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Societies Act

The Societies Act (Bill 24) was first introduced by the BC Governement on March 25, 2015.

It passed all three readings and recieved Royal Assent on May 14, 2015.

What does it do?

The current Society Act outlines the rules that govern B.C.'s approximately 27,000 societies. Societies are non-profit corporations organized primarily for social purposes. They range from small community-based organizations to large charitable foundations.

The new Societies Act will repeal and replace the existing Society Act, RSBC 1996, c. 433, and modernize and update the rules for the incorporation and governance of not-for-profit organizations.

The primary goals are to provide for:
- Flexibility in allowing societies to craft a particular governance model that works best for them
- Public accountability
- Simple, accessible rules
- Minimization of regulation

The new Act is the result of extensive research and consultation. The ministry received feedback from the public, consumer groups and business, and legal representatives.

Is it in force?

Partially.  

Sections 264, 269, 275, 277, 278, 280, 289, 290, 296, 300, 323, 326, 339, 350, 355, 366 came into force upon Royal Assent - May 14, 2015.  These make consequential amendments to other acts.

However, the majority of the act (sections 1 to 263, 265 to 268, 270 to 274, 276, 279, 281 to 288, 291 to 295, 297 to 299, 301 to 322, 324, 325, 327 to 338, 340 to 349, 351 to 354 and 356 to 365) will be brought into force on November 28, 2016, by BC Reg. 216/2015. 

The commencement provisions, listed by section, can be found in section 366

How can I cite it?

Societies Act, SBC 2015, c. 18.   

Are there any regulations?

Yes. 

B.C. Reg. 216/2015 repeals the Society Act Regulations (B.C. Reg. 4/78) and replaces it with the Societies Regulation.

B.C. Reg. 217/2015 brings in the Societies Transitional Interim Regulation.

They come into effect on November 28, 2016, along with the new Societies Act

Can I see a history of Bill 24's progress?

You can see how the bill proceeded through the legislature by using the table on this Progress of Bills page (just scroll to Bill 24) on the Legislative Assembly of BC website.

If you want a closer look, you can look at the Votes and Proceedings page for day-by-day breakdowns of legislative activity. 

What about the transition between the old Act and the new one? 

The Act contains transitional provisions in Part 16.

Do you have the BC Law Institute report that were incorporated in the new Act? 

Report on Proposals for a New Society Act. BCLI Report No. 51. 2008 (available in Vancouver and Victorial Courthouse Libraries).

Where can I read more background? 

BCLI Society Act Backgrounder No. 1. 2006. Introduction to Society Act Reform Project.

BCLI Society Act Backgrounder No. 2. 2007.  Consultation Paper on Proposals for a New Society Act.

BCLI Society Act Backgrounder No. 3. 2008.  Report on Proposals for a New Society Act.

Ministry of Finance. 2011. Society Act Discussion Paper.

Ministry of Finance. 2014. Societies Act White Paper: Draft Legislation with Annotations, August 2014. 

posted February 2016

WANT A REFRESHER ON THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS?

Check out How a Bill Becomes Law in BC

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