Update on Proposed Changes to BC Society Act

Andrew Gage from the West Coast Environmental Law Society Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 4.52.02 PMattended a roundtable discussion on the proposed Societies Act in Vancouver on January 26th, led by Minister Michael De Jong.

Andrew reported that Minister De Jong ran the meeting himself and confirmed the changes to the Society Act would likely be introduced to the legislature in late March.

“He gave away little about what changes were being contemplated, but did hear from representatives from a range of societies, including us (Board Voice), and especially concerns about sections 98 and 99, as well as several other provisions,” said Andrew.

“He said that he would like to share information about the changes before the Bill is introduced, but could not promise to do so given their time-lines and the rules around the introduction of Bills.”

And according to an article written by Brendan Burns, Associate with Miller Thomson law firm who also attended the meeting, de Jong said that the Ministry of Finance received over 7,000 submissions during the consultation period which ended October 15, 2014.

“Minister de Jong commented that these submissions primarily commented on section 98 of the draft legislation, which provides members of a society with the right to go to court if they think they are oppressed or have been treated unfairly by the society, its directors or other members, and on section 99 of the draft legislation, which provides members of the general public with the right to seek a court remedy if a society is acting in a fraudulent or unlawful manner, or is otherwise not acting in the public interest” said Brendan.

And “while the new legislation could receive royal assent in 2015, the new legislation will likely not come into force until the new regulations are finalized.  Pursuant to the draft legislation existing societies will have a two-year transition period to file a transition application and to adopt the changes to their constitutions and bylaws required by the new legislation.”

by Tanis Dagert, Executive Coordinator, Board Voice