Nov 17, 2016 - New Societies Act comes into effect on November 28, 2016

The Societies Act is new legislation that was passed in the spring of 2015 and will come into effect on November 28, 2016. It governs how incorporated societies (not-for-profit corporations) are created and run in B.C. and includes significant updates to allow for more flexibility in how societies operate, while still protecting the public interest.

Incorporated societies will have two-years following November 28, 2016 to transition to the new Societies Act.  For details on the new Societies Act and the transition process, please go to the B.C. Registries and Online Services webpage dedicated to the new Act.

As part of the transition process, each pre-existing society will be asked whether it wishes to designate itself as a “member-funded” society. It is important to know that if a society chooses to become member-funded it will only be eligible for a Class A or B gambling event licence as a community fundraising group and must donate any funds generated to an eligible third party.

More information is available in the following questions and answers:

What is a member-funded society?

A member-funded society is funded primarily by its members to carry on activities for the benefit of its members. Common examples might include some sports clubs, golf courses and professional associations.

Member-funded societies are allowed to distribute assets to their members if the society winds up. As well, the new Societies Act makes them subject to fewer accountability measures than other societies. For example, they need only have one director and are not required to make their financial information publicly available.

How does being member-funded impact a society’s eligibility for gambling event licences?

A member-funded society will still be eligible to hold charitable gambling events, but the kinds of gambling event licences it can apply for will be more limited.   

A member-funded society may remain eligible for a Class A or B gambling event licence, with one difference. A member-funded society must apply as a community fundraising group and donate funds generated with a Class A or B licence to an eligible third party whose services provide a direct community benefit within B.C. This is because member-funded societies are not operated primarily for charitable purposes and, as a result, do not meet the eligibility criteria to use gambling funds for their own programs or services.

Becoming member-funded will not affect a society’s eligibility for a Class D gambling event licence.

For more information on eligibility criteria for Class A, B, and D gambling event licences please see: