Non-profit corporations incorporated federally under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”) will benefit from a newly simplified process under which they can apply to extend the deadline for calling and holding their 2020 annual general meeting.
CNCA corporations are required to call an annual general meeting (“AGM”) within 15 months of the preceding annual meeting, and within 6 months of their financial year end. The CNCA provides that corporations can apply to Corporations Canada for permission to extend this deadline.
In recognition of the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated social distancing requirements, and in anticipation of a large number of applications to extend the AGM deadline, Corporations Canada has released a simplified online form that can be used to apply for extensions. The form appears intended to standardize the process for extending the deadline where the extension is necessitated by COVID-19.
The form is available on the Government of Canada’s website. It requires that corporations submit basic information identifying the corporation and the contact information for the authorized representative that is submitting the application.
The application must be submitted at least 30 days before the day on which notice is required to be given under the CNCA. Once the application is approved, the corporation must call its AGM before October 31, 2020 and hold the meeting before December 31, 2020.
The form contains standard declarations confirming that an application is being made because the corporation is unable to comply with the timelines established under the CNCA as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and related social distancing requirements. The corporation must confirm that the delay will result in little or no prejudice to its members.
The application also includes an application to confirm that the financial statements provided to the members at the AGM will be the financial statements for the year ending on the most recent financial year end.
Corporations are required to inform members of the extension as soon as possible after it is granted, and no later than 60 days from the date of the exemption order.
Corporations Canada advises that as of May 12, 2020, it will only accept extension applications through this online form.
The option of extending the deadline for the AGM is not the only way that CNCA corporations can address the challenges wrought by COVID-19. Virtual meetings are another option. We have commented on this option in a previous article, published on March 20, 2020. Corporations Canada has also released general information on options for the holding of annual meetings during the COVID-19 crisis.
Miller Thomson’s Social Impact Group is regularly advising corporations on dealing with meeting requirements in the context of COVID-19. Organizations should feel free to reach out to any member of the Social Impact Group with questions.