Here is the Blumbergs' List of Canada Corporations Act non-profits that need to continue to the CNCA.  The federal government as part of its Open Data initiative provides a complete list of Federal corporations (for-profit and non-profit) in XML format.  We thought it might be helpful to look at which Canadian non-profits corporations are still under the old Canada Corporations Act (CCA) and may need to continue under the Canada Not-for profit Corporations Act (CNCA).

The CNCA was brought into force in 2011 and will replace the Canada Corporations Act (CCA).  The CNCA will be of particular interest to Canadian non-profit organization and charities that are incorporated federally under the CCA as they will have to file documents to continue under the CNCA or face dissolution.  CCA corporations have until October 17, 2014 to complete the continuance.   While the implementation of the CNCA provides a good opportunity for Federal non-profit corporations to assess their governance practices and make improvements, the failure to act may have dire consequences for some organizations.

A few points to note about the list:

  • Many of these corporations were created a long time ago and have been dormant for many years.  For many of them, mandatory dissolution will not have any negative impact and they may actually welcome the closure that dissolution provides.
  • The list contains all names (English, French and Old/New) of corporations.  Therefore, although there are 34,000 names there are in fact less actual corporations.  Generally, Industry Canada estimates that 19,000 to 25,000 federal non-profit corporations under the CCA.  About 2,000 of the original CCA corporations have already moved over to the CNCA already.   
  • Many thousands of these corporations are registered charities and if they have not moved over to the CNCA by the requisite time they could have their charitable status revoked.  While some wait anxiously to find out if one or two environmental organizations will be revoked for stepping over the line regarding political activities, there may be hundreds of environmental organizations that could lose their charitable status because of dissolution. While some have focused on dozens of international development organizations that have been “defunded”, hundreds may lose their charitable status because of dissolution.  CRA has been very selective about revocations of charitable status, only revoking charitable status for cause of about 20 to 40 charities per year whose conduct has generally been negative and troubling.  As a result of non-compliance with the requirements of the CNCA, it is possible that the status of thousands of normal operating Canadian charities could be revoked.
  • Over the last two months, some of these listed non-profits may have continued to the CNCA and obviously there is still another six months for the remaining non-profits to continue.  Furthermore, although Industry Canada will begin the process of dissolution in October, they will likely start with organizations that have not filed annual returns in many years.

How did we obtain this list?  The government of Canada is increasingly providing data to the public on its open government website.  Unfortunately, the information that is available is spotty and the quality of the data is poor.  For example, to create this list I had to review 25 files, and make many corrections in the XML language used by Industry Canada.  As well we had to pare down the list by about 90% to exclude Federal for-profit corporations and those who have already continued under the CNCA.

For the most up-to-date information on the status of a particular Federal non-profit corporation you should visit Industry Canada's database of Federal corporations.  It is updated frequently.