I wrote a post last November about amendments to the Ontario Business Corporations Act (the OBCA) that require corporations to main a registry of interests in real property. The following are my notes on an article entitled “Ontario dusts off the escheats rulebook – time to dust off your advice?” by Nora Rock at avoidaclaim.com dated June 14, 2017.
The changes to the OBCA are part of amendments to the law of escheat in Ontario.
There are two different processes, one for individuals who die without heirs, and the other for corporations that are dissolved at a time when they still own property. The former process is managed by the Public Guardian and Trustee. The latter process is managed by Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.
“[B]ids to reclaim corporate property are now limited to the three-year period after dissolution in most cases.”
The OBCA requirement to keep a register of “property interests” is broad. It might include
not only those properties for which the corporation holds the title but also any property in which it may have a security interest or on which it may have a mortgage or other charge (along with, presumably, the relevant copies of deeds, transfers, etc. and copies of the documents creating the charges).
The definition might also capture beneficial interests, which means that the trustee of a trust and the trust’s beneficiaries all would need to list any “property interest” held by the trust.
The register must be kept at the corporation’s registered offices.
The Crown can unilaterally cancel encumbrances on escheated property.
Where the Crown has given notice that it intends to “use” property that has escheated, the party who owned the property, to preserve its rights, must act quickly to apply for relief from forfeiture.