Ontario’s business law statutes could be more innovative


The provincial government should be going further than simply trying to keep pace with corporate legislation in other jurisdictions, Toronto business lawyer Bill Northcote tells Law Times.

Northcote makes his comments in an article about the recently released report, "Business Law Agenda: Priority Findings & Recommendations Report."

As the article notes, the government announced via a report in the 2015-16 provincial budget that it will be looking at Ontario’s business law statutes, noting that “a comprehensive review of business legislation to ensure that Ontario is competitive hasn’t been done for some time.”

Northcote, chair of Shibley Righton LLP’s business law practice group, tells the legal publication that the province is lagging behind other jurisdictions.

“Ontario is in a catch-up stage of its legislation rather than leading change,” he says in the article. “I would have liked to have seen the government be a little bit more innovative than they are."

For example, Northcote tells Law Times that British Columbia and many U.S. states now allow benefit corporations intended to achieve a public purpose, such as alleviating poverty or protecting the environment. Clothing manufacturer Patagonia Inc. is one such corporation, he says, but Ontario legislation doesn’t include them.

The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services will be accepting feedback on the report until Oct. 16.

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