The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (the “Ministry”) has issued a memorandum requesting that all public hospitals in Ontario consult with the Ministry when considering changes to their legal, business or operating names. It is unclear at this time whether this request applies also to business and operating names of specific programs and initiatives. Hospitals should be on notice that this is a change to the current practice.

It is our understanding that the Ministry is in the process of developing the criteria according to which name change requests will be considered. However, at this time there are no guidelines available on the consultation process.

Once the new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 (Ontario) (the “New Act”) comes into force, Hospitals will be required to seek the prior approval of the Ministry to change their legal name. As reported in our September 28, 2015 Health Communique, the New Act has been further delayed and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services will provide 24 months’ notice before it is proclaimed into force. The new Ministry name consultation requirement has been introduced in anticipation of this pending change of law to ensure consistency in naming practices.