Structure of the Act
Thematic Summary of the Consultations
Reaction about the merits of including a classification system in the new not-for-profit legislation was mixed across the country. However, participants returned to this issue time and again, often noting that other issues could not be resolved without deciding on the issue of a classification system.
Those opposed to the inclusion of a classification system felt it would unduly complicate matters. One of the reasons offered was that it would be difficult to classify some organizations because of the varied work that they do and/or the services that the provide. Another concern was that organizations might inappropriately self select, given that their raison d'être could differ from their motives for providing services.
A number of participants were in favour of a classification system that was either based on levels of revenue or number of members or that distinguished between public benefit, mutual benefit, religious and, in some cases, political organizations.
There was general agreement that moving away from the archaic letters patent system was a positive step. With respect to the filing of by-laws, a number of participants expressed support for the simpler structure proposed; in fact, a minority of participants agreed that there should be no filing requirements at all.
There was a difference of opinion on whether by-laws and amendments should take effect immediately upon passage by members, or only when filing was complete.
Some did not see the benefit of filing at all if by-laws become effective when passed. Others noted that there could be problems if by-laws did not become effective at the moment when members passed them, particularly for organizations that do not meet frequently. One person predicted that with a filing requirement but no scrutiny, Industry Canada would end up with "the worst of both worlds": organizations that are not in compliance with the law and filed by-laws that are inaccurate. Participants in a number of cities voiced concern about the possibility of an increased security risk without thorough scrutiny.
Recognizing that some organizations have rapid turnover and limited corporate memory, many participants supported the notion of the government acting as a central repository. There were several requests for Industry Canada to put by-laws online if it accepts the repository role.
Most participants agreed that model by-laws would be very helpful, and urged they be kept simple. Some asked for the creation of an easily updateable Web interface, including secure access and summary reports.
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