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As a not for profit organization, we know you face many challenges from raising funds to operate your organization to execute your mission. We are here to help you navigate the requirements of being a not for profit organization in Alberta. That means we can help you navigate the Societies Act of Alberta and ensure you retain your charity status as a not for profit organization

Non-Profit Law

Societies, charities and nonprofit organizations can include many different types of organizations, such as churches, recreational clubs, community groups, professional or industry associations, patient advocacy groups, special interest groups, and many more.

Legally, there are 2 main types of organizations in Canada: registered charities and non-profit organizations.

Registered Charities

Registered charities are charitable organizations, private foundations or public foundations that use their resources for charitable purposes. An accepted charitable purpose falls into one or more of these categories.

  • Poverty relief
  • Education advancement
  • Religion advancement
  • Community benefit

Non-Profit Organizations

The goal of a non-profit organization is different from businesses or corporations. Whereas corporations are designed to make money (profit) for its stakeholders, the primary goal of non-profit organizations cannot be generating profit. Instead, these organizations focus on other goals such as social welfare, civic improvement, or recreation.

Depending on what type of organization, there are different Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and tax requirements.

In Alberta, you can incorporate your organization as a private or public non-profit or a society.

A non-profit lawyer can help explain the process for each type of registration and incorporation, what the benefits and drawbacks are, and advise you on what the best option is in your case.

Our Services For Nonprofits and Charities

Any nonprofit organization can benefit from the legal service of a law firm that is experienced within this unique and complex sector.

Perhaps you are considering starting a nonprofit organization or charity? Maybe you need legal help with a specific issue, or would like to get legal advice on how to optimize your organization’s governance and fundraising efficiency? No matter where you are at, our legal team is well-versed in Canadian and Alberta non-profit law and can help your nonprofit with any type of legal issue.

Our legal team can draw from their extensive experience from other practice areas such as tax law and corporate law to provide your organization with the best, most comprehensive legal advice.

Incorporation

Our legal team can ensure that your organization is set up correctly and is off to a good start.

  • Provincial or federal incorporation
  • Apply for charitable status
  • Obtaining tax-exempt status

Corporate Governance

We can help you with all aspects of good corporate governance, including how to form a board of directors, drafting policies and procedures, drafting and filing corporate records and bylaws.

We’ll help advise you on risk-management and best practices, including drafting a conflict of interest policy and advising the board on ethics and fiduciary duties.

  • Real estate transactions or leases
  • Contract negotiations
  • Employment law
  • Maintaining charitable registration

Fundraising and Gifts

For charities and nonprofits, access to funds from donations can be an important source of income. Our legal team can help ensure that there are no issues with the transfer of donations and gifts and that you meet all fundraising requirements.

We can also help you with the following legal services.

  • Help you manage the transfer of funds from endowment funds or restricted gifts.
  • Grant-making agreements
  • Establishing charitable trusts

Risk Management and Litigation

For nonprofits and charities, their reputation is one of their most valuable assets. Navigator Law can help your organization prevent any legal issues that might harm your organization’s public image.

Part of our services for nonprofits and charitable organizations is strategic advice to ensure compliance with the applicable regulator frameworks, including CRA compliance.

We will help your organization navigate around risks. Sometimes, legal disputes and conflicts are inevitable. We will provide legal advice to help with pragmatic and cost-effective dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration, and litigation if necessary.

Contact Us

Are you setting up a non-profit or charity? Need help with a non-profit legal issue? Navigator Law offers effective and experienced help for your organization. Call our office to set up an appointment today or learn more about our nonprofit legal services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a non-profit organization need to be incorporated?

No, but it might be beneficial. Similarly to incorporating a business, by incorporating your nonprofit organization, you create a separate legal entity that has many of the same rights and obligations and a person, including buying and owning land, enter into contracts, and sue and be sued

How much does it cost to incorporate a non-profit organization?

In Alberta, there is a $75 incorporation fee for non-profit organizations and a $50 incorporation fee for societies.

What is the difference between a charity and a non-profit organization?

A registered charity is a charitable organization that operates exclusively for charitable purposes and is registered under the Income Tax Act. A registered charity has specific tax benefits and requirements compared to a non-profit organization, for example, income tax exemption.

A non-profit organization can have a purpose other than charity, such as sport, civic improvement, and different social causes.

Can a non-profit organization be a registered charity?

An organization is either defined as a non-profit or charity. A registered charity is a technical description of an organization that is operated for charitable purposes only. If an organization is operating as a charity, it can’t be defined as a non-profit and vice versa.