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One Year Remaining for BC Societies Act Transitions

Posted on Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017

November 28, 2017 marks the mid-point of the two-year transition period for the new British Columbia Societies Act, which came into force in November 2016. The new Act substantially updates and improves the governance framework for non-profit organizations in B.C., and all BC societies need to take steps to comply with the new Act.

During the first year of the transition period, 6,526 of the approximate 27,000 societies in B.C. completed their transitions (24.2%). The other 20,000 societies have one year remaining to complete the transition. Societies that do not transition by November 28, 2018 will be dissolved in due course – so organizations that have not yet started the transition process should begin soon.

Societies can transition to the new Act through Societies Online, the new electronic filing system from BC Registries and Online Services. In order to use Societies Online, societies will first need to “onboard” or register. Societies should have received an onboarding letter in fall 2016, providing their unique Registry Key password.

Once the onboarding is completed, a society can file its Transition Application and other corporate filings through Societies Online. Our office received the onboarding letters for our corporate clients, and will attend to the onboarding process for them.

The new Act applies to a society whether or not it has transitioned, and overrules existing bylaws that are inconsistent with the new Act. New requirements that apply immediately include the obligation for society’s financial statements to set out remuneration paid to employees and contractors (greater than $75,000) and to directors. Information on the new Act, including Frequently Asked Questions, can be found here.

We recommend clients use the transition period to revise and update their corporate documents and governance structure generally. Merely uploading the existing constitution and bylaws through Societies Online is not sufficient to comply with the new Act. For more information on the New Act or assistance in transitioning to the New Act, contact Ken Volkenant, Luke Johnson, Aaron Oh or Britney Newbigging at De Jager Volkenant & Company.

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