Charities, Clubs and Not-for-Profit Societies

Charities, Clubs and Not-for-Profit Societies

In Alberta, several pieces of legislation govern private groups, clubs, charities, and societies. It is also possible to operate as an unincorporated group.

Societies Act

All groups which have a “benevolent, philanthropic, charitable, provident, scientific, artistic, literary, social, educational, agricultural, sporting or other useful purpose” can register under this Act. It sets out that these groups can enter into contracts, have bank accounts, and own land. It also sets out the requirements regarding naming, members, branches, as well as winding up the society.

Companies Act

Governs not-for-profit organizations that are engaged in some level of business activity.

Religious Societies Land Act

Allows registration of religious groups and sets out the requirement for these groups to own land.

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act

Similar to the Societies Act and the Companies Act, this Act allows not-for-profit groups to incorporate for any purpose and operate across the whole country.

If your group is a charity, it will have to meet additional requirements:

Charitable Fund-raising Act

Sets out rules for fundraising in Alberta. The Act applies to all charities that raise or plan to raise more than $25,000 from Albertans in a year whether they are registered under the Societies Act or not.

CRA Registry

To qualify as a charity for tax purposes, which allows the group to call itself a “Registered Charity,” and issue tax receipts for donations, an organization must meet requirements established by the CRA. While charities do not pay taxes, they are required to file annual returns.

MHR Law Office is pleased to offer services and advice to existing groups or those wishing to incorporate such a group at discounted rates or pro bono. Call today to set up an appointment with one of our lawyers.

Other Resources

Societies Act
Companies Act
Religious Societies Land Act
Canada Not-for-profit Companies Act
Charitable Fund-raising Act
Service Alberta – Charities and Not-for Profits
CRA – Charities and Giving