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.
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.
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) were brought into force on November 28, 2016, by BC Reg. 216/2015.
The commencement provisions, listed by section, can be found in section 366.
Societies Act, SBC 2015, c. 18.
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.
- Report on Proposals for a New Society Act. BCLI Report No. 51. 2008
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
Updated April 2019