In 2017, the then Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care issued a Hospital Naming Directive ("Naming Directive") setting out naming criteria and approval processes that all Ontario Hospitals were required to follow to change their corporate name or obtain a new business name.

Effective December 18, 2019, the Naming Directive has been revoked. Ontario Hospitals are no longer required to obtain Ministry of Health ("Ministry") approval prior to adopting a new corporate or business name. Corporate and business names remain subject to corporate law requirements and intellectual property rights.

While the Naming Directive is no longer in effect, the Ministry has requested cooperation from public Hospitals in meeting certain Ministry expectations related to Hospital naming activities, as follows:

  • Hospitals should have a naming policy to ensure a consistent approach to the adoption of corporate and business names;

  • Hospitals should engage in meaningful consultation with stakeholders and the community regarding the adoption of a proposed name;

  • Decisions to adopt a new corporate or business name in recognition of philanthropy should be made where the level of philanthropy corresponds with the value of the asset;

  • Agreements for the adoption of a corporate or business name should not include terms that a Hospital will use the name indefinitely; and

  • Hospitals are to continue to notify the Ministry of anticipated adoption of a new corporate or business name(s).

In light of these changes, Hospitals should review and update donor recognition and fundraising policies previously amended to align with the Naming Directive and/or adopt internal naming policies if not already in place.

If you are contemplating a name change, new business names and/or fundraising campaigns and donor recognition, the Miller Thomson Health Industry Group is on call to support your legal needs.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.