Top charities and not-for-profit lawyers in Canada

Lexpert reveals the top charities and not-for-profit lawyers in Canada based on the results of our expansive yearly peer review. Check out the complete roster of the nation’s most recommended lawyers and law firms in the field on our practice area rankings list.

In our survey, charities and not-for-profit law involves several legal specialties, including corporate, trusts and estates, real estate, taxation, employment and general business law. It involves the representation of organizations such as public and private foundations, community trusts, cultural and performing organizations, educational and health care institutions and other tax-exempt entities on matters ranging from obtaining charitable registration status from the Canada Revenue Agency, issues of corporate governance and planned giving, tax planning and compliance with applicable provincial and federal statutes and regulations.

Most frequently recommended charities and not-for-profit lawyers

Terrance S. Carter

Law firm: Carters Professional Corporation


Year called to the Bar: 1980
City: Toronto, ON

Terrance S. Carter is the managing partner of Carters Professional Corporation. He is considered as a top lawyer in charity and not-for-profit law and is a frequent speaker on topics about the practice. He has also co-authored several books, including Corporate and Practice Manual for Charitable and Not-for-Profit Corporations published by Thomson Reuters and Branding and Copyright for Charities and Non-Profit Organizations published by LexisNexis. Carter is also a co-editor of Charities Legislation & Commentary (LexisNexis), contributing author to The Management of Nonprofit and Charitable Organizations in Canada (LexisNexis) and of editor of Charity Law Bulletin, along with several websites. Carter is a member of the Canada Revenue Agency’s advisory committee on the charitable sector, past chair of the charity and not-for-profit sections of both the Canadian Bar Association and the Ontario Bar Association and member of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Canada. He is also a registered trademark agent.

Linda J. Godel

Law firm: Torkin Manes LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1989

City: Toronto, ON

Linda J. Godel is a partner and the chair of the not-for-profit and charities group at Torkin Manes LLP. She provides advice to local, provincial, national and international organizations covering a wide range of disciplines. Her clients include professional associations, self-regulated bodies and other organizations in fields such as religion, health, education, social services, poverty, childcare, athletics and recreation. Godel acts as external general counsel to numerous not-for-profit organizations, both charitable and non-charitable. She advises organizations in the third sector on structuring and restructuring matters, corporate governance, by-law interpretation, director and member disputes, directors’ and officers’ liability, compliance issues, cross-border and international relationships, social enterprise, investments, and gifting, endowment and fundraising issues. Godel is a frequent speaker and writer on topics pertinent to the voluntary sector. She is a member of the executive board of various committees of the charities and not-for-profit law section of the Canadian Bar Association and a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada’s not-for-profit governance committee.

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Robert Hayhoe

Law firm: Miller Thomson LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1998 (ON); 2006 (BC)

City: Toronto, ON

Robert Hayhoe is a partner at Miller Thomson LLP. He devotes his practice to providing tax and general counsel advice to Canadian and international charities and non-profit organizations. Hayhoe is an expert in cross-border tax rules for Canadian charities. He also provides CRA audit representation to charities and non-profit organizations involved in difficult situations. Hayhoe has authored many charity law articles and is a primary co-author of Thomson-Carswell's Charities Taxation, Policy and Practice loose-leaf service. He presents frequently on Canadian charity law subjects across Canada and internationally. Hayhoe is a member of the charities law section of several organizations, including the CBA, OBA, ABA, Canadian Tax Foundation and Canadian Association of Gift Planners.

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M. Elena Hoffstein

Law firm: Miller Thomson LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1980
City: Toronto, ON

M. Elena Hoffstein is a lawyer at Miller Thomson LLP, specializing in in all areas of estate and family business succession planning, corporate reorganizations and pre- and post-mortem planning. She advises on cross-border and international matters, wills, trusts and marriage contracts. Hoffstein is also considered a leader in charity law, advising both charities and donors on effective legislative, tax and regulatory matters and on tax-effective charitable gifting. She also represents clients in contentious and non-contentious estate litigation matters. Hoffstein assists with will challenges, mental capacity matters, applications for advice and direction of the court and the passing of fiduciary accounts. Hoffstein has published extensively and is a frequent speaker at the Canadian Tax Foundation, Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners conferences, the Law Society of Ontario, OBA and Canadian Association of Gift Planners. She has also received the OBA’s Award for excellence in trusts and estates.

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Susan M. Manwaring

Law firm: Miller Thomson LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1985

City: Toronto, ON

Susan M. Manwaring is a partner and the national leader of the charities and not-for-profit group at Miller Thomson LLP. Her practice focuses on providing tax, corporate and general counsel advice to Canadian and international social enterprises, charities and not-for-profit organizations. Manwaring is an expert in complex issues and provides sophisticated advice on social enterprise and social finance issues. She also assists clients undergoing tax audits and on other regulatory matters. Manwaring is a member of the Canada Revenue Agency panel on political activities of charities. She speaks regularly at seminars on current legal issues within the charities and not-for-profit sector. Manwaring is also the chair of the executive of the CBA charities and not-for-profit section, director of the Pemsel Case Foundation and member of the technical issues working group at CRA. She is a co-editor of the Philanthropist and a member of the global affairs Canada external advisory committee for the Partnership for Gender Equality.

Margaret H. Mason

Law firm: Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1986

City: Vancouver, BC

Margaret H. Mason is a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP. She provides counsel to a wide range of not-for-profit organizations and charities. Mason has more than 30 years of experience working with the voluntary sector and is a frequent writer and speaker both nationally and regionally. Her practice spans a broad range of issues that affect charities and not-for-profits, including tax exempt status, governance, international programs and social enterprise. Mason represents organizations across the sector, including family and corporate foundations, religious organizations, healthcare, education, sport, international aid, research and social services. She assists charities and not-for-profits with their corporate structuring, charitable registration and regulatory compliance issues, and has extensive experience with governance and social enterprise. Mason provides general commercial advice to not-for-profits and charities. She also advises donors on their philanthropic planning and has extensive experience with trust and estate-related matters, both within Canada and overseas. Mason currently serves as the chair of the board of directors of Imagine Canada, treasurer of the British Columbia Law Institute and chair of the 2010 Games Operating Trust.

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David P. Stevens

Law firm: Gowling WLG


Year called to the Bar: 1982

City: Toronto, ON

David P. Stevens is a partner in Gowling WLG’s Toronto office. He specializes in taxation law, with a focus on corporate and international tax planning, personal and private company tax planning, trust taxation and charities. Stevens’ corporate tax practice involves advising clients on corporate finance, reorganizations and mergers and international tax planning. His personal tax, charities and not-for-profit practice focuses on business succession planning, estate planning, family trusts, offshore planning, private foundations and charities compliance and outbound and inbound international tax planning. Stevens was a law professor at the Faculty of Law at McGill University from 1982 to 2000.

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Consistently recommended charities and not-for-profit lawyers

Michael P. Blatchford

Law firm: Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP


Year called to the Bar: 2009

City: Vancouver, BC

Michael P. Blatchford is a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP. He works with not-for-profit organizations, social enterprises and the third sector. His clients include non-profits and registered charities operating across Canada in healthcare, education, social services, arts and culture, environment and recreation. Blatchford also assists regulatory bodies, associations, clubs and faith-based organizations. He provides strategic legal advice to clients in governance, tax and corporate matters and in complex structuring and commercial transactions. Blatchford also assists clients with charitable registration and helps not-for-profits carry out their activities while complying with legal obligations. He represents organizations in interactions with corporate and tax regulators. Blatchford has deep experience advising social enterprise and social-purpose businesses and on the structuring of social or affordable housing developments by non-profits. He also advises charities and donors on tax-effective philanthropy and complex donations and assists organizations on conducting complex or contentious meetings using standard or customized procedural rules. Blatchford is a frequent speaker on a wide variety of legal issues in the sector.

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Theresa L.M. Man

Law firm: Carters Professional Corporation


Year called to the Bar: 1997

City: Orangeville, ON

Theresa L.M. Man joined Carters Professional Corporation in 2001 and became a partner in 2006. She specializes in charity and not-for-profit law. Man advises on charity and non-profit matters, including incorporation, reorganization, amalgamation, asset merger, restructuring, corporate governance, multiple corporate structures, affiliation and association agreements, dissolution, gift planning, facility and property use, fundraising, non-profit organization operations and tax status. Man is a co-author of Corporate and Practice Manual for Charitable and Not-for-Profit Corporations published by Thomson Reuters. She has also written on charity and taxation issues for various publications, including The Lawyers Weekly, The Philanthropist and Charity Law Bulletin. Man is the chair of the CBA’s charities and not-for-profit law section. She has been a speaker at various seminars, including the Annual Church and Charity Law Seminar and seminars hosted by the CBA, OBA, Canadian Association of Gift Planners and Canadian Society of Association Executives.

Troy McEachren

Law firm: Miller Thomson LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1999
City: Montréal, QC

Troy McEachren is a partner at Miller Thomson LLP. He is an experienced estate and trust lawyer. McEachren boasts extensive expertise in civil, common and tax law. He devotes his practice to tax and estate planning, family business succession planning, wills and trusts and corporate reorganizations. McEachren provides counsel to private clients, businesses, investment groups, trust companies and philanthropists. He also advises institutional and individual trustees and fiduciaries in the estates, trusts, tax planning and charities areas. McEachren is often involved in multijurisdictional legal and tax issues. He represents charities and not-for-profit organizations on a wide range of issues, including relations with tax authorities, corporate governance, planned giving and commercialization activities.

Victoria Prince

Law firm: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG)


Year called to the Bar: 1987

City: Toronto, ON

Victoria Prince is a partner and the national leader of the charities and not-for-profits group at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. She represents for-profit and not-for-profit organizations on a wide range of business and commercial matters, including governance and strategic initiatives, board orientation and legal audits of operations. Prince frequently speaks on business-related topics and is a sought-after facilitator. She also provides extensive governance training. Prince assists numerous Canadian corporations and organizations with achieving their business objectives and international entities with respect to carrying on business operations in Canada. She is a past chair of the OBA charity and not-for-profit law section and currently serves on the executive of the CBA charities and not-for-profit law section.

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Andrew Valentine

Law firm: Miller Thomson LLP


Year called to the Bar: 2008

City: Toronto, ON

Andrew Valentine is a partner Miller Thomson LLP. His charities and non-profit law practice focuses on providing advice to organizations on issues, including gift planning, incorporation and registration, ongoing compliance matters and audits. Valentine also deals extensively with non-profit corporate governance and corporate structuring issues, advising on corporate restructuring, directors’ duties and liabilities, governance best practices, bylaws, policies and membership disputes. Valentine is an expert in social enterprise and social finance. He has been involved in several litigation matters involving charity law issues at the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Valentine has also authored and co-authored numerous articles about charity and non-profit law and speaks regularly on these topics. He worked extensively on the charities law text Charities Taxation, Policy and Practice. Valentine is a member of the OBA charity and not-for-profit section executive board and has participated in various government consultations regarding non-profit issues.