Conservatives defend troubled online registry that law firms say is hurting Ontario businesses

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Premier Doug Ford’s progressive Conservative government is defending its messy new online corporate registry that Bay Street law firms have warned could drive businesses out of Ontario.

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“What we’ve done is modernize a 30-year-old, paper-based process,” Ross Romano, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, told the legislature on Thursday.

As first disclosed by the Star, 16 of Canada’s top law firms have complained that the months-old Ontario Business Registry’s “system shutdowns, technical glitches and genuine problems” forced companies to incorporate out-of-province. Is doing.

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They banded together to fire a 12-page letter to Romano, noting that it is “negatively affecting our firms, customers and service providers” and “doing business in Ontario as usual”. but has a cooling effect.”

But the minister stressed that the online registry is an improvement over the old system that would require businesses to “literally fill out boxes of paperwork and then take these boxes of paperwork to service counters, wait in line, only from Monday.” Till Friday, nine till five.”

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“Now you can do a transaction in 16 seconds that used to take 16 weeks and you don’t have to hire a high-priced lawyer anymore,” he said.

Last Friday, the firms wrote to them to say that many of them are “now recommending to their attorneys and clients to avoid the creation or use of Ontario entities in corporate transactions, if possible.”

They said they were recommending registration with “federal entities or other provincial jurisdictions … so as not to jeopardize the successful completion of multiple year-end transactions.”

Missiles were signed: Aird & Burlis; Bennett Jones; Blake, Cassels and Graydon; Borden Ladner Gervais; Davis Ward Phillips & Wineburg; Denton; Fascan Martinou Dumoulin; Goodman; gouling; McCarthy Tetroult; Macmillan; Norton Rose Fulbright; Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt; Stickman Elliot; Tory; and Wildboar dellelas.

NDP MPP Catherine Fife (Waterloo) said Romano was “modernizing businesses outside Ontario.”

“Apart from the obvious political embarrassment for this government, it is really very important to get this right,” Murali said.

“Does it really sound like a province that is ‘open for business’ this premiere?” That said, in a shot at Ford’s much-anticipated booster slogan.

Developed by Terranet and operated by the Ontario government, the new registry system has processed more than 120,000 transactions since its launch on October 19.

fees Category From $25 to $150 to incorporate a business to $300 to register a nonprofit.

Law firms complain that systems crash during business hours and there are data-migration and document-formatting issues.

It seems to have had a mind of its own too – a draft renewal that seemed correct online gave a law firm a “confirmation … authorized by an attorney who retired from the firm seven years ago.”

Robert Benzie Starr is Queens Park’s bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie
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