COVID-19 emergency measures for nonprofits and charities
In response to COVID-19, the Government of Ontario passed some laws and guidelines that make it easier during the pandemic for:
- nonprofits to hold members’ meetings and board meetings, and
- charities to access funds if they’re in danger of closing.
Options for holding meetings
Until November 21, 2020, you can hold members’ meetings and board meetings online or by phone, even if your letters patent or bylaws do not allow this.
If you hold a board meeting online or by phone, directors must be able communicate with each other at the same time, which means simultaneously and instantaneously.
Deadline for annual members’ meetings
|If the deadline for your annual members’ meeting would have been:||Then your new deadline is:|
|during the state of emergency
(March 17-July 24, 2020)
|October 22, 2020|
|within 30 days of the state of emergency ending
(July 24-August 23, 2020)
|November 21, 2020|
Accessing restricted funds
The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) has developed temporary guidelines to help charities that are in danger of closing due to lack of funds. These charities may be able to use the income and capital of restricted purpose trust funds to continue their day-to-day operations.
Usually, charities can only use restricted purpose trust funds for specific reasons.
A charity has to meet certain conditions and get permission from the PGT before it can use these funds.
Changing your bylaws before the ONCA takes effect
While the government is working to bring Ontario’s Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) into force, they’ve said their target is no longer early 2020. No new date has been announced yet. Most nonprofits should not make changes to comply with the ONCA, as certain rules haven’t been published.
If your nonprofit’s interested in changing your bylaws either to bring them closer to ONCA or for other reasons, here are some things to keep in mind.
We’re now known as Nonprofit Law Ontario! Our site began in 2013 to help nonprofits “Get Ready for the ONCA”. Over the years however, we added content on other areas of nonprofit law. Our new name better reflects the information, resources, and tools our site now offers.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services funded Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) to develop “Get Ready for the ONCA”. This funding has now ended. CLEO is exploring options to maintain our nonprofit law content. We’ll do our best in the interim to respond to the questions that you send us.
We thank the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services for their financial support over many years.
In January 2018, many important parts of the Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017 took effect. The Act, also known as Bill 154, makes changes to current laws and brings us closer to Ontario’s Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 (ONCA). The government has said they are working to bring ONCA into force as early as possible.
Bill 154 changes OCA and ONCA
Below is a quick overview of some of the most important changes that…
For a more detailed summary of the law and some analysis, visit:
- Ontario Nonprofit Network
- Gray, Whitley LLP
- Carters Professional Corporation (OCA) (ONCA)
- Drache Aptowitzer (OCA) (ONCA)
You can view past updates in our eBulletin archives.