Update – August 17, 2021

The Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) will be proclaimed on October 19, 2021.

This legislation, over ten years in the process and ONN’s founding issue is the enabling corporate legal framework for most nonprofits incorporated under provincial law.

Nonprofits will have three years after the proclamation to transition to the new rules.

ONN will continue to advocate for clear communications and legal education for the sector about implementation, as well as adherence to the “open by default” principle for the Ontario Business Registry – so that it can become an essential data source for nonprofits and allow us to clearly identify the number and composition of nonprofits in Ontario.


Regulations that were needed prior to the proclamation of ONCA have now been published.





Ontario Business Registry

The Ontario government is launching a new business registry on October 19, 2021. The Ontario Business Registry is expected to offer simpler, faster and better solutions to businesses and not-for-profit corporations across the province. It is intended to support the entire lifecycle of Ontario businesses and nonprofits – from registering, incorporating and ordering search products, to filing an annual return. Over 90 services will be available online.

The registry will replace the current system that relies on paper-based, manual processes.

What nonprofits can do now

Register: To get new information about the Ontario Business Registry and receive your log-in credentials when the registry goes live, register at Ontario.ca/BusinessRegistry.

Update – September 24, 2020

Ministry moves motion in case of a delay and it includes two important changes.

The Government of Ontario has introduced motion #89 in the Legislature. This motion extends the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) by another year, until December 2021. This was necessary because legislation is automatically cancelled if it does not take effect in 10 years, and the ONCA was passed in 2010 so would be cancelled if it was not proclaimed by December 2020. We have been assured that the ONCA is still on track to be proclaimed before the end of 2020. However, this motion is needed in the event of delays as regulations and the online business registry are put in place this fall. It is a housekeeping motion.

Specific sections of the ONCA are not included in the motion to be extended into 2021. This means they will disappear from ONCA. These sections relate to requirements to give a vote to non-voting members and give a veto to different classes of members. The nonprofit sector has been advocating to remove these two provisions from ONCA for a long time. Their removal means non-voting members will not have a vote and different classes of members will not have veto over key corporate decisions. ONN is pleased that these amendments to ONCA have been implemented and we will continue to advocate for immediate proclamation and a user-friendly online registry system for Ontario nonprofits.

Read the transcripts from the Legislative Assembly of Ontario: https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/house-documents/parliament-42/session-1/2020-09-17/hansard#P230_13894.

Letters sent to support the proclamation

In anticipation of the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) being proclaimed in Fall 2020, ONN shared seven key legislative amendments with the Ontario government to consider as part of its proclamation. These are the critical amendments needed to the now ten-year-old legislation that would make the implementation of ONCA much clearer and consistent for the 58,000 nonprofits serving their communities in Ontario. Read our letters to Government and Consumer Services Minister Lisa Thompson:


Bill 154 was passed in 2017 and the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) was scheduled to be proclaimed in early 2020. Bill 154, Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017 contains all the enabling legislation needed so ONCA can be proclaimed. It also contains some important improvements to ONCA that ONN, charity law lawyers and nonprofit organizations have been asking for. ONCA will come with a new nonprofit registration process allowing open access to comprehensive data on the sector. The current Ontario Corporations Act has also been subject to minor amendments to make it easier for nonprofits to operate (such as giving notice of general meetings via email) in the meantime. Organizations will have three years after proclamation to come into conformity with the new act. The regulations are still being developed so important details are not yet known to inform changes to your bylaws and articles. This is why ONN is recommending that, unless you have pressing concerns that require you to revamp your bylaws, you wait until regulations are complete. Learn more: Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) has a website dedicated to providing easily accessible and accurate information on the Ontario Corporations Act and ONCA.


ONN’s Vision: The nonprofit sector is subject to appropriate, modern governance legislation.

The sector has an enabling corporate legal framework that is designed to meet the needs of the sector and regularly updated to meet changes in technology and practice.

Steps we’re taking to meet our vision

We’re advocating for the Ontario government to:

  • Establish a modern and efficient nonprofit registry that can also be used for data collection purposes
  • Meet ONCA’s scheduled proclamation for early 2020
  • Provide adequate transitional support for the nonprofit sector, once the ONCA has been proclaimed, through the re-establishment of the Implementation Steering Committee and an educational and support program

We’re working with the Ontario nonprofit sector to provide sector voices on the development of regulations under ONCA via the Implementation Steering Committee.

Transition Support for Ontario’s nonprofits


ONN Logo




Nonprofit Law Ontario logo


CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) has launched the “Get Ready for the ONCA” project, in support of the Ontario nonprofit sector as it transitions under the new ONCA. This will help Ontario’s not-for-profits understand and prepare for changes that will affect nonprofits across the province when the ONCA comes into force, no earlier than 2020.  You can find helpful resources, webinars and events on their website.

History of work on the ONCA