Social enterprise – Do definitions matter?
It is essential to note that ‘social enterprise’ is not defined within Canada’s Income Tax Act. There is no certification or other program to enable a venture to be officially deemed a social enterprise.
There is, however, a legal structure in British Columbia which has been expressly designed as a ‘container’ for social enterprise. That said, the Community Contribution Company (C3) is not the best choice for all ventures, and adoption of a different legal structure than the C3 does not negate its identity as a social enterprise. There are around 50 C3’s registered in BC. The option has been available since 2013.
The introduction of a second purpose-built social enterprise structural option is also in the works for BC: the Benefit Company.
Click here to view a slideshow called The Structure Shop, reviewing options for structuring a social enterprise in Canada.