Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) was passed in 2010 and supposed to come into force in July 2013.  The Ontario government has announced that they were “working to bring ONCA into force as early as possible, with a target of early 2020”.  I guess you could view it as an early Christmas present for the Ontario non-profit sector from the Ontario Government.  

A few thoughts on this announcement:

  1. I am relieved to hear what sounds optimistic.  So we can move forward on the ONCA file – ONCA is an important and useful new piece of legislation but the amount of time that can be spent on governance and corporate law by non-profits and charities is limited and we need to finish off this transition;
  2. I always love announcements right before long weekends! – this is actually before an extra long weekend with Christmas and Boxing Day.   I guess they want to make sure it is out before the end of the year to keep to their “promise” of giving at least 2 years notice.  On the other hand someone may wonder about the timing right before a holiday weekend.  
  3. A “target” of early 2020 could mean that it will be implimented in early 2020.  On the other hand they were previously targetting July 2013 and that did not happen.  A target is not a promise – it is not a commitment.  Let us hope they are succesful with their “target”.    
  4. There have been a number of changes to both the OCA and ONCA that we have discussed previously on this website.  Ontario corporations in the new year should start considering whether they need to do something now or can wait until later.  Some Ontario corporations will want to skip ONCA altogether and move to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”).  Some will want to adjust their documents to deal with certain important issues like membership under the OCA while others can wait for 2 or more years after ONCA comes into force before doing anything.     

The full announcement is below:

Sent on behalf of Michèle Sanborn, Director of the Policy and Governance Branch, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

I am writing to provide you with an update on the implementation of the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA).

On November 14, 2017, necessary legislative changes to ONCA and related acts in the Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017 became law.

We are:

upgrading our technology to support these changes and improve service delivery
working to bring ONCA into force as early as possible, with a target of early 2020. This gives not-for-profit corporations at least 24 months’ notice before ONCA comes into force.

We will give not-for-profit corporations:

further details closer to when ONCA comes into force
a three-year transition period once ONCA is in force to make any necessary changes to their governing documents
help to support a smooth implementation

In the meantime, before ONCA comes into force, Ontario not-for-profit corporations can take advantage of some of the changes made to the Corporations Act, by the Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017.   

For more information about ONCA, including resources such as the ONCA plain language and transition considerations, please visit the Ministry’s website at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/rules-not-profit-and-charitable-corporations.

If you want to keep up with developments relating to ONCA you can subscribe to our Canadian charity law newsletter or check out our ONCA directory.  Also if your non-profit or charity is an Ontario non-profit corporation and wishes to deal with governance issues including ONCA you can contact us to retain our law firm.