Many non-profits and charities are not aware of the charitable fundraising regulations in Alberta. If a non-profit or charity is fundraising in Alberta and meets specific criteria under the Charitable Fundraising Act (the 'Act'), it may need to be registered. Generally, if a Canadian non-profit or charity intends to raise or raises more than $25,000 in Alberta from individuals in a financial year then the non-profit or charity would need to register under the Act.
These criteria are set out below (we have provided an excerpt of the Act):
Application of Part 1 4(1)
This Part applies only to the following solicitations and the solicitations described in subsection (2):
(a) solicitations made by a fund-raising business;
(b) solicitations made by a charitable organization that uses a fund-raising business to make solicitations on its behalf or to manage or be responsible for solicitations made by or on behalf of the charitable organization;
(c) solicitations made by a charitable organization in its financial year if the charitable organization intends to raise, as a result of those solicitations, gross contributions of $25 000 or more from persons in Alberta during that financial year.
(2) Regardless of a charitable organization’s intent, if a charitable organization in its financial year raises, as a result of solicitations, gross contributions of $25 000 or more from persons in Alberta, this Part applies to solicitations made by the charitable organization from the time it reaches $25 000 in gross contributions until the end of that financial year.
The Service Alberta website states the following:
The Act applies to any incorporated or unincorporated organization that is formed for a charitable purpose. It applies even if the organization is incorporated under the Societies Act or registered with Canada Revenue Agency (Revenue Canada).It also applies to any person asking for contributions to be used for a charitable purpose or charitable organization, even if that person is not connected to any charitable organization. A charitable purpose includes any philanthropic, benevolent, educational, health, humane, recreational, religious, cultural or artistic purpose.
The Alberta charitable fundraising regulation also sets out specific information registered entities must be disclosing when seeking contributions in Alberta.
Service Alberta has an online searchable database which is accessible the public to determine whether or not a registration has been completed. For those non-profits or charities that are not registered but are meeting the thresholds of the Act with their solicitations, then they should obtain registration. Our firm provides assistance to our charity and non-profit clients with these types of registrations.
Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?
Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.