The legal aspects of running a nonprofit are complex and may be daunting. If not attended to, legal compliance challenges may have significant and severe implications for your nonprofit.
IntegralOrg has services and resources that can help with legal issues. A great place to start is a free legal clinic to help you understand the legal issues and point you in the right direction
A free legal clinic is a very helpful option if you have a nonprofit legal question. In a legal clinic, you can chat with a lawyer with decades of experience in the nonprofit sector about your issue.
You might have questions like:
To arrange a legal clinic, give us a call at 403-910-7279, connect by email, or use the Contact Us form and we will arrange a phone or virtual meeting with a member of our team.
If you have a need for in-depth solutions IntegralOrg can work directly with your nonprofit. We work alongside your organization, through customized supports that assist you on your own journey as a nonprofit. Please contact us at 403-910-7279 or connect by email. Organizational development is undertaken on a fee-for-service basis.
Legal issues that your nonprofit might want help with range from incorporating your nonprofit or registering as a charity to issues with bylaws, policies, or mergers.
If your organization would like to solicit donations and issue tax receipts, you will want to register it as a charity. IntegralOrg can help you through the registration process, including application, filing, and working with CRA on your behalf. If your organization is a registered charity, we can assist with a review, revision, and filing of your charitable purposes and other documents.
Many nonprofits choose to incorporate because doing so limits liability, formalizes structure, and provides opportunities for funding.
There are three main legislative Acts that a nonprofit can be incorporated under when operating in Alberta: the Alberta Societies Act, the Alberta Companies Act, and the Canada Not-for-Profit Companies Act. Organizations can also be incorporate under the Cooperatives Act.
IntegralOrg can complete the incorporation process including application, preparation and submission of bylaws, and obtaining and submitting NUANS report.
If your organization is to be incorporated under the Societies Act or the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, you are required to create and file bylaws. Bylaws are the fundamental governing rules and regulations of an organization that state how the organization is governed and can include: introductory articles; details about membership; procedural rules for meetings and voting; governance structure including the board of directors, officers, and committees; management, finances, and records; and how fundamental changes to the organization or its bylaws will be handled. Bylaws and changes to bylaws need to be filed with the appropriate agency.
IntegralOrg can assist with review of existing bylaws, updating or drafting of new bylaws, and filing.
Nonprofit governance policies can include: governance style; role of the board, board members, and ED/CEO; delegation of authority; code of conduct; board orientation and training; board committees; financial governance; reporting; etc.
IntegralOrg can review and update your existing governance policies and manuals and identify gaps or help you develop a board policy manual.
IntegralOrg can guide nonprofit organizations through the process of combining or dissolving.
Nonprofit organizations may decide that they want to seek out other organizations to “get together" with to maximize impact. A combined organization may have more capacity in vital resources like knowledge, programming, staffing, volunteers, fundraising, and service ability.
In an amalgamation, two or more organizations join together by bringing their assets and liabilities and members into the new organization that they become. In a merger, one organization winds up its affairs and transfer its assets to another already existing organization. In a consolidation, all the nonprofit organizations involved transfer assets to a newly created entity. For all of these processes, legal guidance is imperative. See our blog: Getting Together: What Alberta Nonprofits Need to Know about the Legal Apsects for more detail on what is entailed.
Finally, you may wish to dissolve your nonprofit organization. Perhaps the need that the nonprofit filled has become less acute over time or other organizations have stepped in to fill the need. The process of dissolution, what happens to the assets of the organization, and other matters related to dissolution are complex and it is important to seek legal advice.
Lobbying for Nonprofits and Charities: A video and resources about what nonprofits and charities need to know when lobbying across Canada. Many nonprofits and charities in Canada are involved in lobbying – some without even knowing it! This toolkit will help you learn what lobbying is, what activities are considered lobbying, and how to be compliant with lobbying laws - including whether or not you need to register as a lobbyist. The webinar recording disucsses how to lobby effectively.
Grants to Grantee Organizations: A document and checklist about changes to the Income Tax Act regarding grants to a grantee organization. The toolkit explains recent amendments to the Income Tax Act to allow a charity may choose to advance their mission by making grants to “grantee organizations” even though these organizations are not themselves registered charities.
For the nonprofit and charitable sector in Alberta, advocacy can be a crucial component of trying to influence different levels of government and make lasting change in our society. However, for many nonprofit leaders, the political landscape can be complicated, confusing, and inaccessible. During this webinar, you'll hear from Yvonne Chenier, an experienced nonprofit legal specialist, and, Aileen Burke, a lobbying professional from Alberta Counsel. This webinar was presented on April 27, 2023. Video link.
This webinar addresses some of the common pitfalls that can result in costly problems for charities and nonprofit organizations including: common mistakes and resource draining practices in charities and nonprofits dealing with employment law; key considerations for organizations with employees or volunteers who work with vulnerable people; key HR management strategies in addressing working retention; and best practices and common pitfalls in the application of employment standards. This webinar was presented on October 13, 2022. Video link.
This interactive session for nonprofit board members and leaders covers: Sources of risk for directors; the obligation to manage risk to the organization and personal risk; and risk avoidance, mitigation, and management. David Sevalrud, partner at Carscallen LLP, presents, alongside moderator Yvonne Chenier of IntegralOrg. This webinar was presented on November 17, 2022. Video link.
IntegralOrg offers workshops on legal issues and other topics important to nonprofits including INTEGRALIntro introductory workshops.
Starting a Nonprofit: Forms and steps for incorporating a nonprofit company or society from the Government of Alberta.
Register a Charitable Organization: Information on why and how to register from the Government of Alberta.
Drafting and Revising Bylaws for Not-for-profit Organizations in Alberta. Government of Alberta.