A Really Mad Corporate Law Clerk

On my last blog I wrote about the much needed and exciting updates to the corporate filing system in Ontario.  I guess we can’t be as hopeful as one thought.

Of course, as with any new systems, there are hiccups that are to be expected.  However, it’s not just me that feels that it has been extreme.  The launch of the new online business registry has caused many law firms headaches. 

Just recently, as many as 16 major law firms in Toronto have told Doug Ford and his Government and Consumer Services Minister that the system is flawed to the point of being almost unusable. 

As the Sr. Law Clerk in our firm, I can tell you that it has been nothing but headaches and hair pulling on our end.  That said, when it works, it works. 

The major complaint for these firms, and for our offices, is the amount times the systems is shutdown.  This has been the most frustrating for the firms.  Trust us, our generation understands that every new online filing system will have issues to be sorted out, but this has been extreme.  It’s almost like that the government pushed up the release on the launch before they had the major kinks out.  On top of that, when the new system launched, they closed the major offices in Ontario so we no longer have any recourse to do a paper filing.  I’m not so sure that that was the best thing to do.  

Another major complaint, and the one that really causes headaches almost to the point of migraines, is the lack of formatting.  Firms, and clients, are used to the form style, especially for Articles of Incorporation and most particularly, the Notice of Change.  These forms are no longer is set out in a manner that is easy to read.  The old way of forms may be old school, but they were also set out in a manner in which you could understanding what you were looking at.  Imagine having a major corporation with many classes of common, special and preference shares, and then have all of the rights and restrictions attached to each class as one big block paragraph with no separation at all.  It really has been cumbersome. 

As a result of the issues, the firms told the Minister that couldn’t recommend to their clients that they incorporate in Ontario, that is how frustrating the system has become.

The Minister defended the system, but in repose to the complaints, the system experienced yet another shutdown to upgrade.  While it was to be up and running by the next business day, it was not and firms were met with yet another delay in filing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am excited about a system that will be quicker for our clients and for our firm, but the frustration level has been extreme on our end.  Robin K. Mann of our firm has told me that she can’t believe how much patience I have for the system.  I’m just trying to have faith that this will all work out in the end. 

Christine Allan, Law Clerk