Are you a social worker or social service worker who is interested in establishing a professional corporation in Ontario?
Under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act (SWSSWA), its bylaws and the Business Corporations Act, members of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers are permitted to incorporate for the purpose of practising social work or social service work. To do so, College members must adhere to all conditions and requirements in both the Business Corporations Act and the College bylaws (Bylaw No. 46) which includes obtaining a Certificate of Authorization from the College.
Important Note: The College does not provide any legal, accounting, tax or financial advice related to the professional corporations and the issuance or renewal of Certificates of Authorization. We recommend that members of the College seek appropriate professional advice to decide whether to practise social work or social service work through a professional corporation.
General overview of professional corporations
The Business Corporations Act allows a number of regulated professionals, including social workers and social service workers, to incorporate their practices in Ontario.
Although framework legislation is in effect, the ability to practise by means of a professional corporation will depend on whether the profession in question has had the necessary regulations and bylaws enacted.
For further information about professional corporations, please visit the ServiceOntario website.
How do I establish a professional corporation?
College members who intend to incorporate must first apply for a professional corporation name and incorporate with the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS). These steps must be completed before applying for a Certificate of Authorization with the College.
The following steps outline the general process to obtain a Certificate of Authorization, which permits College members to practise social work or social service work through a professional corporation:
STEP ONE: Apply for a professional corporation name
College members must first apply for a professional corporation name by strictly following the Business Corporations Act naming convention. Please note that this must be done before incorporating with the MGCS.
Naming convention for a professional corporation
The name of the professional corporation must include the surname of one or more shareholders of the corporation, as the surname is set out in the College’s Online Register. The name of the corporation may also include the shareholder’s given name, one or more of the shareholder’s initials or a combination of given name and initials. Please note that all shareholders must be registered members with the College.
In addition, the name must include “Social Work Professional Corporation” / “travail social” or “Social Service Work Professional Corporation”/ “techniques de travail social”. The College will confirm if it objects to the establishment of a professional corporation under the proposed name.
Should a corporation propose to practise under a name other than its professional corporate name, evidence that the corporation has registered the practice name which is to be used by the corporation under the Business Names Act must be provided to the College.
If a professional corporation practises in a name other than its corporate name, the professional corporation shall include its corporate name in all written, electronic and other communications.
STEP TWO: Incorporate with the MGCS
After selecting a professional corporation name, College members must then incorporate with the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS). For assistance incorporating with the MGCS, please contact the Companies Branch Help line at (416) 314-8880 or toll free at 1-800-361-3223 or at www.mgs.gov.on.ca.
STEP 3: Apply for a Certificate of Authorization with the College
College members interested in the process of incorporation must review and complete the applicable forms, which can be accessed on the College website.
The application fee for a Certificate of Authorization is $500. To be issued a Certificate of Authorization, the following documents are required as part of the application form:
- Completed application for proposed name (if applicable)
- Undertaking signed by each shareholder
- Statutory declaration of director
- Certificate of status issued by the MGCS
- Copy of Certificate of Incorporation
- A copy of every certificate of the corporation endorsed under the Business Corporations Act on the day the application is submitted (i.e. articles of incorporation, articles of amendment, etc.)
The College strongly recommends that applicants review all instructions found in the Certificate of Authorization Application Package before filing for incorporation.
For legal or accounting questions, College members are advised to seek advice from an appropriate professional. The College does not provide any legal, accounting, tax or financial advice.
For questions regarding the College’s professional incorporation process, please visit our Professional Incorporation webpage.
Quick Facts About Professional Incorporations
- Under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, a professional corporation cannot practise social work or social service work without a Certificate of Authorization issued by the College.
- A social work professional corporation may only carry on the business of social work practice.
- A social service work professional corporation may only carry on the business of social service work practice.
- Shareholders and directors of a social work professional corporation must all be registered social workers with the College.
- Shareholders and directors of social service work professional corporations must be registered social service workers with the College.
- Certificates of Authorization for a professional corporation must be renewed on an annual basis with the College.