Ontario Business Corporations Act

The Ontario Business Corporations Act is a comprehensive legal framework that governs how businesses operate in the province. It sets out the rules and regulations that companies must follow to maintain their corporate status, protect their shareholders, and conduct their affairs in a fair and transparent manner. 

Whether you’re starting a new business or already running one, it’s essential to understand the provisions of this act and how they apply to your operations. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the Ontario Business Corporations Act and provide an overview of its key provisions.

What is the OBCA?

The Ontario Business Corporations Act (OBCA) is a law that governs how corporations are incorporated and operate in Ontario. It provides the legal framework for incorporating and operating a business as a corporation in the province of Ontario.

The OBCA applies to all corporations that are incorporated in Ontario or that have their central management and control located in Ontario. It is important to note that if a corporation is incorporated in Ontario but has its central management and control located outside of Ontario, it may be subject to the laws of the jurisdiction where its central management and control is located.

The OBCA sets out the rules for the incorporation of a corporation, the duties and responsibilities of directors and officers, the rights of shareholders, and the process for corporate reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, and dissolution.

The OBCA also requires corporations to maintain certain records, hold meetings of shareholders and directors, and file certain documents with the Ontario government. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in penalties, fines, or legal action against the corporation or its directors and officers.

What Are The Requirements To Incorporate Under The OBCA?

If you’re looking to incorporate your business under the Ontario Business Corporations Act (OBCA), there are certain requirements that you need to meet. These include:

  1. A name reservation: Before you can incorporate under the OBCA, you need to ensure that your desired business name is available and not already in use. This can be done by reserving the name through the government of Ontario’s website.
  2. Articles of incorporation: This is the legal document that establishes your corporation. It includes information such as the name of the corporation, its purpose, the number and classes of shares, and the names of the directors.
  3. Share structure: You must decide how many shares your corporation will issue and what classes they will be divided into.
  4. Directors: Your corporation must have at least one director, who must be at least 18 years of age and not bankrupt.
  5. Registered office: Your corporation must have a registered office in Ontario, which will be the official address for the service of legal documents.
  6. Initial resolutions: You will need to draft initial resolutions that outline important decisions made by the corporation, such as the appointment of officers, the adoption of by-laws, and the opening of a bank account.
  7. Filing fee: You will need to pay a fee to the government of Ontario to file your articles of incorporation.

It’s important to note that these requirements may vary depending on the nature of your business and other factors. It’s always a good idea to consult with a lawyer or a professional incorporation service to ensure that you meet all of the necessary requirements.

What are The Benefits of Incorporating Under The OBCA?

There are several advantages to incorporating your business under the Ontario Business Corporations Act (OBCA). One of the main benefits is limited liability protection. When you incorporate, your personal assets are protected from business debts and legal liabilities. 

This means that if your business incurs debts or is sued, your personal assets are not at risk.

Another advantage is the ability to raise capital through the sale of shares. Incorporating under the OBCA allows you to issue shares of stock to investors in exchange for funding, which can help your business grow and expand. Additionally, incorporating can provide tax benefits and may help to establish credibility with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

Read Also: 5 Statistical Tools For Finance And Insurance

Another benefit of incorporating the OBCA is that it provides clear guidelines for corporate governance. The OBCA sets out rules for how a corporation should be structured and managed, including the roles and responsibilities of directors and officers. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your business operates efficiently and effectively, which can help to build trust and confidence with stakeholders.

Also, incorporating under the OBCA provides flexibility for the future of your business. You can easily transfer ownership or sell shares to other parties, which can help you raise additional capital or facilitate a smooth transition in ownership. You can also take advantage of the benefits of limited liability protection, which can help you manage risks and protect your assets over time.

Overall, incorporating under the OBCA can provide numerous benefits for your business. From limited liability protection to greater access to capital and clear guidelines for governance, incorporating can help you build a strong foundation for growth and success. To learn more about the advantages of incorporating under the OBCA, consult with a legal professional or review the act online.

What Are The Key Provisions Of The OBCA?

The Ontario Business Corporations Act (OBCA) is a set of laws that governs the formation and management of corporations in the province of Ontario. It provides a framework for businesses to operate under and sets out the rules for how corporations should be structured and managed.

Some of the key provisions of the OBCA include the requirements for incorporating a corporation, the responsibilities of directors and officers, shareholder rights, and corporate governance procedures. Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas.

Incorporation: The OBCA sets out the requirements for incorporating a corporation, including the minimum number of directors, the minimum and maximum number of shares that can be issued, and the need for a registered office in Ontario. Corporations must also file articles of incorporation with the government to be recognized as legal entities.

Directors and officers: The OBCA outlines the roles and responsibilities of directors and officers, including their fiduciary duties to act in the best interests of the corporation. Directors and officers are required to act honestly and in good faith, exercise reasonable care, and disclose any conflicts of interest.

Shareholder rights: Shareholders have certain rights under the OBCA, including the right to vote on major decisions such as changes to the articles of incorporation, mergers or acquisitions, and the election of directors. Shareholders also have the right to inspect certain corporate records, such as financial statements.

Corporate governance procedures: The OBCA requires corporations to have certain governance procedures in place, including the holding of annual shareholder meetings, the appointment of an auditor, and the maintenance of accurate corporate records.

Overall, the OBCA provides a comprehensive framework for corporations to operate under, ensuring that they are properly structured and managed in accordance with the law. If you’re considering incorporating a business in Ontario, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the key provisions of the OBCA and seek legal advice to ensure that you are in compliance.

How Can I Find out More About The OBCA?

If you are interested in learning more about the Ontario Business Corporations Act, there are several resources available to you. 

Firstly, the official website of the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services provides comprehensive information about the OBCA, including a guide to incorporating a business under the act. This guide includes detailed instructions on how to prepare and file articles of incorporation, as well as information on the rights and obligations of corporations under the OBCA.

In addition to government resources, there are several professional associations and legal firms that specialize in corporate law and can provide expert advice on the OBCA. These organizations can be valuable source of information and guidance, particularly if you are looking to incorporate a complex business structure or require assistance with ongoing compliance and reporting requirements.

Finally, there are many books and online resources that provide a detailed overview of the OBCA and its provisions. Some recommended titles include “Ontario Business Corporations Act: Annotated,” “Canadian Business Corporations Law,” and “Ontario Corporations Law Guide.” 

Regardless of your source of information, it is important to remember that the OBCA is a complex and evolving body of law that requires careful consideration and expert advice. As such, it is always advisable to seek out professional assistance when incorporating a business or dealing with issues related to corporate governance or compliance. 


Q: What is the difference between the OBCA and the federal Canada Business Corporations Act?

A: The OBCA applies to businesses incorporated in Ontario, while the CBCA applies to businesses incorporated at the federal level in Canada.

Q: Are there any restrictions on who can incorporate under the OBCA?

A: No, any individual or group can incorporate under the OBCA, regardless of their residency or nationality.

Q: How long does the incorporation process take under the OBCA?

A: The time it takes to incorporate under the OBCA can vary depending on the complexity of the business structure, but it typically takes around two to three weeks.

Q: Do I need to have a lawyer to incorporate under the OBCA?

A: It is not required to have a lawyer, but it is recommended to seek legal advice to ensure compliance with all legal requirements and to properly draft the articles of incorporation.

Q: Can I change my corporation’s name after incorporating under the OBCA?

A: Yes, a corporation can change its name at any time after incorporating under the OBCA, as long as the new name is available and not already in use by another business.

Q: Are there any ongoing filing requirements for corporations incorporated under the OBCA?

A: Yes, corporations must file annual returns and maintain proper records and minutes of meetings in compliance with the OBCA. Failure to do so can result in penalties and fines.

Q: How can I dissolve my corporation under the OBCA?

A: Corporations can be dissolved voluntarily or involuntarily under the OBCA. Voluntary dissolution requires a special resolution and filing of the appropriate forms, while involuntary dissolution can occur due to failure to comply with legal requirements or bankruptcy.


In conclusion, the Ontario Business Corporations Act (OBCA) provides a comprehensive framework for incorporating and managing businesses in Ontario. With its clear and practical provisions, the OBCA offers businesses many benefits, including limited liability protection, increased access to funding, and streamlined governance structures. 

Whether you are a startup or an established business, understanding and complying with the OBCA can help you navigate the legal complexities of operating a business in Ontario. So if you are thinking of incorporating your business, make sure to consult with a lawyer or professional advisor who is knowledgeable about the OBCA and its requirements. By doing so, you can ensure that your business is set up for success and is positioned to grow and thrive in the competitive Ontario business environment.

Leave a Comment