Update: Continued delayed means no proclamation in early 2020
Continued delay for ONCA
The Ontario government gave notice in 2018 that the proclamation of the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) would occur “early 2020”. However, on December 31, 2019, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services updated their website that ONCA will not be proclaimed in early 2020. No specific date or timeline was given. The government noted that the delay is related to a technology solution – an online registry that would allow organizations to incorporate and file electronically through Service Ontario.
The clock is ticking
Legislation can’t sit on the books forever waiting to be proclaimed. As a requirement of the Legislation Act, 2006, during the first week of the new Legislative session, the Attorney General will table an annual report naming Acts or parts of Acts that are not yet in force and that were at least nine years old on Dec. 31, 2019.
ONCA will be on this list. So, by the end of 2020, one of three things will have to happen:
- ONCA will be given a formal proclamation date
- The Legislature will adopt a resolution that the Act not be repealed, giving the government a one-year reprieve; or
- The Act will be automatically repealed on December 31, 2020
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
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
- Bill 154, Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017, makes some critical amendments in ONCA legislation requested by the nonprofit sector.
- 2014-2015 Mandate letter to the Honourable David Oraziette, Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
- ONN Briefing Note, April 17, 2013 – Requesting clarity and amendments to the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations act to enable and support the work of organizations providing public benefit in Ontario. Click here to read brief.
- ONN’s update on proclamation delay, March 28, 2013.
- Announcement of proclamation delay for January 1, 2014. See official announcement from the Honourable Tracey MacCharles, Minister of Consumer Services, March 28, 2013.
- ONCA Implementation Steering Committee Established, January 2013.
- Announcement of proclamation delay for July 1, 2013. See letter from Ministry of Consumer Services, September 26, 2012.
- ONN Letter to Minister Best requesting a DELAY of proclamation, July 5, 2012.
- ONN presents to the Standing Committee on Social Policy, August 23, 2010.