The New BC Societies Act

By Bilal Kathrada

bilal-clearline-chartered-accountants-300x200Canadians are generally giving people. Canada is home to roughly 170,000 non-profit organizations and registered charities. Approximately 85,000 of those are registered charities with the Canada Revenue Agency. In British Columbia, a new Societies Act is coming into force effective November 28, 2016 (the current Societies Act is roughly fifty years old). All societies must file a transition application before November 28, 2018.

Here are some of the key items to note from the new BC Societies Act:


Disclosure of Remuneration – Most societies will be required to publicly disclosure the remuneration paid to directors, employees and contractors.

Public Access to Financial Statements – Certain societies will be required to produce their financial statements if requested from any member of the public.

Finance Statements and Audit Issues – Societies are still required to produce and present financial statements to the societies members at their annual general meeting. New note disclosure is required to disclose any financial assistance granted to third parties.

Member Funded Societies – Introduces a new category of society for societies that exist primarily for the benefit of the members of that society rather than the broader public. Allows these more private societies certain exemptions.

Director Remuneration – Remuneration for directors must be authorized in the bylaws of the society. And, majority of the directors of a society must not receive/be entitled to remuneration from the society under contracts of employment/services.

Director Qualifications

  • Every director of a society must:
    • Be at least 18 years old;
    • Not be found by any Court to be incapable of managing his/her own affairs;
    • Not be an undischarged bankrupt;
    • Not be convicted of a fraudulent offence in connection with the promotion/formation/management of a corporation or unincorporated entity.

If you’re not sure what this means for you and your society, please contact your Clearline advisor to discuss how the new BC Societies Act may impact your Society.