Perhaps sparked into action by the federal government and/or the government in Ontario, the provincial government in BC is currently undertaking a review of the Society Act that governs not-for-profit sport organizations. Some details are posted on the BC Ministry of Finance website but there has been no update (as of September 2012) as to when or if amendments to the Act will be tabled for review by the legislature.
A discussion paper about the proposed amendments was been posted and the government invited comments from BC non-profit organizations up until April 30th, 2012. One major report filed in response to the discussion paper was from the BC Law Institute – which compared the discussion paper with sections from its own review of the Society Act.
Though the provincial legislation is different than the federal legislation, and the changes have not yet been proposed as a Bill, here is a brief list of some of the important issues that may be relevant for sport organizations in BC:
- Special resolutions. Currently, special resolutions require 75% of the member vote. Under the proposed changes, they would require only 66% of the member vote.
- Non-voting members. Currently, non-voting members are allowed but they must not outnumber the voting members. Under the proposed changes, the limitation on non-voting members would be removed.
- One Member / One Vote. Currently, members of the organization are only permitted a single vote. One suggested amendment would permit voting flexibility where votes could be properly assigned to delegates. This change would permit, for example, PSOs to assign more votes to larger club members.
- Member AGM proposals. Currently, organizations are not required to accept member-proposed agenda items at an AGM. Under the proposed changes, members must be provided with a mechanism to add items to an AGM’s agenda.
- 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). Under the proposed changes, basic minimum qualifications would be required.
- Financial statements. Currently, public societies (most sport organizations) are allowed to prepare simple financial summary statements that the public can access. Under the proposed changes, the public would be required to have access to the organization’s detailed financial statements.
- Employees as directors or officers. Under the proposed changes, an employee of an organization would not be allowed to act as a director or officer of the organization.
Other proposed changes support indemnifying directors and officers, providing clearer procedures for amalgamating organizations (such as merging local associations), adding more judicial remedies for problems within an organization, requiring organizations to have an internal dispute resolution process, and removing the requirement of an audit.
Though the amendments still have not been proposed as a Bill, sport organizations in BC can pay close attention to the developments with the Federal NFP Act and the Ontario NFP Act so that there are few surprises when it is BC’s turn to transition.
Feel free to contact us at the Sport Law & Strategy Group for advice on how best to prepare your organization.