Midnight on Friday, October 17 was the deadline for federally incorporated not-for-profit organizations to transition from old legislation (Canada Corporations Act) to new legislation (Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, or NFP Act). This date concluded the 3-year window given to all organizations to make the shift to the more modern legislation.
We began working with sport organizations five years ago, when the new NFP Act was first passed into legislation. For the first two years there wasn't much urgency as the law had still not been declared in effect. That declaration took place in October 2014 and thus we began in earnest our efforts to assist national sport organizations in their transition efforts. For many organizations, this modern legislation required that they modernize their own governance structures and practices. Some organizations embraced this opportunity for reflection and change, while others have encountered strong resistance from their members and partners.
As of midnight last Friday, a large majority of Sport Canada-recognized and funded NSOs and MSOs have successfully transitioned. The Sport Law & Strategy Group worked closely with 75 of these, and we provided occasional advice to a further dozen or so who had the capacity to make these changes on their own without outside help. Over this time we also published extensively on this web site about what we were learning, in order to share our findings and help others in the process.
However, it is disconcerting today to know that some national level sport organizations still have not made the transition despite having five years warning that this date would come. We won't name names but will presume you know who you are!
In the meantime, Industry Canada has published a FAQ on their website about the now-passed transition deadline and what it means for those organizations that have not transitioned. They state that they have started taking steps to dissolve corporations, but will first provide notice. Please note that notice will be mailed to to the registered address of the corporation, so if your organization does not receive a notice it is probably because you have not kept this information up to date.
Please feel free to contact us at the Sport Law & Strategy Group if you need any assistance with any aspect of this legislative change. We can also assist with what we call our 'after-care' program to ensure that your policies are updated to align with new governance structures, that you comply with new reporting requirements, and that Canada Revenue Agency is advised of your governance changes (if your organization is a registered charity, or RCAAA).
Our experience in the federal realm has also equipped us well to guide provincially-incorporated sport organizations in Ontario, as new legislation will soon come into effect in this province, after a few years of delays. Corporations legislation is also back on the radar in British Columbia. As a result, the topic of sport governance will continue to be front and centre for many organizations in the Canadian sport community!