Charities and tax exempt organizations

The lawyers in the Charities and Tax-exempt Organizations Group are recognized by the not-for-profit sector across Canada for their expertise in assisting charities, non-profits and other tax-exempt organizations. What sets our team apart is our focus and our deep understanding of the sector’s unique issues and regulatory requirements. Our group includes a number of lawyers who practice full time and exclusively in the area of charity and not-for-profit law. We serve clients in all areas of the sector, including health care, education, social services, arts and culture, faith-based and environmental organizations. Over the years, we have played a major role in the creation and ongoing management of some of Canada's most important, and successful, charities.

Our group has also developed a unique and respected practice advising tax-exempt professional associations, colleges and regulatory bodies across a variety of professional disciplines, including architecture, engineering, medicine, accounting and organized real estate.

Our lawyers are regularly asked to provide advice on matters related to the establishment, administration and regulation of charities, foundations and other not-for-profit and tax-exempt organizations. We advise directors, trustees and managers on operational and administrative matters such as fiduciary duties, accounting requirements, Income Tax Act compliance and various regulatory issues. We also assist not-for-profit organizations to carry out commercial and restructuring transactions, from real estate development, asset purchases, corporate reorganizations, amalgamations and mergers, as well as creating subsidiary and parallel organizations as needed to carry out operations effectively.

Our team also provides advice to donors and high net worth individuals in relation to their personal philanthropy and planned giving to registered charities. Whether a client chooses to create a private foundation or to make a charitable gift through a will, our lawyers will ensure that the client's philanthropic intentions are carried out in the most tax efficient way.

As the not-for-profit sector seeks alternate sources of revenue to replace finite government funding, the need for informed counsel becomes critical. Our team has built a reputation for understanding the issues in this area and identifying innovative solutions. Our clients rely on our knowledge of the legal and regulatory environment and trust our experience in overcoming difficult issues to achieve results.

Rankings and accolades

  • Chambers Canada, Nationwide: Charities/Non-profits, Chambers and Partners, 2018

Select client work

  • Retained to establish the Pacific Carbon Trust, a Crown Corporation responsible for purchasing and creating a market for carbon offsets to allow the Province of British Columbia to become carbon neutral.
  • Incorporation, structuring advice and ongoing counsel to the Aqueduct Foundation, a public foundation which facilitates planning of significant philanthropic gifts using donor-advised funds
  • Advising the Vancity Community Foundation, a public foundation that makes grants to charitable organizations, with an innovative focus on affordable housing and homelessness, community asset building and social enterprise.
  • Incorporation, charitable registration and ongoing counsel to the Stephen Lewis Foundation which provides community-level support to try to turn the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa by providing care and support to women, orphans, grandmothers and people living with HIV and AIDS.