At a presentation in Vancouver in early July, staff from the BC Registries provided some additional information on the transition process meant to assist those without legal representation to transition their societies. The talk primarily dealt with the new online registries system, as well as an “onboarding” process which will take place in October 2016.
A WORD OF CAUTION
This presentation was made in July 2016 in an informal setting by BC Government staff. It should not be taken as legal advice, but merely somewhat helpful guidance provided by public servants. The best source of information on transition is the Registry’s Transition Guide, available online, or through consulting a trained British Columbia lawyer who practices in societies.
That said, the presentation did provide some information on the upcoming online system to be introduced by the Registry, and it worth considering as a society prepares for transition.
NEW ONLINE SYSTEM
The new system will be used for the majority of filings. There will be a revision history, showing which BCeID changed what, and an ever-green copy of the bylaws. Payments can be made either by pre-authorized debit or credit cards. Certified copies of documents are available by logging in to the system and downloading specific PDFs.
OCTOBER NOVEMBER 28, 2016
Prior to transition, each society must “onboard” into the new electronic filing system. As part of this, they must ensure all annual reports are filed, or they cannot transition. They should also ensure their address in their Statement of Directors and Registered Office is current and up to date with the Registry.
Prior to November 28, 2016,
In early October, each society will receive a letter containing a PIN which will allow them to log in to the new website and create a BCeID, an online account for using BC government services. They can then reset the PIN and distribute it to others in their organization. Each BCeID account will be tied to an individual, and individuals can be associated with multiple society PINS. The example used was an accountant could have multiple society clients. Note that the Registry has announced these letters were sent out on November 10, 2016, and should be arriving before the transition date. The Registry has also announced the on-boarding system will not be available until November 28, 2016.
The online filing system appears straight-forward and relatively simple. The Registry will not be checking purposes or the bylaws — they expect applicants to comply with the new Act without their involvement. The Constitution alteration will be done on a separate screen with a fillable box to cut-and-paste or type in the constitution, minus unalterable provisions. A checkbox will exist on this screen for societies wishing to be member funded.
Bylaws will be uploaded as a .doc or other file formats (for those that do not use Word). This will be done on a separate screen.
CRA AND GAMING
Deputy Registrar of Companies, Debbie Turner, stated that the Registry had spoken to the Canada Revenue Agency and BC Gaming and the organizations had stated so long as the bylaws are transitioned without change and the unalterable provisions are marked as “this is previously unalterable” there will not be an issue with charitable status and/or gaming funding — however, she stated a FAQ would be posted to the Registries website with further information on the approach each organization would take.