The Ministry of Finance of the Province of B.C. has announced that it is now officially reviewing British Columbia’s Society Act, the statute that provides rules for the registration and corporate governance of not-for-profit entities in British Columbia.

The purpose of the review is to identify and address any legislative obstacles that may prevent societies from functioning fully and efficiently, and ensure that the public interest is being protected. The government is seeking input from the public on any problems, gaps, inconsistencies or ambiguities in the Society Act and any reforms that the public would like considered. The Government has had the benefit of an extensive review of the Society Act by the BC Law Institute in a 2008 report recommending a new Society Act.

For example, the Government has identified two fundamental structural issues regarding the Society Act which are:

1. The nature of the corporate model most appropriate for societies and whether a sophisticated business law framework should be adopted; and

2. The extent to which the Society Act should contain regulatory provisions or other rules that constrain the operation of societies.

The Society Act review will likely consist of a number of consultation phases. In the first phase, the goal is to identify issues, priorities and objectives, and to explore possible structural frameworks.

The public is invited and encouraged to participate by commenting on the issues raised above, or other problems there may be with the current legislation, by April, 2010. It is the intention of the government to solicit as much input as possible.

For more detailed information, see http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/society_act_review.pdf