A draft of the new Societies Act is coming before the BC Legislature during this sitting. Section 99 of the proposed Act would allow any member of the public or a corporation to bring legal action against a society on the basis that it is acting against an undefined “public interest”?
Board Voice is urging members to meet with your MLA to discuss how this change could negatively impact the 27,000+ non-profits in British Columbia, and the 100,000+ volunteer Board Directors who donate millions of hours towards the causes they believe in.
Non-profits are the glue that binds the social fabric of BC together and Section 99 threatens to unravel it. Meet, call, write!
- According to the government’s own consultation document, the proposed provision is unprecedented. Since the release of the White Paper, 7,000 submissions were received – the vast majority indicating concerns with Sections 98 and 99 of the draft legislation.
- Volunteers, on very limited budgets, run the majority of British Columbia’s societies without experience with the law or the resources to hire lawyers. Section 99 has the potential to intimidate many societies and divert resources away from the valuable work done by societies.
- People may decide not to serve as volunteer directors with the result that some societies may cease to exist and the valuable services they bring to communities end.
- BC courts are already overburdened.
- Transparency and accountability are important, however, the public interest is already protected by the laws that govern charities and through contract terms when organizations receive public money.
Review our What Can You Do About Section 99 document.
- Meet with your MLA and discuss why Section 99 should be removed from the draft Bill.
- Tell them why, as a volunteer board director, you believe this unprecedented proposal to invite litigation should be removed from the Bill.
- Review and bring along a copy of Board Voice’s Brief to MLA’s regarding changes to Society Act’.
- If you can’t meet, then call or write to share your concern. Our MLA’s need to know that we are not in favour of burdening non-profit societies with increased vulnerability to litigation. MLA Sample letter re- Societies Act