The Brits have been shaking things up across the pond and some Canadian provinces have decided to follow suit and develop their own legal frameworks for social entrepreneurship.

Recently, BC and Nova Scotia have passed legislation similar to the UK model of the Community Interest Company or CIC. The goal is to create a new kind of nonprofit/for-profit hybrid so that doors are open to private investors while ensuring that the benefit and assets of the company stay public. If you’re interested in learning more, take a look at Charity Village’s great article about these changes.

British Colombia

Finance Statutes Amendment Act – Launching this spring, Canada’s west coast a social enterprise will be known as a Community Contribution Company or 3C. Since the project is still new policy makers are still undecided as to whether profits will be limited either by a cap or maximum percentage when it comes to dividends and asset sharing.

Nova Scotia

Community Social Interest Companies Act – Soon Nova Scotians will be able to combine good deeds with good investments. Nova Scotia has decided to follow the UK model more closely, using the same name, Community Interest Company or CIC, and a profit cap instead of percentage.

Ontario

Not-for-Profit Corporations Act – This legislation will be coming into effect in July of 2013 giving Ontarians the opportunity to create Public Benefit Corporations. Public Benefit Corporations will be similar to 3Cs and CICs with greater freedom to generate income than a nonprofit and restrictions on the distribution of a corporation’s property.

What does this mean for foundation funding?

It seems that most foundations look for traditional non-profit status when considering grant recipients, but these changes are quite recent. Foundations will need time to decide what kinds of organizations can qualify for grants.

That said, there are already some innovative grants for youth in Social Enterprises, from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and enp-BC.

Ashoka, a not-for-profit organization from the United States has been leading the way in funding and support for social entrepreneurs. They offer three year fellowships including living stipends so that social entrepreneurs can focus on developing their project.

With the many possibilities that these structures are opening up, it is an exciting time to be a non-profit or a foundation.