Should we incorporate?

This page may help you decide whether or not you should incorporate.

It takes time, money, and energy to get and keep corporate status, so you should think very carefully about whether incorporating is right for you.

Do we have to incorporate?
No.
According to Ontario’s Incororator’s Handbook (Section 1.3), there is no legal requirement to incorporate. Many community groups are able to pursue their mission without incorporating.

What are the pros and cons of incorporating?
Ontario’s Incorporator’s Handbook (Section 1.3) discusses the pros and cons of incorporating.

Is there an organization with a mission similar to ours?
There are over 55,000 nonprofits in Ontario. Joining one with a similar mission will avoid duplicating work and allow you to learn from its experience.

Do we have the resources to maintain corporate status?
It takes time, energy and money to keep records, minutes of meetings, hold member and board meetings, and do what is required to maintain corporate status.

Do we have any alternatives?
Yes.

If you’d like the benefits of having corporate status, but don’t have the resources, or don’t want to devote the resources needed to incorporate, you can consider using a shared platform. See Ontario Nonprofit Network’s Shared Platform Guidebook to learn more about what shared platforms are and when they are helpful.

There are many other ways nonprofit projects can be structured too. Learn more about the alternatives here.

What’s next?
Speaking with a lawyer may help you decide whether or not to incorporate. If you decide to incorporate in Ontario, these are your next steps.

Reviewed: August 2017