How can I start an NGO in Canada?
December 12, 2003 2:29 PM   Subscribe

How can I start an NGO in Canada?
posted by hoder to Work & Money (3 answers total)
I'm peripherally involved in a start-up NGO. I'm not so good on the mechanics/legalistics, but I can tell you some things that smoothed our path:

-you need to be able to make the case that nobody else is addressing the need you are seeking to fill (or, if they are, they're not adequate, or are not enough on their own)

-credibility and accountability are key, so try to get a known personality or institution involved. If you can get someone(s) really well known to be on your board, so much the better.

-Institutions or organizations involved in similar activities may also be willing to lend various sorts of support. (e.g., in our case, we aren't registered yet as a charity, but we're affiliated with a hospital, which will issue tax receipts to donors.)

-Consult a lawyer who is experienced in not-for-profit enterprises, to make sure you don't screw up in terms of liability, taxes, etc.

All that having been said, there are many sorts of NGOs that vary with regard to their degree of formality (legally registered? bricks and mortar? ad hoc committee?) so YMMV. Any more specifics you want to give us?
posted by stonerose at 2:52 PM on December 12, 2003

BTW, I notice you're in Toronto and interested in 'net censorship. You should talk to my pal Ron Deibert, who teaches in the poli sci dep't at UofT. Check out one of his activities here. His coordinates are under 'contact info.' He's very big on civil society, and extremely helpful.
posted by stonerose at 2:58 PM on December 12, 2003

What are you really trying to accomplish? In the United States, at least, you become an NGO by calling yourself an NGO - I imagine that it's much the same up north. Now if you want to be tax exempt, or if you want donors to be able to donate tax exempt, or something like that, there are more specific rules.

There is also an international directory of NGO's published each year. I can dig up the contact information if you'd like your organization to be listed.
posted by gd779 at 7:28 PM on December 12, 2003

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