BC’s New Societies Act: The Basics

May 18, 2016

After 10 years in the making[1], BC’s new Societies Act will coming into force on November 28th, 2016. The Societies Act, SBC 2015 c.18 will replace the Society Act, RSBC 1996, c.433.

The BC government has stated that its goals for the new legislation are to improve flexibility; public accountability; simple, accessible rules; and minimized regulation[2].

The new legislation makes sweeping changes to the rules that govern societies. We’ll be digging deeper into those changes in an upcoming post in this series, but here are a few of the notable changes:

Reduces the regulatory burden for some types of societies and increases regulation for others

  • Introduces mandatory electronic filing
  • Clarifies record-keeping obligations
  • Makes changes to classes of membership and voting rules

BC Registry Services has published a very helpful table that explains the impact of the Societies Act on pre-existing societies here.

When the new legislation comes into force, currently registered societies will have two years to transition to compliance under the Societies Act. “Transition” means moving your society’s bylaws and constitution onto the new electronic filing system. Transition must be complete by November 28, 2018[3].

NB: Societies that don’t complete the transition during the 2-year period may be dissolved after the period expires[4].

[1] http://www.bcli.org/societies-act-coming-into-force-in-november-2016

[2 http://bcnpha.ca/wp_bcnpha/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/BCNPHA-Analysis-Society-Act.pdf

[3] http://www.bcregistryservices.gov.bc.ca/bcreg/societiesact/index.page

[4] http://prrd.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/page/community-groups/PRRD-Presentation-on-Societies-2015.pdf – page 25

Key documents:

Please note that this article is offered only for general informational and educational purposes. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or opinion.

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