Introduction to Transitioning an Existing Society
If you work at a non-profit society in British Columbia or sit on a board of directors, the new Societies Act affects your world as of November 28, 2016. Here are 10 changes in the new Act that you should know about:
1. There is greater access to a society’s records
Under the new Societies Act, members have greater access to a society’s records. The Act spells out the records a society must keep, including a register of members, minutes of members’ and directors’ meetings, accounting records, and financial statements.
By default under the Act, members are entitled to inspect all records of the society (as are directors). For some records, member access can be restricted. For example, a society’s bylaws can restrict members’ access to accounting records.
The public is entitled to receive a copy of a society’s financial statements and auditor’s report if requested. A society can choose to grant access to the public to more of its records. The only record that is excluded from public accessibility is the society’s register of members.
|Records a society must keep include these records (this list is not exhaustive)||Director access||Member access||Public access|
|Register of members||Yes||Yes, though directors may restrict||No|
|Minutes of members’ meetings and copies of all ordinary and special resolutions||Yes||Yes||Bylaws may permit|
|Minutes of directors’ meetings and copies of all consent resolutions of directors||Yes||Yes, though bylaws may restrict (except relating to conflicts disclosures)||Bylaws may permit|
|Any disclosures by directors or senior managers of a conflict of interest||Yes||Yes||Bylaws may permit|
|Accounting records, including a record of each transaction materially affecting the society’s financial position||Yes||Yes, though bylaws may restrict||Bylaws may permit|
|Financial statements and any auditor’s report on the financial statements||Yes||Yes||Yes|