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Ontario's Not-For-Profit Corporations Act

Archived Backgrounder

Ontario's Not-For-Profit Corporations Act

Ministry of Consumer Services

The proposed Not-for-Profit Corporations Act would provide a modern legal framework that addresses the needs of today's not-for-profit corporations in Ontario.

Main highlights of Ontario's proposed Not-for-Profit Corporations Act:

  • Simplifying the incorporation process. The current incorporation process is complex and lengthy, normally taking six to eight weeks to incorporate. Under the new Act, incorporation could take only a few days.
  • Enhancing corporate governance and accountability by providing a statutory duty of care for directors; and, at the same time, providing specific protection from liability for directors.
  • Allowing not-for-profit corporations to engage in commercial activities where the revenues are reinvested in the corporation's not-for-profit purposes.
  • Providing for a less expensive review engagement or audit exemption in appropriate circumstances.
  • Harmonizing with other Canadian jurisdictions that have modern legislation, such as the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act which received Royal Assent on June 23, 2009 and the Saskatchewan Non-profit Corporations Act, 1995.
  • Enhancing member democracy by expanding member remedies to ensure directors are acting in the corporation's best interests.
  • Increasing transparency for financial information, access to records and when disciplinary action is contemplated against a member.
  • Providing directors and officers better protection from personal liability.


The Ministry of Consumer Services undertook extensive stakeholder consultations throughout the development of the proposed Act. Three consultation papers were developed to solicit opinions and regional workshops were held in Ottawa, London, Toronto and Thunder Bay attended by stakeholders from approximately 200 organizations. The Ministry also formed a web advisory panel to engage in online consultation with key stakeholders on preliminary policy recommendations.

Government's Commitment

The proposed Not-for-Profit Corporations Act would, if passed, meet the government's commitment to business law modernization. It would also support:
  • Open for Business by streamlining operational and administrative requirements and improving the processing efficiency of applications.
  • Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy by facilitating the operations of not-for-profit corporations focused on improving housing, education, food and employment assistance.

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