The provincial government in BC hosted consultation sessions and received over 200 unique submissions about what to change with the Society Act – the legislation under which not-for-profit organizations (including sport organizations) in BC are incorporated. The result is the new Societies Act – or Bill 24 – which has passed third reading in the legislature and is expected to come into force in late 2016.
Once the Act comes into force, organizations in BC will have two years to transition to compliance with the new legislation. This transition period is a year shorter than the time given to federal and Ontario organizations for their transition to their respective new legislation.
Perhaps the biggest change for BC sport organizations is that they may be considered “member-funded societies” depending on if they receive less than a specific amount of funding from public sources (e.g., the government). The exact threshold for “member-funded societies” has not yet been determined. A member-funded society is not required to submit financial statements to members or disclose its remuneration for Directors or employees – which are both new requirements of the new Act. The threshold will be determined when the Act’s regulations are published.
Here is a short list of some of the important issues that will be relevant for sport organizations in BC:
- Special resolutions. Currently, special resolutions require 75% of the member vote. In the new Act, they will require only 66% of the member vote.
- Non-voting members. Currently, non-voting members are allowed but they must not outnumber the voting members. In the new Act, the limitation on non-voting members is removed.
- Voting for Directors – The new Act permits a unique arrangement where an organization can assign voting rights to elect a specific Director to only members with a certain attribute. For example, members who identify as athletes can be the only members permitted to vote for an ‘Athlete Director’.
- Member AGM proposals. Currently, organizations are not required to accept member-proposed agenda items at an AGM. In the new Act, members are permitted to propose an agenda item (such as a bylaws amendment) provided it is signed by 5% of the voting members and is not overly similar to a previous proposal.
- Directors’ and officers’ qualifications. Currently, it is not required that directors and officers have minimum requirements for their position (such as being 18 years old). In the new Act, basic minimum qualifications are required.
- Financial statements and remuneration. If an organization is not determined to be a member-funded society, it will be required to disclose financial statements or the auditor’s report (in a format that will be specified by the regulations) to the members. Organizations will also be required to disclose remuneration for Directors and employees (without identifying information) if such remuneration is above a certain amount. The amount will be specified in the regulations.
Knowledge about the new Societies Act is still evolving and more will be known once the Act’s regulations are released. We will update this page regularly with new information and archive our writings on the topic below. BC organizations may also be able to learn lessons from the governance restructuring that was completed at the federal level and is ongoing in Ontario.
- BC Societies Act – Big Changes Ahead for BC sport organizations (May 2015)
- Sport Law & Strategy Group Assists Close to 100 Sport Organizations in their NFP Act Transition (October 2014)
- NFP Act After-Care – Tasks after Transitioning to Compliance (April 2014)
- Absentee Voting Survey Results (September 2013)
- Why the new federal NFP Act is important to PSOs (February 2012)
- Some Thoughts on Governance Reform (January 2011)