The Societies Amendment Act, 2021 amends the Societies Act which came into force in 2016. The new Act provides societies with a responsive legislative framework, giving them greater adaptability in their internal governance, while also ensuring transparency and accountability. The purpose of the proposed amendments is to address various issues that have come to light since the Act came into force. These proposed amendments will refine the Societies Act by making it more accessible, addressing uncertainties and omissions, and creating consistency within the Act and with other legislation.
The Societies Act provides the legislative framework for the creation and governance of British Columbia societies. Societies are not-for-profit corporations, organized for a wide range of purposes from charitable to educational, and environmental to recreational and prohibited from distributing profits to their members. There are over 29,000 societies in our province. Societies vary significantly in size, ranging from small volunteer-run associations to large professional-run charities. More than ever, they play a vital role in our communities – from health and housing services, to sports, cultural and other community-based activities, to environmental and social advocacy. The pandemic has highlighted the important role these community minded organizations play in keeping us connected, providing mental health supports, and supporting those struggling with income or food insecurity. Supporting BC societies with robust and modern legislation will further efforts to build communities with the resilience required by today’s challenges.