BC Societies – get ready for transition

The new Societies Act (BC) will come into force on November 28, 2016 and replace the existing governance rules of the current Society Act (BC), which applies to over 25,000 non-profit organizations in British Columbia.  Most of the provisions of the new Act will automatically apply to all pre-existing societies as of that date.

The new Act contemplates a two year period in which societies must then “transition” by restating the text of their Constitution and Bylaws to be in conformity with the new Act. During the period from November 28, 2016 until “transition” is completed, a society would not be permitted to make any intervening changes to its Constitution or Bylaws.  Also, certain provisions contained in the existing Bylaws may cease to have effect (if contrary to the new Act) even though the Bylaws have not yet been restated.

Pre-existing societies should consider early planning for transition, including:

a) verifying the current text of their Constitution and Bylaws;

b) considering what changes to those documents are necessary and consequential to the new Act;

c) considering what further substantive changes may be appropriate or desirable, given the flexibility now available in the new Act;

d) determining an appropriate timetable for early or later “transition” of the society; and

e) understanding the new electronic filing systems which will be in place with the office of the BC Registrar of Companies.

More information is available on the website of the BC Registrar of Companies here .

If you would like our firm’s assistance in understanding more about the new Act and how it may impact a pre-existing society, or in preparing for formal “transition” of a society, please contact Robert Pakrul of our firm  (bpakrul@ahbl.ca) or by calling 604-484-1720.