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Unincorporated Bodies Archives

Supreme Court Invokes Policy of Non-Intervention in the Affairs of Voluntary Associations

In Highwood Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses (Judicial Committee) v. Wall (released on May 31, 2018), the Supreme Court of Canada draws important lines between (a) issues that are justiciable and those that are non-justiciable, and (b) memberships in purely voluntary organizations that confer no contractual or proprietary rights.

Lack of Standing to Bring Proceedings Against an Unincorporated Association

In Varjacic v. Radoja (decided March 2018), Justice J.A. Ramsay of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that a corporation specifically incorporated to initiate litigation against the members of a unincorporated association had no standing to bring proceedings.

Failed Attempt to Convert Unincorporated Association into NFP Corporation

In Cedarwoods Park Association Inc. v. Tolentino (decided August 2017), Justice Boswell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that an unincorporated summer recreational park for trailer and cottage use had not been validly converted into a not-for-profit corporation and, further, that the association was not required to have an audit of its financial statements.

Legal Status of Unincorporated Organizations - Trade Unions

In Berry v. Pulley, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that a trade union is a legal entity that can enter into contracts with its members and that can sue and be sued on those contracts. A party suing a trade union can recover judgment from the assets of the union but not from the personal assets of its members. However, while recognizing the legal status of trade unions, the Court was careful to say that this recognition does not automatically extend to other unincorporated associations.

Unincorporated Branches

In Polish National Union of Canada v. Branch 1 of the Polish National Union of Canada (released May 2014), Justice Penny of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice found that a local branch of a federal not-for-profit corporation was not a separate legal entity and did not own property separate and apart from the corporation of which it was a part.

A Branch, or a Separate Unincorporated Club?

In Kelowna Trap and Skeet Club v. Kelowna & District Fish & Game Club (released April 2013), a British Columbia trial judge dealt with ownership of property claimed by members of an unincorporated organization, ruling that the club had always been a branch of the incorporated society and therefore could not claim a separate interest in the society's property.

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