How to Obtain a Copy of a Not For Profit Company in Ontario

not for profit business owner

Originally Published: Oct 8, 2018

We often have clients call, who started their Not For Profit or charitable corporations a number of years ago or have taken over as a director or officer and are having trouble locating the corporations records. Previously called the Letters Patent, the Articles of Incorporation for all Ontario Not for Profit incorporations are kept within the archives of the Ontario Business Registry and can be obtained if the originals have been misplaced.

All entities registered under the Ontario Not for Profit Corporations Act would be provided with a Certificate of Incorporation and Articles, although the look of this document has evolved over time. These are official records for the registration and are a static document, meaning once created it remains the same over time, regardless of changes such as directors and registered office updates. 

How to Search a Not For Profit Business Name

If you already know the name of the entity, that is all we would need to search and obtain the corporations records. But, if you are unsure what the exact registered name is, or if the name has changed over time, we can assist with finding the current or original name and sending you the Letters Patent or Articles of Incorporation on file with the corporate registry.

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Do the Articles Change Over Time?

No, the Articles of Incorporation are the official records of the establishment of the entity and only show the original filing details. As an example, if the corporation was established in 1982, but there have been changes over time to the directors and officers listed on the corporation, the articles do not reflect these changes. The official records show the original incorporators and board of directors who created the organization. 

If a Nonprofit corporation had a name change at any point, we can also access records to show this change. This filing was previously called Supplementary Letters Patent and is now called Not for Profit Articles of Amendment. If what you are looking for is actually the current information on file, this is called a ‘corporate profile report’. A profile report reflects any change of directors and registered office address listed, which would have been filed through a Notice of Change and presents what is listed on the Ontario Business Registry. The profile report will also list the documents filed for the entity, including all Annual Return and special resolution filings.

How Long Does it Take to Obtain the Incorporation Documents?

Once a request for a copy of Not for Profit Articles of Incorporation is received, the request is submitted and the processing times can take up to 10 business days to be pulled from the archives of the corporate registry. The Ministry does not offer the option to expedite this request, but once the documents are available, they are sent electronically for your records. The Ontario registry key is not required to gain access to records, as all Ontario nonprofits are publicly searchable.

Can the Documents be Certified?

The Ministry now offers the option to certify the official records. The certification comes in the form of a cover page, indicating that it is a true certified copy and specifies the number of pages contained in the package. Certified Letters Patent or Articles of Incorporation are sometimes required for certain filings with other provinces, to apply for some types of government funding or for applying for charitable registration with the Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Directorate.   

What is Included in the Official Records of a Nonprofit Corporation?

All not-for-profit and charitable corporations in Ontario are registered under the Ontario Not for Profit Corporations Act. As an incorporated entity, when it is first registered, the nonprofit corporation would receive a Certificate of Incorporation and Articles of Incorporation. The number of pages contained in the documents can vary, depending on the number of directors and officers listed, as well as the length of the wording listed for the objectives and special provisions. Registered charities are required to include additional special provisions subjecting them to different terms than a non-charitable corporation. 

For nonprofit corporations filed manually, the NUANS name reservations are also typically kept on file with the official records, and any Notice of Change filed before 1992 would also be kept within the records. It is not possible to see all of the documents included within the corporations records until a copy of this is received.

How Much Does it Cost?

Online Order
We offer the service of ordering and obtaining the official records on your behalf. Our filing fee on top of the government fee is $99 +taxes and handling fees.

Ontario Business Central has been retrieving corporate filings for clients for over 25 years.

If you would like to order a copy of the Not For Profit Articles of Incorporation or Letters Patent, please click on the link below to provide details and payment. We will order the microfiche on a same day basis and as soon as the microfiche becomes available, take a copy of the articles and send them to you.

Our staff is available to assist you with any questions you may have related to ordering a copy of the articles and can assist you to determine the correct legal name prior to ordering the documents when necessary.

Order Your Articles

Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our staff for additional information and assistance.
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Ontario Business Central Inc. is not a law firm and cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of registration within the chosen jurisdiction. It is always recommended, when you have legal or accounting questions that you speak to a qualified professional.