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'Community contribution companies' get go-ahead

Mar 06 2012

A new type of socially conscious businesses will be allowed in the province under legislation introduced at the legislature Monday.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon said the new "community contribution company" will be a sort of hybrid between non-profit and regular for-profit businesses.

"It's a new vehicle we don't have in British Columbia or anywhere in Canada at this point. It was actually pioneered in England," Falcon said.

"We want to encourage the non-profits to be able to get into areas where they can provide a social benefit."

Falcon gave the example of a community-based business that hires street people to collect recyclables, which would have a business model but also provide a community and social benefit.

The finance ministry said the new companies would have a higher level of accountability than ordinary companies, with mandatory annual reports that detail social spending and restrictions on corporate reorganization and payouts.

There would also be an "asset lock" if a company is dissolved, to ensure profits are retained by the company or for a community benefit, the ministry said.