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Charities and Non-Profit Law

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Our Charities & Non-Profit group has a long history of assisting charities and donors. We act for hundreds of charities and non-profit organizations (NPOs) including hospitals, healthcare service agencies, professional governing bodies and associations, community service agencies, "disease" charities, universities, colleges, arts organizations, registered Canadian amateur athletic associations, private schools, children's camps, religious organizations, environmental groups, private foundations and community foundations.

Our expertise extends to all areas of charity and non-profit law both in Canada and abroad and falls into the following general categories.

Charitable Giving

Philanthropy can be an important part of a legacy for many—through charitable gifts either to existing charities or to charities created to meet their specific objectives. We provide advice and work with high net worth individuals to develop:

  • Charitable giving plans
  • Legal frameworks for the creation, organization and ongoing administration of philanthropic work
  • Planned giving arrangements
  • Donor advised funds

Creation of Charitable Entities and Non-Profit Organizations

We routinely work with founders to create entities (corporations and trusts) and assist in obtaining their charitable status (as a charitable organization, a public foundation or a private foundation) or organizing their affairs so they qualify for non-profit status. We work with the founders to ascertain their objectives and their vision for how the entity will be resourced and governed. With that information, we structure vehicles and develop appropriate documentation. We also work with provincial and federal regulators. We advise on:

  • Incorporation/formation and organization of entities
  • Charitable applications
  • Directors' and trustees' duties and obligations
  • Members' rights
  • Board policies

Advice to maintain Charitable and Non-Profit Status

Charities and NPOs have unique operations and tax considerations. We work with existing charities and non-profit organizations to assist them in maintaining their tax status by providing advice on topics such as:

  • Fundraising strategies and related compliance matters
  • Relationship (or association) agreements, services agreements, agency agreements and other agreements between charities
  • Investment powers and legal obligations relating to the investment of charitable assets including investments in start-ups and related entities
  • Compliance and regulatory issues pertaining to disbursement quota rules
  • Carrying on activities outside of Canada
  • Conflict of interest issues including direct or indirect compensation to Directors and Trustees
  • Conducting political activities and lobbying
  • Carrying on ancillary activities or social enterprise activities
  • Charitable gaming


We have extensive experience assisting charities, non-profit organizations and donors with litigation and dispute resolution. Our experience includes:

  • Advising and representing donors and donees in litigation arising from wills
  • Disputes between donors and donees concerning the enforceability of gifts
  • Defence and administration of charitable bequests

General Advice

Charities and non-profit organizations need general advice too—the same kind of advice that other organizations and businesses require. We provide that advice every day, considering the unique requirements of and concessions made to these special entities including as it pertains to:

  • Labour and Employment Law
  • Corporate law (including fundamental changes such as mergers, acquisitions and wind-ups)
  • Commercial law (contractual arrangements with IT and other providers)
  • Intellectual property (trade-marks, patents, etc.)
  • Privacy
  • Real Estate
  • Taxation (including in addition to the above: municipal property tax, excise tax (GST/HST/QST), land transfer tax)
  • Litigation (including in addition to the above: claims arising from employee fraud and defence of sexual abuse allegations)



Client Work

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