This is derived from Step-by-step chapter creation guide.
Step 1: Gather the people
- Find people willing to be the initial board of the chapter until it's first AGM. Three people will be required to put their names on the founding document and become the initial legal board. All initial board members should be able to contribute to the foundation fees ($200-$300 divided between the board) until the chapter can pay them back (unless they are willing to make the money a donation). While only three people are on the legal document, the bylaws allow for an initial board of 4-7 people.
- Find a sizable number of people willing to get a paying membership once the organization is incorporated.
Step 2: Write the bylaws
Our draft bylaws are at Wikimedia Canada/Proposed by-laws. There is a lot of work done here, but they still have to be cleaned up and made to comply with Canadian law. Once we think they are done, several of us should go through them and compare them to Canadian law.
Step 3: Submit bylaws to the chapters committee for approval
When our bylaws are ready (but before doing anything that would make the association official, like opening a bank account, holding a founding assembly, registering with the Canadian legislation, etc.), we must submit them to the Chapters committee for approval.
The chapters committee will review the bylaws and then will submit them to the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation to approve the creation of Wikimedia Canada.
In Canada this includes both incorporating the organization and registering it as a non-profit with the Canada Revenue Agency, which are two different processes that have to be done at the same time. Some information about this can be found in the following links later in this section.
Sub-step 1: Incorporation
There are some steps we have to take before incorporating:
- Paying a company to confirm that the name "Wikimedia Canada" is not taken (NUANS Name Search Report: $15).
- Checking with the Canada Revenue Agency to make sure that our objectives will be accepted for our non-profit tax status (see substep 2).
- Pool the founding costs.
- Choose an address to be our mailing address. Even though we are registering at the federal level, the province of our mailing address affects some other things, like extra fees for incorporation and whether we have to include "Inc." in our name.
- Figure out who will be in the founding board (up to seven people, though it can be more once we have regional representatives).
- Figure out who will sign the paper to be the legal first board that will appoint the rest (at least four people according to our bylaws; Canadian law says at least three, but it has to match our bylaws; we can include all seven if we want).
Things that must be included in an incorporation request
For the record: these are the things that must be included in the application to incorporate:
- A covering letter expressing the organisation's intent to receive Letters Patent,
- The person submitting the application can fill in cover letter here and submit it with everything else.
- Two copies of an application for incorporation signed by at least three applicants,
- I have created a draft for our letter grant of a charter by Letters Patent based off of the example letter from here.
- Two copies of the proposed by-laws,
- The bylaws do not yet comply with the law, but the draft of them can be read at Wikimedia_Canada/Proposed_by-laws.
- A statutory declaration by one of the applicants,
- The person submitting the application should fill out the form here and have it approved by a qualified official before submitting it.
- A copy of the NUANS name search report that is not more than 90 days old indicating that the name has been reserved (or a cheque, as per the first of those forms), and
- A $200 filing fee.
Here are some useful links:
- Introduction for an outline of federal non-profit incorporation
- Incorporation procedures for non-profits Includes a check list of what needs to be submitted as well as example letters used as drafts for the ones linked above
- Some model bylaws
- Primer for Directors of a Not-For-Profit Organization
- Policies , Guidlelines and Procedures
- General Overview of the Act governing not-for profits in Canada
Sub-step 2: Registering Canada Revenue Agency as a non-profit organization
Obtaining tax exempt status is a separate process from incorporation, and requires application to the Canada Revenue Agency. Although the status may be granted to unincorporated groups, being incorporated establishes that there is an effective organisation. Some places recommend that we do this step first. Forms may be found here.
Contact information for the CRA Charities Directorate: 1-800-267-2384
Sub-step 3: Other registrations
Once that is done we have to do other paperwork stuff like setting up a bank account and a paypal account for online membership fees
Step 5: Get some money
- Here we try to get the people on our initial list to actually join and send us the money.
Step 6: Go!
At this point we can set up an AGM and elect our first board. Once we have our elected board, the first order of business will be to organize a way for people to get tax receipts for donations to the WMF through us. There are several other projects we can work toward listed at Wikimedia Canada/Potential Projects.