Miller Thomson’s Social Impact Group is the largest national team of legal experts in Canada dedicated to helping charities, non-profit organizations and social enterprises meet their legal needs and accelerate their social impact. Clients from philanthropic foundations to active charities to member-based associations depend on us to deliver strategies that propel them ahead of changing regulations, effectively address general legal issues, and design innovative structures that unlock sustainable new sources of revenue. The Social Impact Group offers unmatched experience and expertise across Canada’s voluntary sector and beyond. Our forward-looking advice helps clients anticipate and address all manner of legal issues and position themselves for long-term impact and success.
We offer services in both English and French and our clients range from national and international charities and non-profit organizations to social enterprises of all shapes and sizes. They include universities, colleges, schools, religious institutions and groups, hospitals, social agencies, environmental groups, member-benefit organizations, social clubs, trade and professional associations, and social housing organizations. Our lawyers are voluntary sector experts with front-line experience helping organizations achieve their mission.
The Social Impact Group offers clients a value-added approach catered to each organization’s needs. Whether advising on tax compliance strategies and structures for charities and non-profits operating across multiple jurisdictions, helping to secure and structure mission-related investments, or restructuring charities and non-profits to generate revenue from innovative sources, we have the specialized knowledge and experience needed to help organizations achieve a sustainable long-term advantage.
Nationally, we help our clients:
- Incorporate in jurisdictions across Canada
- Comply with annual corporate requirements – meetings, minutes, and filings
- Consider and implement governance and by-law changes
- Anticipate and resolve corporate governance issues and disputes
- Plan and execute corporate integrations and restructurings
- Protect against liabilities
- Conduct internal compliance audits and advise on risk management
- Obtain charitable status
- Comply with Income Tax Act (Canada), Taxation Act (Quebec) as well as Canada Revenue Agency and Revenue Quebec requirements
- Understand provincial laws on investments, privacy and fundraising
- Harmonize foreign and domestic operations of registered charities
- Maximize the impact of fundraising and gift agreements
- Engage in social enterprise and social finance
- Create governance and operational policies dealing with issues such as investments, gift acceptance, and conflicts of interest
- Address general legal matters, including real estate, employment, health law, charitable gaming, education law and intellectual property needs
- Provide direct advocacy support on complex matters
Our national team has delivered value-added legal counsel in a variety of recent engagements, including:
- Establishing new organizations and working with them through the startup phase
- Advising small and large charities and not-for-profit organizations under Canada Revenue Agency audit
- Merging chapters of national organizations into one entity
- Advising social entrepreneurs on mixed purpose structures
- Drafting agreements to structure collaborations between organizations
- Establishing relations between Canadian charities and affiliated foreign charities
- Advising advocacy organizations on political activity limits
- Restructuring the governance of a long standing non-profit to meeting changing needs
Susan Manwaring on federal panel of charitable sector experts reporting to Minister of National Revenue
Susan Manwaring served on the five-member Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities that presented its report to the Minister of National Revenue at the end of March 2017, following extensive consultations with the public and the charitable sector. The report...
Miller Thomson to release comprehensive Federal Budget review on March 22
Our in-depth analysis of the Federal Budget will be released later this week. Corporate tax lawyers Ron Choudhury and Rahul Sharma, and Social Impact lawyer Nicole D’Aoust will be at budget lock-up in Ottawa on March 22 to bring you the latest tax measures...
New edition of Essential Law for Social Work Practice in Canada
Miller Thomson’s National Health Industry Group is pleased to announce the third edition of Essential Law for Social Work Practice in Canada. Individuals who need social work services have problems that are complex and multifaceted. To best serve their clients,...
Miller Thomson partners on first federally-funded social impact bond
On October 28, 2016, Canada’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Jane Philpott MP, along with Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (“HSFC”) and MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, announced Canada’s first ever federally-funded social impact bond (“SIB”). A SIB is...
Susan Manwaring named to federal panel examining political activities of charities
Susan Manwaring, lead of the national Social Impact group, has been named to the consultation panel that will make recommendations to Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier in order to clarify the rules governing the involvement of registered charities in political activities. The panel,...
Susan Manwaring discusses social enterprise with Innovation Works
Susan Manwaring, national lead of the Social Impact group, is interviewed by Innovation Works about her practice and trends in social enterprise. Read the interview: Social Enterprise – Susan M. Manwaring Gives Perspective
Susan Manwaring interviewed on social impact bonds for Canadian Press
Susan Manwaring leads the Social Impact group at Miller Thomson and helped set up the first social impact bond in the country. In the article, she comments that: “the biggest barrier to expanding the community financing initiative in Canada is...
Susan Manwaring discusses social impact bonds on Business News Network
In the segment, she offers tips and what investors need to know about social impact bonds. Watch the video: Harnessing the power of private capital for social good
Susan Manwaring comments on social impact bonds
In an article published in the National Post on June 30, 2016, Susan Manwaring discusses the upcoming launch in Ontario of social impact bonds, a fixed income security which combines a financial return with a social return. She comments “investors are interested in knowing that...
Miller Thomson renames national practice group to reflect advanced social sector expertise
Click here to see the press release
Miller Thomson lawyers speak at Law Society’s Business Law Summit
Jennifer Babe chairs the Law Society’s 7th Annual Business Law Summit at which she will present her paper on Business Law Reform in Ontario. Natasha Smith speaks on Social Enterprise and Social Financing.
Robert Hayhoe speaks on Charity and Not‐for‐Profit Law
Robert Hayhoe will be presenting on “Ethical Issues for Lawyers Sitting on Charitable or Not-for-Profit Boards” at the 2017 OBA Institute.
Rachel Blumenfeld chairs CALU Associate Member meeting
Susan Manwaring speaks on donor issues at CAGP course
Susan Manwaring presents “Emerging Donor Issues” at the Advanced Canadian Gift Planning Course for the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP).
Andrew Valentine speaks on legal developments in gift planning
Andrew Valentine speaks on “Recent Legal Developments in Gift Planning” at the Canadian Association of Gift Planners’ National Conference.
Susan Manwaring speaks on alternative financing for charities
Her presentation is for the Canadian Council of Christian Charities 2016 conference.
Susan Manwaring speaks on social impact bonds
Susan Manwaring co-presents with Grant Monck at the CAGP National Conference on “Social Impact Bonds: A Creative Tool for Advisors, Charities and Government”.
Susan Manwaring and Martin Rochwerg speak on estate and tax planning
The 2016 Guide to Complex Issues in Estate and Tax Planning is presented by Osgoode Professional Development. Susan Manwaring speaks on “Charitable Donations: What You Need to Know”. Martin Rochwerg is Program Co-Chair.
Susan Manwaring speaks on social enterprise
Susan Manwaring presents “Social Enterprise: Rethinking Your Organizational Structure” at the CPA Not-for-Profit Financial Executive Forum.
Susan Manwaring lectures on risk management
Susan Manwaring is an instructor for Imagine Canada’s Standards Program Coach Certificate Course in collaboration with Carleton University.
( Available in French only )
Ce que les OBNL doivent savoir sur les taxes foncières et les exemptions
Le groupe Impact social de Miller Thomson vous invite à son deuxième déjeuner-conférence d’une série de quatre. Date : Jeudi 4 mai 2017 Horaire : 8 h à 9 h Réservation obligatoire par courriel : email@example.com L’appellation « Organisme à but non lucratif » (« OBNL ») n’est pas...
Cybersecurity: Trends and Advice for Charities and Not-for-Profit
Miller Thomson’s Social Impact Group launches its series of breakfast seminars specifically targeting charities, non-profit organizations and social enterprises. Join us for the first breakfast on cybersecurity. **Please note this seminar will be delivered in French. Date: Wednesday, April 5,...
The New Societies Act in British Columbia: What You Need to Know
On November 28, 2016, the new British Columbia Societies Act comes into force. Our Social Impact Group presents a complimentary seminar where we discuss what you need to know about the new Act, highlight some of the significant changes, and ensure...
New Corporate Structures for Achieving Social Impact
Susan Manwaring speaks on “New Corporate Structures for Achieving Social Impact” at the 2013 Social Enterprise World Forum in Calgary.
Charities Law Update
Miller Thomson hosts a breakfast seminar covering: Canada’s new anti-spam legislation New CRA rules on political activities for registered charities Update on CRA’s Non-Profit Organization Risk Identification Project BC’s Community Contribution Company legislation – in force July 29, 2013 Location...
Charities & Not-For-Profit Update
Miller Thomson hosts a breakfast seminar outlining updates in the Charities and Not-for-Profit sector.
Review of the Budget 2011 Proposals
The Miller Thomson Charities Group hosts a breakfast seminar reviewing Budget 2011 proposals. This is a repeat of our June 9, 2011 seminar.
Pastors – People – Protection
Robert Hayhoe, Carol VandenHoek and Sheldon Wood speak on issues affecting churches at a seminar entitled “Pastors – People – Protection.”
Charities and Not-for-Profit Sector Developments
Miller Thomson’s Charities and Not-For-Profit Group presents a review of the Budget 2011 proposals. Topics are as follows: The CRA’s New Governance Powers Implications of the Return of Gifts Proposal for Charities and Donors Death of Publicly Listed Flow-throughs as...
A Year in Review
Miller Thomson’s Charities Group presents “A Year in Review” covering developments of the past year and how they will shape 2011.
Social Finance, Enterprise and Innovation
What are we talking about? A young woman is talking about her new innovative idea and setting up a social enterprise. She goes on to say she has a charitable foundation that wants to invest! This has led to questions about...
The New B.C. Societies Act: What You Need to Know
Miller Thomson seminar
Overview of Record Keeping Obligations for Non-Profit Organizations and Registered Charities
While non-profit organizations and charities are usually busy carrying out the purposes of their organization, record keeping often takes a back seat to other priorities. However, good record keeping practices by a non-profit organization or a registered charity should not...
CRA Revises Position on the Retention of Church Envelopes
As a condition of charitable registration, charities are required to keep proper books and records. This requirement not only enables the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) to audit charities efficiently, but it also ensures that charities are able to justify and...
Michael Walker is presenting at a course entitled “Community Land Trusts for Affordable Housing” at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver on September 9, 2016. David Tang and Andrew Valentine will be attending the not-for-profit section of American Bar Association Business...
New Case Law Dealing with CRA Requests for Documents
On June 3, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada released two important decisions dealing with requests made by the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) for information. The cases highlight the fact that when an individual or an organization receive such a request...
Court Orders Not-for-Profit Corporation to Revise Proxy Form
In an important decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released on August 4, 2016, the Ontario Medical Association (“OMA”) was ordered to revise the contents of a proxy form it circulated to its members in advance of a...
New Tools for Greater Public Access to Information about Charities
In June 2016, the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) introduced two new web forms that give the public much greater access to information about Canadian charities by allowing individuals to make online requests for documents and information from CRA: Charities Listings request...
Ontario Ministry of Finance asks Charities to Review Significant New Proposals
The Ontario Ministry of Finance has announced that it is reviewing a new regulation under the Employer Health Tax Act (the “Act’) that it says will clarify how the employer health tax (“EHT”) applies to Canadian registered charities with employees...
Brendan Burns and Sarah Fitzpatrick are presenting to the Burnaby Board of Trade regarding “BC Societies Act Changes Update: What It Means for Your Organization” on August 10, 2016. Susan Manwaring was interviewed on the Business News Network (BNN) regarding “Harnessing the...
Christian Horizons and Menno Homes amalgamate
Counsel to Christian Horizons