I was in a session with the Ontario government today related to user feedback for the new Ontario Business Registry (OBR). In that session, they advised that the new Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations (ONCA) is targeted now to come in later this year. It will be launched together with the Ontario Business Registry (OBR). They noted that there are a number of interrelated regulatory changes that need to take place for the OBR and ONCA to be proclaimed/brought into force and that the Ontario government hopes to give as much notice as possible of when it will happen. They said at the very minimum they will try for 1 month’s notice but the target date is within this calendar year.
Information that is in the current ONBIS system will be imported into the new OBR system. For many non-profits and charities under the Ontario Corporations Act, this information will be very outdated and groups should review it carefully.
The system in general looks fine. If you have been using the Federal Corporations Canada system (for example for CNCA corporations) you will probably be very underwhelmed by the Ontario system – especially when it comes to transparency. The system will list for free only the following – Corporation name, Ontario Corporation Number, Business Number, Incorporation Date, Type (e.g., ONCA, OBCA), Status (Active, etc.), Governing Jurisdiction (Ontario), Primary Activity Code, Primary Activity, and official email. That is it.
Compared to the Federal CNCA you will not get the address of the corporation, names of directors, when directors changes were made, whether the entity is up to date in its filing, date of last AGM, previous name history, how many directors there are, and most important the ability to access copies of governing documents (such as articles of incorporation, articles of amendment, by-laws) and financial statements. As one senior corporate lawyer once said to me – for those small groups who want to be non-transparent the new system will be fine. Many others will move to the Federal system.
By Mark Blumberg, Blumbergs, Canadian Charity Law