New BC Societies Act is coming

There are changes in the wind that will affect all non-profit charities in the province of BC.

The new Societies Act (S.B.C. 2015 c.18) received Royal Assent on May 14, 2015.  It provides rules for the incorporation and governance of approximately 27,000 societies in British Columbia.  Once in force, the new legislation will be the first substantial change to the current legal regime which has been in place since 1977.  It should be noted that this new Societies Act is not yet in place, but will come into legislation some time in 2016, perhaps as early as January.

Transition of Existing Societies

An existing society will be able to transition by electronically filing with the British Columbia Registrar of Companies (Registrar) a transition application that will include:

  • a new constitution with only the name and purposes of the society;
  • the consolidated bylaws of the society; and
  • a statement listing the current directors and the registered office of the society.

All other provisions currently found in the constitution must be moved into the bylaws. Further, the new Societies Act abolishes the concept of unalterable provisions.

As well a new category of member-funded societies (MFS) will be created.  This category is intended for societies that exist solely for the benefit of their members and do not receive significant public funding.  Current members of the BCACMS would not fall into this category.

More information is available at The new British Columbia Societies Act: what happens next?,  also Vantage Point’s article BC Society Act Alert

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