Miller Thomson has one of the most sophisticated charities and not-for-profit practices in Canada. We provide voluntary sector organizations with legal services designed to meet all of their needs. We advise Canadian and International organizations on all aspects relevant to their activities including, tax, regulatory matters and cross border funding. We offer these specialized services in both English and French.
The members of our group have expertise in the particularly complex regulatory income tax regime under which our clients operate. The role we assume is either that of a General Counsel (available to provide an organization with access to a broad range of services and support from other key practices at Miller Thomson), or that of a Special Counsel who provides specialized charity law assistance together with the organization’s usual legal counsel. Our lawyers represent charities successfully in contentious CRA audits. We write text books on charity law, including tax and other regulatory regimes. We also present at all major Canadian legal and sector conferences on charities and not-for-profit issues. Our lawyers are active in government relations on behalf of the charities and not-for-profit sector.
We offer 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:
- Comply with Income Tax Act (Canada), Taxation Act (Quebec) as well as Canada Revenue Agency and Revenue Quebec requirements
- Conduct internal compliance audits and advise on risk management
- Understand provincial laws on investments, privacy and fundraising
- 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
- Obtain charitable status
- 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:
- Advising small and large charities and not-for-profit organizations under Canada Revenue Agency audit
- Establishing new organizations and working with them through the startup phase
- 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
Miller Thomson earns top rankings in Chambers Canada 2019
Miller Thomson earned a top “Band 1” ranking for two practice areas in the 2019 Chambers Canada Guide. Our Charities and Not-For-Profit group is regarded as being “leaders in the charitable sector,” and praised for their ability to “help find solutions in complex situations.” Our Agribusiness group...
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...
Sarah Hansen, Troy McEachren and Kristina Shaw named 2018 Zenith Award winners
Miller Thomson Partners Sarah Hansen, Troy McEachren and Kristina Shaw are recipients of the 2018 Lexpert Zenith Awards celebrating Mid-Career Excellence. The Zenith Awards recognize lawyers across the country who excel in their area of law and in social responsibility....
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...
Miller Thomson earns top rankings in Chambers Canada 2018
Miller Thomson earned a top Band 1 ranking for two practice areas in the 2018 Chambers Canada Guide. Our Charities and Not-For-Profit group is regarded for “its novel and innovative approach to complex matters arising within the charitable and non-profit market,”...
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...
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,...
Natasha Smith speaks at the CAGP’s 26th National Conference on Strategic Philanthropy
Natasha Smith speaks at the CAGP’s 26th National Conference on Strategic Philanthropy on the topic of, “Creative Solutions to Fortify Your Succession Plan: A Consideration of How to Retain and Best Utilize Young Talent From The Next Generation” on April...
Robert Hayhoe and Natasha Smith present at the OBA Charity Law Primer
Robert Hayhoe co-chairs the OBA Charity Law Primer and will also speak on the topic of “Your First Opportunity to Sit on a Charity Board”. Natasha Smith speaks on the topic of “Process for Incorporating an Organization or Not-for-Profit Company”...
Mary Childs speaks at Vantage Point program on not-for-profit advocacy
Mary Childs speaks at Vantage Point’s Board Chair Breakfast series, presenting “A Conversation on Not-for-Profit Advocacy”.
Natasha Smith chairs and David Tang speaks at the OBA Institute seminar on Charity and Not-for-Profits Law
Natasha Smith will be chairing the OBA Institute 2019 “Privacy, land development, and other key updates in charity and not-for-profit law” seminar on February 5, 2019. David Tang will be speaking on the topic of “Land Development Issues for Charities...
Miller Thomson at the CTF Annual Tax Conference
Our Tax lawyers speak at the Canadian Tax Foundation’s 70th Annual Tax Conference: On November 24, Catherine Brayley is a guest speaker at the Board of Governors Mentorship Dinner Gala. The dinner is an opportunity for young tax practitioners to...
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”.
Social Impact Breakfast Seminar
Miller Thomson is hosting a complimentary breakfast seminar presented by the lawyers from our Social Impact group, who will discuss general best practices for nonprofits and charities operating in Saskatchewan, as well as cover recent developments in the voluntary sector...
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 : firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
2019 Federal Budget Edition
Introduction The Federal Budget was tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau on March 19, 2019 (the “Budget”). The Budget focuses on the government’s spending priorities for 2019 and into the future. The investments proposed in the Budget will create new...
2019 Miller Thomson Federal Budget Review
With the tabling of its federal Budget (“Budget 2019”), the Federal Government (the “Government”) has renewed its commitment to “investing” in the Canadian middle class (and in those aspiring to join the middle class). On the tax side, the Government...
Ontario Gaming Regulator Launches Phase Two of Electronic Raffles Roll-Out, Offering Increased Fundraising Opportunities for Licensed Non-Profits
On January 18, 2019, the Government of Ontario announced changes to its raffle licensing framework, which provides more options and greater flexibility to Ontario charities and religious organizations wishing to fundraise through online raffles. This is in line with the...
Ark Angel Foundation v. M.N.R. – The Federal Court of Appeal Speaks Again on Books and Records Requirements
There has been much discussion in recent years about the audit process used by the Charities Directorate and the rules of the Income Tax Act (Canada) (the “Act”) as they relate to the onus on charities when responding to appeals...
Robert Hayhoe spoke on February 8, 2019, as part of a panel on topic “ Critically Assessing Recent Developments” as part of The Past, Present and Future of Charities and Political Activities at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at...
Major Developments In Political Activities Rules For Canadian Charities
The Exempt Organization Tax Review, January 2019, 31-38
Robert Hayhoe and Natasha Smith author an article discussing current law governing Canadian charities’ political activities. Read the article (by subscription only)
From Charity to Social Impact
Lexpert Magazine February 2019 Issue
Canadian society has long viewed charities (and other non-profit) organizations as being a wholly different category from businesses, sometimes called the “third sector” However, recently, we have begun to focus more on social purpose and social impact as goals, and...
Returning Funds to Donor: Doukhobor Heritage Retreat Society #1999 v. Vancouver Foundation
In the case Doukhobor Heritage Retreat Society #1999 v. Vancouver Foundation, the British Columbia Supreme Court considered whether a permanent fund established by a charity, the Doukhobor Heritage Retreat Society #1999 (the “Society”), at the Vancouver Foundation, a community foundation,...
Recent Court Decisions Address Requirement to Provide Membership Lists
Two recent decisions of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice shed light on how courts will interpret the requirement under corporate legislation to furnish members with a membership list upon request. Under the Ontario Corporations Act, any person may request...
Susan Manwaring will be speaking on Social Impact at the HEC Montreal Business School on February 11, 2019. Mary Childs will be speaking at a Vantage Point Seminar, which Miller Thomson LLP is sponsoring, for the Board Chair Breakfast Series...
Health minister announces groundbreaking federally-funded social impact bond
Counsel to Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Christian Horizons and Menno Homes amalgamate
Counsel to Christian Horizons