The current Ontario Conservative Government seems to have adopted the Ontario Liberal party’s approach to ONCA.   It is something like ‘people of Ontario you have no right to know what is happening to the corporate legislation that affects over 50,000 Ontario organizations!’  Yes I just checked the Ontario government website – apparently, I am supposed to do that every day to see if there is a change –  well no change since February 20, 2019.  I thought it would be interesting to find out what happened – ONCA was supposed to come in in 2013 but we are now in 2019 and don’t know what is happening.   I was interested in 2 issues – first why the delay and second, when is it anticipated that ONCA will come into force.   A New Zealand computer company had been paid a lot of money to work on the system  – apparently, there are huge cost overruns and delays.   I foolishly thought I could put in a freedom of information request and would learn something.  I have been doing FOI with CRA (part of the Federal government) for over 10 years and they are usually quite responsive.

I have initially requested a large amount of information on the ONCA saga from the Ontario government.  It was asking for documents relating to the delays with ONCA and when ONCA was expected to come into force.  My original request asked for documents over a 10 year period.

Here is the original request:

All documents (electronic or otherwise), including briefing notes, reports, draft reports, emails, memos, etc. produced between January 1, 2010 and January 10, 2019 by the Ontario government that relate to the work and replacement of the Ontario ONBIS system, including but not limited to the involvement of Foster Moore in the project.

In late July 2019 the Ontario Government acknowledged receipt of my FOI request.  After a few voicemails back and forth I spoke to someone at MGCS.  – they asked that I narrow the request to essentially one document.  I agreed.

On September 16, 2019 MGCS sent me the revised request “All finalized transition material regarding ONBIS modernization from February 1, 2019 to September 1, 2019.”  I confirmed on September 16 that that was the modified request and they confirmed that they would process that request.

In September the FOI contact, I guess trying to be helpful, suggested that I also write to the MGCS ministerial correspondence directly to get answers to my questions.  I did and eventually got a response which really gave no information other than to be even more confusing about the fate of ONCA.

On October 3, 2019 I wrote and asked how long I can expect – I was advised “An institution has 30 calendar days to respond to a request once a request has been clarified. We received the clarified wording of your request on September 16, 2019 and therefore, the due date for the ministry to issue it’s decision to you is Tuesday, October 15, 2019.”

Ok does not sound great when only one document but so be it.

On October 3, 2019 I wrote to MGCS to ask when I could expect to receive the document.

Then I just received this letter from the Ontario government yesterday – on the Friday afternoon before a long weekend.  I have used sophisticated means of redaction not to embarrass the ON government employees who are part of a system that obviously needs a lot of work.

Maybe someone important should write to the MCGS and they will give you an answer   ​infomgcs@ontario.ca  Also perhaps they will update their website with some information.

A reminder that ONCA is looking like it could be a shambles.  Avoid if possible setting up Ontario corporations, rather opt for Federal in most cases.   Ontario non-profit corporations should seriously consider moving out of the Ontario system altogether to avoid the secrecy and delays of ONCA.