustees.  Queen's University reserves the right to decline a gift in any circumstance, including:

  1. the gift does not accord with the University's objectives;
  2. the gift exposes the University to liability or unacceptable risk;
  3. the donor applies unacceptable restrictions or conditions on the gift;
  4. the gift will be difficult to administer;
  5. the gift may have come from illegal activities;
  6. the gift is precedent setting or involves sensitive issues;
  7. the gift could improperly benefit any individual;
  8. the gift violates the Ontario Human Rights Code and relevant University policies on Equity and Human Rights;
  9. the gift does not comply with the Canada Income Tax Act and Canada Revenue Agency guidelines;
  10. the gift could reasonably compromise the University's public image, reputation or commitment to its academic mission and values.
4.5 In accordance with CRA guidelines, the University will typically not accept gifts that would require the University to give special consideration for employment to the donor, or to anyone designated by the donor, or that would allow the donor to inappropriately influence student admission, teaching, learning or scholarship of a student, professor or program.  In addition, the University will not accept gifts that give special consideration to the procurement of products or services associated with the donor.
4.6 Acceptance of any gift which involves a proposal to name is conditional upon the final approval of the naming by the Board of Trustees.3



4.7.1 The Vice-Principal (Advancement) is responsible for ensuring that acceptance of donations is consistent with this Policy and other policies of the University. The Vice- Principal (Advancement) shall seek the approval of the Board of Trustees before accepting any gift where consistency with this Policy is in question.
4.7.2 The Office of Advancement, under the direction of the Vice-Principal (Advancement) or designate, has the authority and responsibility to develop operational policies and procedures, including documentation standards, to support the solicitation, review, acceptance, receipting and recognition of gifts to Queen's University. All policies and procedures, whether current or emerging, will be periodically reviewed and approved by the Advancement Committee of the Board of Trustees and senior officials of Queen's University. 
4.7.3 The Board of Trustees authorizes the Vice-Principal (Advancement) or designate, to establish and chair the Advancement Gift Review Committee to consider gifts that are not specifically covered by this Policy or may be of potential concern. In addition, the Committee will review gifts of real estate, charitable stock options, private shares and those with special considerations. The Committee will include members of the Advancement Leadership Team with input from other University staff who have a vested interest in each specific case under review.
4.7.4 There is the potential for emerging gift types that have aspects or characteristics that do not conform to this Policy. Under these circumstances, the Office of Advancement may recommend the establishment of specific policies for these gifts, or conduct an individual review on a case-by-case basis through the Advancement Gift Review Committee. The decision to accept or decline new gift types rests with the Board of Trustees. Case-by-case decisions will not be considered precedent setting.


Gift Agreements

Back to Top

4.8.1 Where appropriate, gift agreements will be recorded between the donor and Queen's University. All gift agreements that are created external to the University will be reviewed by the University's legal counsel where deemed appropriate by the Vice-Principal (Advancement).


Restricted and Unrestricted Gifts

4.9.1 It is possible for a donor to stipulate certain restrictions on a gift or designate it to a specific purpose. The University will review the restrictions in order to ensure that it is able to comply and to clarify its duties in fulfilling the restrictions. The Office of Advancement, in consultation with other University departments, may request that the terms of the gift be revised, be subject to a power to vary, or recommend to the appropriate individual that the gift be declined.
4.9.2 Undesignated gifts shall be used at the discretion of the Principal for such purposes as to best advance the University's mission.


No Advice to Donors


The University does not provide any legal, accounting, tax or financial advice to donors with respect to gifts to the University. Donors are encouraged to seek independent legal, accounting, tax or financial advice from professionals and are responsible for all costs incurred in relation to obtaining such independent professional advice.  The University cannot suggest or endorse a third party as a source of gift advice.  Where necessary, donors will be requested to provide the University with an acknowledgement that:


  1. independent professional advice has been obtained; or
  2. independent professional advice has been waived though recommended by the University; and
  3. the University is released from any liability that may arise in relation to the making of the gift.



The following types of gifts are deemed eligible for acceptance by the University:

  1. outright gifts of cash and cash equivalents;
  2. gifts-in-kind and gifts of real property;
  3. gifts of life insurance;
  4. charitable gift annuities;
  5. gifts of residual interest;
  6. securities (public and privately held, charitable stock options);
  7. charitable trusts;
  8. bequests.


6.1 Accepted gifts to the University are eligible for an official charitable donation receipt.   The official charitable receipt is a statement issued by the University that complies with Canada Revenue Agency guidelines on receipting.  Charitable tax receipts for Queen's University shall be issued solely by the Office of Advancement, through the Gift Services office.
6.2 Eligible amounts for receipting purposes for all gift types will be done in accordance with Canada Revenue Agency regulations and administrative guidelines.
6.3 The Office of Advancement will ensure that Canada Revenue Agency regulations are followed so that the University's charitable status is maintained.


APPENDIX ONE: Glossary of Key Terms

Gift:  A voluntary transfer of cash and kind, from individuals, industry, foundations and other sources to the University for either unrestricted or restricted utilization in the operation of the University.

Eligible amount:  The amount by which the fair market value (FMV) of the gifted property exceeds the amount of an advantage, if any, in respect of the gift.

Restricted/designated gifts:  The donor has specified where in the University the gift is to be directed.

Unrestricted/undesignated gifts:  The donor has not specified where in the University the gift is to be directed.

Securities:  Gifts of privately or publicly held shares or charitable stock options.

APPENDIX TWO: Related Policies

Queen's University: The Control and Use of the Charitable Registration Number (PDF*, 70 KB)

Queen's University's Naming Policy

Gifting of Securities (PDF*, 32 KB)

1 Departments within the Office of Advancement:  Vice-Principal's Office, Development, Alumni Relations, Marketing and Communications, Advancement Services.

2 These include the Crown Foundation at Queen's University at Kingston and the U.S. Foundation for Queen's University at Kingston.

3 In the case of named academic appointments (i.e. Chairs, Professorships), or named awards, (i.e. scholarships, prizes), details of the terms of reference, including namings, are approved by the University Senate. If the University Secretary (whose role includes Secretary of the Senate, Secretary of the Board of Trustees, and Secretary of the University) identifies a concern with respect to a proposed naming, the Secretary shall refer the matter to the Board of Trustees for a final decision.


Back to Top