The basics: What to do and when
What do we need to do?
In preparation for the ONCA, your nonprofit will need to:
- gather your letters patent, bylaws, and other important documents
- perform a governance overview to determine necessary changes
- familiarize yourself with terms used in the ONCA
Once you have these basics, you will need to familiarize yourself with the details of the new Act to ensure your organization will be in compliance by the deadline.
When do we need to do it by?
Once the new Act takes effect, there will be a three-year transition period for most existing nonprofits. All nonprofits will have to comply with the requirements of the new Act by the end of the transition period.
Some rules in the new Act will automatically apply to all nonprofits covered by the ONCA, but you have choices about others. The government’s choices are included in the default bylaw. Once the ONCA comes into force, the default bylaw will automatically apply to new organizations unless they file their own bylaws (that comply with the new law) within 60 days.
Existing organizations have three years from the date the ONCA takes effect to change the parts of their bylaws that don’t agree with the ONCA. If you don’t, you will be deemed to have changed your bylaws, and any part of your bylaws that conflicts with the new legislation will no longer be valid. It will be replaced by the rules in the ONCA.
Bylaw changes usually need to be approved by your membership at an annual meeting. You will need time before the annual meeting to educate your members or give them advance notice, including the reasons for the changes. And your board and senior staff will need planning time to get all these things in motion. That’s why you should learn about the ONCA now and start to plan what you want in your bylaws.
Sign up for the Get Ready for the ONCA ebulletin so you hear about new developments and when the ONCA takes effect. The ebulletin will also tell you when new resources are available to help you with the process, and where to learn more.