8. Not-for-profit organizations

Table of contents


8.1 Non-distinctive names

Many not-for-profit corporations use highly descriptive, almost non-distinctive names. Typically, words like "Canadian" or "National" serve to give the name distinctiveness. For this reason, most not-for-profit names do not deserve a lot of protection. See section 8.5 for amount of protection given.

8.2 Government connotation implied

Because of the nature of the names of not-for-profit corporations, there may be a greater likelihood of name proposals which connote government sponsorship or control. Regulation 17 of the Canada Corporations Regulations will be strictly enforced by Corporations Canada.

e.g. Canadian Association of Postmasters — is not acceptable

8.3 Chamber of Commerce

The term "Chamber of Commerce" is available for use in the name of a not-for-profit corporation with suitable objects.

8.4 Legal elements

The only legal elements which are permitted for not-for-profit corporations are:

  • "Incorporated" or "Inc."
  • "Corporation" or "Corp."

8.5 Not-for-profits and confusion

If the name of a proposed not-for-profit corporation includes a geographical distinctive term and an organizational term as well as other descriptors (e.g., "Canada Ultralight Aircraft Association" or "Canada Dance Foundation") and an existing not-for-profit corporation has the same organizational and descriptive terms with a different geographical qualification (e.g., "Calgary Ultralight Aircraft Association" and "Toronto Dance Foundation") Corporations Canada requires the consent of the existing corporation. Applicants should note that a slight modification of their proposal would probably make it available (e.g., "Canada Ultralight Aircraft Society" or "Canada Dance Funding Society").

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