Societies Act

I assume that the proposed new legislation could be used as an alternative to hold NPOs accountable for their decisions and actions.

  • Jan. 1, 2014 7:00 p.m.

I support  the province’s proposed new legislation that will change the B.C. Societies Act, to be used as a legal alternative to hold a non-profit organization (NPO) responsible for their actions and to be used only after all other attempts to resolve a situation are exhausted.

My support is based on the fact that currently there appears to be no control over how an NPO spends the funds entrusted to them. Currently, an NPO can make major capital expenditures, for fixed assets, such as buildings and land improvements, located on private property (land), in which the NPO has no recorded equity.

I have recently contacted the B.C. Registry Service, the agency that governs B.C. Societies (NPOs), and asked the following question: does the B.C. Society Act allow a B.C. registered NPO to make expenditures of NPO funds for major capital expenditures such as buildings or land improvements, located on property (land) in which the NPO has no legal equity or claim?

This is the reply that I received:

“The B.C. Registry is a repository for filed documents required by the Society Act, but is not authorized to interpret or enforce the Act or investigate a society. I would refer you to Part 4, section 32 of the Society Act regarding investment of society’s funds. The information you are seeking is not what we are able to provide. I would suggest you check with a chartered accountant.”

The chartered accountant suggested that I contact the auditor of the NPO.

The answer seems to indicate that there currently appears to be no legal accountability for an NPO to practice “due diligence” in managing the assets of an NPO. I assume that the proposed new legislation could be used as an alternative to hold NPOs accountable for their decisions and actions.

Frank Van EyndeNanoose Bay