Social Enterprise & Social Finance

As one of Canada’s leading law firms in charity & not-for-profit law, Carters advises charitable and non-profit organizations, as well as social entrepreneurs looking to make a positive impact in the community by serving social purposes that go beyond financial returns.

Carters has extensive experience advising international, national and regional charities, not-for-profits, and for-profit hybrid corporate structures and mandates aimed at social good, and assists clients who engage in social enterprise and social finance with all legal aspects of incorporation, tax, governance, financing, including funding arrangements and sustainability performance goals.

Carters provides an integrated approach that combines our expertise in other areas of law, including charity & not-for-profit law, business, privacy, intellectual property, Information technology, risk management and litigation, in order to adapt our legal solutions to the innovative approaches to social enterprise envisioned by our clients.

Social Enterprise

The meaning of “social enterprise” varies and has evolved over time, depending on the context in which this term is defined. In general, a social enterprise can be understood as an organization that uses a business management approach to generating revenues with a social purpose. 

A social enterprise can be organized as a charity or not-for-profit, which can be structured as trusts, unincorporated associations, or corporations, usually as non-share capital corporations. A social enterprise can also be organized as a for-profit corporation with a governance structure defined by its social purpose. British Columbia and Nova Scotia have a special legislative framework for social enterprises. The choice of structure will depend on many factors, including the purposes of the proposed organization, how the organization plans to raise funds, and the tax regime governing the organization. 

Social Finance

Social finance refers to investments intended to create a measurable social impact while at the same time generating financial returns. Other terms often used in this context are socially responsible investing, impact investing, and social investing. However, each term also refers to particularly different contexts.

Social finance encompasses the perspectives of the organization or persons raising capital for a social purpose as well as the perspectives of organization or persons, including government, providing social finance capital. A key element of any social finance arrangement is the manner in which the mandate to achieve the social purpose is adopted, implemented, and measured.

by Terrance S. Carter, STEP National Conference, June 15, 2021.
by Terrance S. Carter at the Humanitarian Response Network Thematic Meeting on Localization held on May 17, 2021.
Presented by Terrance S. Carter at The 2021 Charity & NFP Law Seminar.
By Terrance S. Carter and Luis R. Chacin, Charity & NFP Law Bulletin No. 455, October 29, 2019.
Speaking Engagements
Presented by Terrance S. Carter at CAGP 28th National Conference on June 15, 2022.
Presented by Terrance S. Carter as part of the Carters/Fasken Healthcare Philanthropy:Check-Up 2021 on September 22, 2021.
Presented by Terrance S. Carter at the CPA Not-for Profit Forum 2021 on Tuesday February 9, 2021.