Carol Hansell, the Founder and Senior Partner of Hansell LLP, has been appointed chair of the Ontario government’s new Business Law Advisory Council.
The Ontario government has appointed Hansell LLP co-founder Carol Hansell, a corporate governance expert, as chair of its new Business Law Advisory Council.
The Council was created pursuant to the recommendations of the Business Law Agenda Stakeholder Panel, of which Hansell was a member. The Panel’s June 2015 report called for continuous review and modernization of the province’s corporate and commercial laws. Going forward, the Council will make recommendations to reform law in a manner that is responsive to changing business priorities and supportive of the economy.
The Ontario government’s new business law advisory council will develop changes to limited partnership laws and shareholder rights rules to help attract companies to Ontario and modernize the province’s business legislation, says inaugural chair Carol Hansell.
Ms. Hansell, a Toronto securities lawyer, has been appointed to head the new council, which has a mandate to recommend reforms to legislation governing how businesses operate in Ontario.
The council was created in response to a recommendation in a 2015 report by a committee of lawyers and business experts – including Ms. Hansell – who were asked to develop priorities for business law reform in the province. Their report, submitted in July, said Ontario should have a permanent council that will ensure the province’s business laws remain modern and competitive with other jurisdictions.
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Ms. Hansell said the council has not met yet to develop its initial agenda, but said many of the first issues it considers will come from other priorities identified in last year’s report.
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“One of the things we want to do is make Ontario the jurisdiction of choice when you’re doing anything corporate or commercial, and at the moment a lot of people will go to other Canadian jurisdictions,” Ms. Hansell said.
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“There are some issues that have been in the way of Ontario being a jurisdiction of choice, and one good example is our Limited Partnership Act. It’s not as clear as partnership acts are in other jurisdictions about the liability to which limited partners can be exposed.”
Ms. Hansell said the council will also examine proposals to give so-called “beneficial” owners of shares all the same rights as registered shareholders.
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“The intention is to be very collaborative with other organizations who have perspectives on what needs to be changed and try to shape an agenda of recommendations that will allow us to deal with some of the more obvious things in the early part of the term of the council and deal with more complex matters as we move through the piece.”
York University and Osgoode Hall law School have noted that five members of the council are Osgoode alumni.