Updates on Co-operative Legislation

JUNE 2019 UPDATE

On Friday, June 7, OCA received the following notification from FSCO: The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has been delegated authority by the Minister of Finance to oversee the capital raising requirements for co-operative corporations in Ontario effective June 8, 2019. As such, after June 8, 2019, FSRA will receive, review, and receipt offering statements for co-operative corporations. The process for filing co-operative corporation offering statements will not change as a result of this delegation of authority except that fees will now be payable to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario.

MAY 2019 UPDATE

OCA recently received a letter from the Ministry of Finance in response to our request to continue moving forward in regards to modernizing the Co-operative Corporations Act. A meeting has been scheduled with Ministry of Finance and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) staff for mid-June to discuss next steps. The main focus of this meeting will be to ensure the smooth transition of our offering statement process from the Financial Service Commission of Ontario to FSRA, and will allow sector representatives to highlight the key concerns or priorities to the new agency. We will also take this opportunity to discuss how we can continue to move our other key legislations changes forward. We will continue to keep the sector updated as the consultation process continues. You can also follow our updates online.

APRIL 2019 UPDATE

OCA was invited to sit in the provincial budget lock up on April 11, and we had the opportunity to review the 2019 Ontario Budget. It was positive that the co-operative sector was included in the budget and that Peter Cameron was quoted (see below - Section D: Open for Business, Open for Jobs, page 235). The changes to the legislation we advocated for throughout the January consultation process were not included. However, our staff are optimistic that the changes will be made to our legislation and that this process will just take a little more time than we hoped. 

The government has committed to consider the feedback from co-operatives received through the consultation process and work with our sector to propose amendments to the legislation. This is very positive.

The next steps are to consult with Minister Fedeli’s office and the Ministry of Finance to learn what work is required to finalize the legislation changes. There may be further consultation with your co-operatives or we may need your help to call MPPs and express the need for change so we do not lose our momentum at this key time.

Thank you for your support throughout this process. Ontario Co-operative Association is committed to working diligently on your behalf to make these legislative changes that will improve the business environment for Ontario’s co-operatives.

 


MARCH 2019 UPDATE

After many years of advocacy on the part of the co-operative sector, the government conducted consultations on the Co-operative Corporations Act. We'd like to thank the 80+ Ontario co-operatives that provided a submission to the government. 

Earlier this monoth, we received an important update regarding our efforts to save the offering Statement process from moving to the Ontario Securities Commission.

The Ministry of Finance has confirmed that the government is not going to proceed with any plan to move co-operative Offering Statements to the Ontario Securities Commission. Their plan as of right now is to add the responsibility for Offering Statements to the Finance Services Regulatory Authority’s (FSRA) articles, or have FSRA lend expertise to another ministry that will be responsible for Offering Statements. They are “working right now on the mechanics of keeping Offering Statements the same,” and our Offering Statement limit increases are still under consideration.

OCA would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of the co-operatives that took the time to contact their MPPs and MPs, as we believe it made all the difference in turning this whole issue around.

As well, the government is still going ahead with changes to the 50% rule and the audit rules. They have not decided whether these changes will be in the budget bill, or whether they will wait and make all of the changes at once. However, they are “leaning toward no” on changes in this budget. 

OCA assured the Ministry that the 50% rule changes and the audit rule changes would be fully supported and celebrated by the sector, if they are included in this budget.

For any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Erin Morgan at 519-831-0850 or [email protected].


FEBRUARY 2018 UPDATE

Our perseverance and efforts are paying off. Over five years of advocacy work by Ontario’s co-operatives was rewarded in Budget 2018. The government has made a commitment to review the 44-year-old Co-operative Corporations Act. The Ministry of Finance recognized that co-operative legislation has not kept pace with other business statutes in the province, and acknowledged that a more modern legislative framework will help ensure co-operatives are able to grow, meet the needs of members and compete effectively with other businesses in Ontario.

As part of the review, the government will consider key policy issues, including restrictions on non-member business, exemptions from audit requirements, the process for offering statements, and the government body that would be most suitable to administer the legislation.  

The legislation is expected to be voted on in the House and if passed, the process toward modernization of the Act will begin. For those interested in reading more, the section of the Ontario Budget referencing Ontario’s co-operative sector can be found here.

This is very positive news for co-operatives in Ontario. A more modern legislative framework for co-operatives will help ensure they are able to grow, meet the needs of their members and compete effectively with other businesses in the province. OCA looks forward to future consultations with the co-operative sector to ensure all legislative changes enhance our sustainable and profitable business model.