Proposed changes to the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act

The Government of Ontario is committed to reducing red tape and regulatory burden to help create good jobs and make it easier and more cost effective for organizations and businesses in Ontario.

Below is a summary of changes to the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act (AHOA) that the government plans to introduce in fall 2019.

These changes would not impact the government grants and tax exemptions available to agricultural and horticultural organizations.

Notice of Annual Meeting

Proposed removal of the requirement in subsection 10(3) of the AHOA that the notice of annual meetings must be both mailed and published. Organizations would have increased flexibility to decide on the method of providing the required notice to their members, and consequently organizations could save time and money.

Security Against Loss

Proposed removal of section 12 of the AHOA so that the treasurer will no longer be required to give security to cover any loss of funds for the organization and directors of the board will no longer be personally liable for loss. There are specific standards of care in the Corporations Act that already apply to directors and officers of agricultural and horticultural organizations and that also apply to other not-for-profit corporations. Nevertheless, organizations are still strongly encouraged to purchase liability insurance for their board members.

By-Laws of Organizations

Proposed removal of sections 31 and 40 of the AHOA regarding by-laws of agricultural and horticultural societies. Corporations have broad by-law making authority under the Corporations Act, which also applies to agricultural and horticultural organizations. As a result, sections 31 and 40 are not needed for agricultural and horticultural societies to create by-laws for awarding prizes or for the sale of goods or produce on their exhibition grounds.

Ontario Horticultural Association

Proposed removal of section 39 of the AHOA which prevents the Ontario Horticultural Association from creating minimum standards for membership. There is no similar provision for the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies.

Regulation of Horse Racing by Agricultural Societies

Proposed removal of clause 41 (a) of the AHOA which gives authority for the making of regulations to restrict horse racing activities of agricultural societies. There are currently no regulations under this authority. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) now has regulatory responsibilities for horse racing in Ontario, making this clause unnecessary.

For more information about these changes, contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre by email at or by phone at 1-877-424-1300.