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 Revenu Québec 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 to appear before special Senate committee on charitable sector
Social Impact group lead Susan Manwaring has been invited to appear before the special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector. The Committee is specifically looking into the funding of the charitable sector with a focus on new sources of funding...
Miller Thomson lawyers recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada 2019
In the just released 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada, 144 Miller Thomson lawyers from across the country have been recognized for their expertise in 47 areas of law. This includes 6 lawyers who were awarded “Lawyer of the Year” in...
Miller Thomson recognized in 2018 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
In the recently released 2018 edition of the Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, 90 Miller Thomson lawyers across 35 areas of law have been recognized for their industry-leading advisory expertise. These rankings are the culmination of an extensive annual peer review process...
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,...
Miller Thomson renames national practice group to reflect advanced social sector expertise
Click here to see the press release
Special Edition: MT Federal Budget Review
Miller Thomson’s Tax Group has written a comprehensive review of the 2016 Federal Budget. Our tax lawyers provide insightful review of the Federal Budget’s impact on such issues as International Tax, Business Income Tax, Personal Income Tax, Charities and Not-for-Profit...
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.
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.
Andrew Valentine speaks on charity law
Andrew Valentine is a speaker at the Ontario Bar Association’s Institute 2016 program on “Current Need-to-Know Topics in Charity Law”.
Recent Developments for Charities and Not-for-Profits
Miller Thomson’s Social Impact Group invites you to a complimentary seminar on recent developments and legal updates in the voluntary sector where we will discuss: Federal Update – What’s New? Rules for Directors of Societies and Co-operatives BC Budget –...
Charity Advocacy and the Canada Revenue Agency. Where Are We Now?
Miller Thomson’s Social Impact Group invites you to its next breakfast seminar at our Montréal office. Topic discussed: The Canada Revenue Agency invited a group experts to make recommendations on changes that could be implemented to the rules that apply to activities...
Where’s Grandma’s Monet? Advising the Older Donor
Miller Thomson’s Social Impact Group invites you to its next breakfast seminar at our Montréal office. Come learn more and exchange on ethical and legal issues with vulnerable donors. Topic discussed: The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the...
( 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.
Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Common Interest Privilege Rule
The Supreme Court of Canada recently rejected a leave application of the Canada Revenue Agency, meaning the much heralded decision in Iggillis Holdings v Canada (MNR), 2018 FCA 51 is good law. Confirmed is the Federal Court of Appeal’s conclusion...
Outsourcing – Increasing the Odds of Success and Avoiding Common Pitfalls
Outsourcing a function of your organization may make sense – perhaps you have difficulty in retaining or hiring the talent required to meet all of your organization’s needs, or perhaps your team is overworked and the organization could benefit from...
Karima Kanani will be speaking to the Halton Nonprofit Network on Corporate Governance Issues in Burlington, ON November 29, 2018. Sandra Enticknap, QC will be presenting at the STEP Conference entitled Tips, Trap, Trends, and Techniques in Charitable Giving, on...
A Triumph of Administrative Law: 2018’s Supreme Court of Canada Religious Freedom Cases
2018 was touted as the year the Supreme Court of Canada would consider how religious freedom should be valued as a right guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court rendered three highly anticipated decisions which...
Legal Cannabis is Here – Are Your Workplace Policies Up to Date?
After months of anticipation, on October 17, 2018, Canadians awoke to legal cannabis. Have your workplace policies been updated to reflect this new legal reality? Each province and territory has enacted legislation providing for a variety of models for retail...
Our Social Impact group will be presenting complimentary seminars in Saskatoon on November 6 and Regina on November 7 covering general best practices for non-profits and charities, as well as recent developments in the voluntary sector that may impact organizations...
Co-operatives as Charities and Not-for-profits
Co-operatives are legal entities owned and run by, and for, their members. There are over 9,000 co-operatives in Canada, with over 18 million members. Most of them operate businesses. Not all of them are business enterprises – many co-operatives are...
Corporate Checklist: How to Hold an Annual Meeting
Each year, non-share capital corporations incorporated under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (Canada) (the “Act”) must either hold an annual membership meeting or, if the membership is small, pass resolutions signed by all voting members in lieu of holding a...
Mary Childs presented at the BOSS conference, Vancouver’s annual conference for leaders in the not-for-profit sector; co-presented a workshop on “Navigating the world of risk and insurance: not-for-profit edition” on September 28, 2018. Mary Childs will be speaking on the...
Special Announcement: Social Impact Group Ranked Band 1 in Chambers for Second Year in a Row!
Miller Thomson’s Social Impact Group is proud to announce that it has received Band 1 (highest) ranking in the 2019 Chambers Canada Guide for the second year in a row in the area of Charities/Non-profits. This is the second year that Chambers has released...
Christian Horizons and Menno Homes amalgamate
Counsel to Christian Horizons