Not for Profit Law

Equity Housing Co-ops – the Forgotten Cousins

March 24th, 2021 by Celia Chandler

This article was first published in The Co-op Current, by Ontario Co-operative Association.

The neat thing about the co‑operative model and its principles is that you can apply them to just about any endeavour.

We see the third principle, Member Economic Participation, driving large commercial enterprises like Gay Lea Foods Co-operative or Co‑op Cabs in Toronto. We see Autonomy and Independence, principle 4, fueling the workers at Urbane Cyclist in Toronto and Planet Bean in Guelph – both worker co‑operatives. We see non‑profit housing co‑operatives enriched by their Voluntary and Open Memberships, Democratic Member Control, and Concern for Community, principles 1, 2, and 7. Continue reading “Equity Housing Co-ops – the Forgotten Cousins”

Lack of diversity on non-profit boards is rooted in privilege

February 25th, 2021 by Shelina Ali

 

Last December, Statistics Canada undertook a crowdsourced survey of non-profit and charity boards in Canada to assess the diversity of individuals serving on those boards. The survey was completed by 8,835 board members. Of those members who responded, 14 per cent identified as being immigrants to Canada; 11 per cent identified as belonging to a visible minority group; eight per cent identified as LGBTQ2+; six per cent identified as persons with a disability; and three per cent identified as First Nations, Métis or Inuit. Continue reading “Lack of diversity on non-profit boards is rooted in privilege”

Voluntary organizations and member disputes take another trip to the Supreme Court

September 30th, 2020 by Ted Hyland

According to a June 2020 Statistics Canada study, in 2018 more than 12.7 million people in Canada volunteered for charities, non-profits and community organizations, contributing more than 1.6 billion hours. While not all are members of the organizations for which they volunteer, many are.

Under what circumstances does their membership have the legal status that will attract a judge’s jurisdiction and oversight, particularly when there are disputes leading to the expulsion or other discipline of members? This question is again headed to the Supreme Court of Canada for an answer later this fall.

The question is not an abstract one. It involves the interplay between the rights of the members and the discretion of those in charge of the organizations to make decisions that affect their members’ rights. If a member is dissatisfied with the decision, can they go to court?

Continue reading “Voluntary organizations and member disputes take another trip to the Supreme Court”

Free legal webinar series – every Wednesday in May

April 24th, 2020 by Iler Campbell

Every Wednesday in May: Free legal webinars for co-op & non-profit housing, employers and small business.

We know that COVID-19 has brought new challenges, including many legal ones.  We know too that the old legal challenges are all still there. Finally, we know that organizers of all in-person conferences and workshops have cancelled them for the foreseeable future.  The need to learn, however, has not stopped.

We’re here to help.

Join us in May every Wednesday at noon for a free legal webinar series. Continue reading “Free legal webinar series – every Wednesday in May”

Ontario government passes emergency order allowing virtual meetings and AGM extensions for non profits (but not for co-ops)

April 9th, 2020 by Claudia Pedrero

UPDATE: this order has been extended to co-ops and condo corporations. See our update here.

Last week the provincial government passed an emergency order giving Ontario non‑profits some much‑needed flexibility during this challenging time.

Unfortunately, this order does not extend to Ontario co‑operative corporations, so organizations governed by the Co‑operative Corporations Act need to adhere to the rules in that legislation and their by‑laws on when and how to hold meetings. The housing co-op world is still recommending as they did in the March 24 communique from CHFT.

The government passed an emergency order under section 7.1(2) of the Corporations Act that temporarily suspends various sections of that legislation and substitutes the following new rules that affect non‑profits: Continue reading “Ontario government passes emergency order allowing virtual meetings and AGM extensions for non profits (but not for co-ops)”

Canada’s social economy about to get a boost, but problems remain

February 7th, 2020 by Brian Iler

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Canada’s social economy — those social enterprises (nonprofits, charities and co-operatives) that generate income in pursuit of social goals instead of profit — is about to get quite a boost.

Quietly, but thoughtfully and effectively, the federal government has initiated and funded, with serious money, a brand-new program creating the Social Finance Fund, to drastically expand the social economy.

This year, $50 million is flowing, and is set to quickly increase to $75 million per year for the next 10 years.

The fund is intended to address a major impediment to growth of the social economy — the shortage of investment capital.

While the private sector readily raises millions through Bay Street’s financial institutions, social enterprises don’t attract their interest. Instead, to be successful, social enterprises rely heavily on the communities they serve for financial support. And that often isn’t enough.

Hence the fund.

The creation of the fund was one of 12 recommendations in support of social innovation and social finance made to the federal government made in August 2018 by a steering group broadly representative of social economy organizations. Continue reading “Canada’s social economy about to get a boost, but problems remain”