Non-profit organizations need to be aware of the framework of laws that govern what they can do and how they must do it. There are external rules (such as legislation) created by government, and internal rules (such as bylaws, policies and procedures) created by the non-profits.
Become familiar with your non-profits incorporation legislation – external rules
You are required to meet the rules and responsibilities set out for your organization based on its incorporation legislation. Below is a list of the various acts and legislations that non-profits may have been incorporated under.
- Agricultural Societies Act
- Business Corporations Act – Part 21 – Extra-Provincial Corporations
- Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, and registered under Business Corporations Act
- Cemeteries Act
- Cemetery Companies Act
- Companies Act, Part 9 (Non-profit Companies)
- Foundations established and regulated under the province’s Regional Health Authorities Act
- Libraries Act
- Registered charity under the Income Tax Act and operating in the province of Alberta
- Religious Societies Land Act, Part 2
- Societies Act
- Special Act of the Alberta Legislature
- Special Act of the Parliament of Canada
Organizations must also fulfill their annual requirements as outlined in their incorporation legislation and the annual requirements may vary by legislation.
If you are unclear as to which legislation your organization is incorporated under, you can access this information from your organization's incorporation records, by searching the Alberta Non-Profit List or you can visit any corporate registry and request the information about a current or formerly registered organization.
Other legislation non-profits need to be aware of
There is additional legislation applicable to non-profits beyond their incorporating legislation. Depending on context, non-profits may need to comply with laws related, but not limited to, the following areas:
- Income tax for examples, non-profit tax exemptions
- employees and volunteers
- plus, any other applicable legislation specific to your organization
Be familiar with your non-profit’s internal rules
Non-profit organizations must also follow internal rules set by the non-profit itself. The names of these particular internal rules will depend on your incorporation legislation. Examples of internal rules for a non-profit incorporated under the Societies Act include the organization’s objects, bylaws, policies, procedures and customs.
Non-profit board governance training
Access free non-profit board training to help you learn to navigate your organization’s legal landscape at the Non-Profit Learning Centre. Enroll in the Board Development Program (BDP), ‘Understanding Your Legal Landscape’ webinar and the other non-profit board governance training that is all available free-of-charge.
Connect with us if you have questions or comments for the various non-profit programs and services. See our contact page for details.