When are my “previously unalterables” still unalterable?

I’m asked a lot about the “previously unalterable” provisions: those sections of a society’s constitution which must be moved into the bylaws and may be altered by a special resolution of the membership after the society transitions. But some societies are not at liberty to change these, at least not without ministerial permission. Others may put their funding or charitable status at risk if they modernize their bylaws.

Can a society’s provisions still be “unalterable”?

As of November 28, 2016, a constitution may only contain a society’s purposes, and no provision in a society’s bylaws can be “unalterable.” While this is good news for many societies which have to adapt their bylaws or purposes to accept specific gifts or govern themselves as time goes on, some are concerned that they will be vulnerable to straying from their key values or obligations. Others have external funding agreements which are dependent on such provisions. However, there are ways to protect a society’s key values, purposes, and funding agreements so they are…