The Freedom to Care Act took effect on September 1, 2021. It supports the province’s recovery as non-profits provide critical programs and services in our communities by:
- making it easier for non-profits to identify and access existing exemptions to regulations
- creating a process for non-profits to apply for one-time, short-term exemptions from regulations – if an exemption does not already exist
- introducing new liability protections for volunteers who are acting in good faith within their scope of duties (see Definitions section)
Under the Freedom to Care Act:
- Cabinet (through an Order in Council) can now grant one-time, short-term exemptions for non-profits from Government of Alberta regulations intended for business, where an exemption does not already exist
- the Minister of Culture and Status of Women is now required to report annually to Cabinet on exemption applications that cannot be addressed through existing processes or legislation
- individual volunteers are now protected from liability claims, if certain conditions are met, through ‘volunteer liability protections’ (see Definitions section)
There are several definitions that relate to the Freedom to Care Act:
The Freedom to Care Act defines non-profit as those with a charitable purpose, operating primarily for public benefit. ‘Charitable purpose’ includes not-for-profit activities that are:
- benevolent, philanthropic, civic, educational, humane, religious, cultural, artistic, recreational or environmental
- associated with health, welfare, sport or tourism
Scope of duties
A scope of duties is a detailed, clear description of a volunteer’s role and responsibilities. It explains a volunteer’s specific tasks, including:
- work/duties they will perform
- any authorizations, licenses, training or requirements for that work to be completed
- where, when, how and with whom the work will happen
- what will be out of scope for the role/duties
A volunteer is someone – including directors, officers and trustees – who is not provided compensation for their role in a non-profit, apart from being reasonably reimbursed for their expenses.
Volunteer liability protections
Under the Freedom to Care Act, ‘volunteer liability protections’ refer to how volunteers are now protected from liability claims as long as they are:
- acting in good faith within their scope of duties
- not causing harm or damage as a result of:
- wilful, reckless or criminal misconduct
- gross negligence
- operating a motor vehicle
- being unlawfully impaired by alcohol or drugs when the harm or damage occurred
Submit questions about the Freedom to Care Act,
exemptions to regulations and managing volunteers.
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