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New Bylaws Modified From Member Feedback

Posted on September 2, 2014 in General News

Revised Society Bylaws to be Decided at AGM

For some time it has been apparent to those who pay attention to such things that our society bylaws are seriously out of date and need to be revised. In the past few months the board has been working on those revisions and are bringing a special resolution to the Annual General Meeting on September 23rd at 7:00 pm to revise them. A draft was circulated to members in July and feedback was solicited. We also re-examined the Societies Act to make sure we were in compliance. As a result we have made some further slight revisions. You are encouraged to read the final version of the bylaws which will be submitted to the AGM. Of course, the meeting, in its wisdom, has the power to make further changes. A special resolution of this nature requires a 70% majority to pass.

What are the Changes?

In fact the entire set of bylaws has been redrafted using simpler, more accessible language. So most of the changes are for clarification rather than substantive changes. Here are some of the more substantive changes:

  1. One has to do with the process for nominating Board members each year. Our current policy involves a nominating committee which (a) seeks people with appropriate gifts to stand for election, (b) ensures that they have received a standard information package so they know what will be expected, and (c) collects written information about each candidate to be distributed before the meeting. This helps members make informed choices. The revised bylaws adopt the common practice of  requiring nominations to be received seven days before the meeting. We believe this will be more effectively democratic by leveling the playing field and ensuring forethought for our board elections. The purpose of this change is not to prevent anyone from standing for election to the board, only to ensure an orderly and thoughtful process.
  2. In a similar vein, directors standing for election must be members of the society for at least 14 days before the election.
  3. The bylaws clarify some voting procedures. For example, the BC Societies Act states that proxy votes are not valid unless the society’s bylaws specifically allow it (ours haven’t). The reason for this has to do with the way democracy works. A motion is put before a meeting and discussion follows to help members influence one another and make up their minds. Because a person voting by proxy is not present, that person’s mind cannot be influenced by reasoned dialogue. The new bylaws don’t change this but simply clarify that proxy votes will not be allowed.

If you would like to compare the new bylaws with the present ones, click here to view the current Constitution and Bylaws. Remember that you can read, download or print any of our policies here.