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Public benefit corporations

This page tells you what Ontario’s Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) has to say about a new category of nonprofits called public benefit corporations. It explains which nonprofits fit in this category and what rules they have to follow.

A nonprofit is a public benefit corporation (Section 1), if they:

  • are a charity registered with the Canada Revenue Agency, or
  • received more than $10,000 in a financial years from the :
    • the government, or
    • as donations from people who are not members, employees, or closely related to them.

Yes, public benefit corporations must:

  • follow different rules when reviewing and reporting their finances
  • have at least 3 directors
  • not have more than one-third of their directors be employees of the organization
  • distribute their assets to a similar charity or public benefit corporation if they close down or dissolve, and not to their members

Yes. If you aren’t a charity, you can switch from being a public benefit corporation (PBC) and a non-public benefit corporation. You may need to do this based on whether you got money from the government, or over $10,000 in donations from people who are not members, employees, or their close relations.

If your nonprofit is likely to switch, figure out how you will keep track of, and respond to, the different rules you have to follow. As the rules for PBCs are stricter, you can choose to follow the PBC rules even in years when you don’t have to.

Reviewed: 2020-02-27