BC Societies Act Consultation

Authored by Deina Warren

The British Columbia Ministry of Finance is looking for input on proposed amendments to the Societies Act.[1]

The Societies Act came into force on November 28, 2016 and since that time the government has been monitoring the implementation and application of the Act, as explained in a letter from the Deputy Minister. Various outreach activities prompted feedback which the Ministry has incorporated into the proposed amendments.

The goal of the 36 amendments is to eliminate ambiguity and inconsistency, address omissions, streamline and update processes, and remove burdensome filing requirements.

Among other things, the amendments propose to:

  • Provide more accurate definitions; for example:
    • “General meeting” requiring notice will be limited to meetings where corporate business transactions take place; informal gatherings will be exempt (s 1)
    • Clarify which type of meeting (general or directors’) is being referred to in specific sections (s 20(1)(i), 105(1)(d), 108(1)(b), 115(3), 119(1))
  • Update Board responsibilities and qualifications; for example:
    • Allow requalification for individuals who were once incapable of managing their own affairs but who are now capable (s 44)
    • Permit incorrectly listed directors to apply directly to the registrar to be removed (s 51)
    • Provide an excuse for unknown conflict of interest (s 56)
  • Exclude bequests by affiliated individuals from the category of “public donations” so they do not affect a society’s ability to be a member-funded society (s 190)
  • Expand remuneration reporting to include all employees or contractors paid more than $75,000 (currently only 10 highest paid are reported) (s 36(1)(b))
  • Allow late transition applications (those filed after November 28, 2018) (s 240)
  • Grant the Registrar power to dissolve a society for failing to file a transition application or returning a requested record (s 214)

Societies, their members, the legal community and the public are invited and encouraged to participate. Feedback can be submitted electronically or by paper. The deadline for feedback was August 23, 2019. Links to the proposed amendments, the Deputy Minister’s letter and the Societies Act Consultation page have been taken down. For general information on BC Societies, see Societies and The New Societies Act and Transition.

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[1] SBC 2015 c 18

Noteworthy is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Every organization’s circumstances are unique. Before acting on the basis of information contained in this blog, readers should consult with a qualified lawyer for advice specific to their situation.