Get Moving May 31, 2008 deadline

Posted in Business and Nonprofits May 8th, 2008

Join ONN in calling for a dedicated Public Benefit Corporations Act in Ontario

The Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN), expert working group has prepared three responses to the three consultation papers on the Corporations Act issued by the Government of Ontario. All three can now be found on the brand new ONN website.

Please check it out the new ONN site, sign up for their e-bulletins, and down load the ONN response documents. You will want to keep track of what the sector is up to and the ONN site is the place to do it.

If you are thinking why bother responding to something as complex and boring as the modernization of the Corporations Act? Then Read this:

  • We want legislation that meets our needs for a change. The ONNís Expert Working Group is of the strong opinion that new, separate legislation is required to recognize and address the unique qualities, functions and purposes of Ontarioís public benefit sector. The legislation should be titled, "Public Benefit Corporations Act." Public benefit corporations are different from other nonprofit groups, such as trade associations, and clubs, which tend to exist to serve only their members and do not have a broader public mission. True member Associations and the needs of public benefit organizations are so different as to warrant separate legislation.
  • Level the playing field with business and cut the red tape. Help us ensure the legislation is flexible, responsive and enabling. ONN proposes that the revised legislation be structured enough to ensure certain minimum standards in organizations that serve the larger public benefit, but flexible enough not to seem to micro-manage. Many public benefit corporations serve very particular needs in communities, and in order for them to be responsive to those needs they require flexibility in their bylaws and their organizational and board structures.Enabling corporate legislation for public benefit organizations must not unduly disadvantage public benefit corporations. The legislation must provide similar rights and obligations provided business corporations such as as of right incorporation, powers of a natural person, and impose similar duties of care and director personal liability protections. The Act must provide flexibility in Director and membership size and structures to suit the wide diversity of public benefit organizations. The act also needs to provide for modern methods (e.g. electronic) of communicating with directors and members.
  • Help us keep the Public Trust. We need to ensure transparency and accountability for public benefit. The unique nature of the Public Benefit Corporation is that it exists to serve the public good. As such it enjoys tax advantages, public recognition and trust. The Act must support this contract with the public by providing for transparency of corporate information, checks and balances on the operation of the corporation and robust financial constraints that ensure revenues are dedicated to the public good.
  • Demand there be no limit on the capacity of public benefit corporations to earn money and join our call for increasing the capacity of public benefit corporations to raise capital funds.

These are new requests of government and they will not happen without broad based support from the field. We urge you to become active and write in support of these critical changes. Reply by May 31st, 2208 to:

Corporations Act Modernization
Ministry of Government Services
Policy Branch
777 Bay Street
5th Floor  Suite 501
Toronto, ON M7A 2J3
(416) 326-8877


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