Social Enterprise

With the triple hit of the pandemic, declines in donations, and declines in funding, nonprofit organizations have had to review their options for remaining sustainable, including considering social enterprise (some sort of business or commercial activity that financially supports their mission.)

Because there are numerous risks involved in social enterprise, it is important that your organization starts its social enterprise the right way, with a full understanding of the legal and regulatory environment. IntegralOrg has a number of resources for nonprofit organizations to tap into.


Social Enterprise Legal Structures Toolkit

IntegralOrg has created the Social Enterprise Legal Structures Toolkit to guide Alberta organizations and entrepreneurs interested in developing a social enterprise through the decision-making process of selecting a legal structure.

Because there are numerous risks involved in social enterprise, it is important that your organization starts the right way, with a full understanding of the legal and regulatory environment.  Through this assessment, you will be guided through a series of questions about what kind of organization you have, how it is structured, and what you want to accomplish through your social enterprise. Your answers will bring you to a result - a suggested legal structure.

In addition to the assessment, the toolkit contains definitions of key terms, case studies, and resources to assist with your understanding of important concepts and deepen your educational experience.  

INTRO to Social Enterprise: Which legal structure should we choose?
Thursday, June 9, 1-2pm, with Yvonne Chenier

INTEGRALIntros are free webinars about topics of interest to nonprofits.

This INTEGRALIntro provides a brief introduction to social enterprise and then will focus on possible legal structures.

Is your nonprofit or charitable organization interested in starting (or has it already started) a social enterprise?

This session provides an overview of social enterprise and the legal regulations on social enterprises imposed by the Income Tax Act, CRA-related business rules for charities, and the most common nonprofit statutes (Societies Act, Companies Act, CNCA), for nonprofits and charities operating in Alberta.

Examples of real-life social enterprise models will be discussed and there will be a demonstration of IntegralOrg's Social Enterprise Legal Structures Toolkit.

Yvonne Chenier is a lawyer and philanthropy consultant – and co-founder of IntegralOrg. Yvonne brings more than 35 years of experience helping those in the philanthropic, nonprofit, and social enterprise sectors as general legal counsel and as an advisor on planning, organizational, regulatory and governance matters. Yvonne speaks frequently on behalf of IntegralOrg to various groups on topics ranging from legal and financial matters to Occupational Health and Safety. Yvonne is an active member of the executive of the Charities and Nonprofit Section of the Canadian Bar Association and is past Chair of the both the Alberta and National Sections. She is named in The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory* for excellence in Charity Law and has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in Canada for her work in Charities/Nonprofit Law.


Start Your Social Enterprise the Right Way: A Panel Discussion about Social Enterprise and the Legal and Regulatory Environment

This engaging panel discussion - held on May 6, 2021 - shares how organizations can structure social enterprises and the lessons established social enterprises have learned along their journey. 

Event moderator, Kristina Roberts, IntegralOrg’s Legal Initiatives Manager, is joined by panelists Yvonne Chenier, IntegralOrg co-founder and a charity and nonprofit lawyer with over 40 years of experience; Jane Bisbee, the Executive Director of the Social Enterprise Fund which provides financial support (in the form of loans) to organizations across Alberta that are developing a social enterprise; Kate Beneteau, Director of Finance with Chrysalis: An Alberta Society for Citizens with Disabilities; and Diane Hodgins, CFO of Shorefast, the organization behind a series of innovative community development projects on Fogo Island, Newfoundland.

We invite you to watch the recording of this informative event. 

Blogs about Social Enterprise

Shape-Shifters: What happens when social enterprises need to change their legal structure? Kristina Roberts, April 28, 2021

An overview of the structural options for social enterprises in Alberta  Kristina Roberts and Yvonne Chenier, April 12, 2021

A social enterprise journey: Two Wheel View  IntegralOrg: March 29, 2021

Is social enterprise a game-changer for Alberta nonprofits?  Kristina Roberts, March 9, 2021