Yukon societies, business corporations and cooperative associations now have modern, updated legislation to guide them, effective April 1. The Corporate Statutes Amendment Act, which includes updates to the Business Corporations Act, the Cooperative Associations Act and the new Societies Act, has been proclaimed. With the amendments, the new Societies Act has also been proclaimed and its new regulations have been approved.
Societies will have two years to transition to conform to the new Societies Act. The new Societies Act is written in plain language, is more user-friendly and provides significant updates to provide clearer guidance and allow societies more autonomy. Processes regarding the creation, governance and operation of societies are now set out more clearly.
For consistency, some related technical amendments were also made to the Business Corporations Act and the Cooperative Associations Act by the Corporate Statutes Amendments Act.
Public education on the changes and required transition will be provided to societies. This will include video tutorials and updated web pages. It will also include a walk-through demonstration to access the Yukon Corporate Online Registry (YCOR) online features. There will be no charge to search the Societies Registry online.
I’d like to thank societies for their patience; it’s great to see regulations in place. Our modern societies legislation will now provide Yukoners with the clearer guidance and responsibility that they have asked for. The updated Yukon Online Corporate Registry will now support societies by streamlining and reducing the volume of paperwork, so that they can spend their time focusing on the quality programs and supports enjoyed by many Yukoners.
Minister of Community Services John Streicker
As of February 25, 2021, there were over 635 active societies registered in Yukon. The Corporate Affairs Branch also maintains corporate registries of more than 5,949 business corporations and over 5,685 partnerships and business names.
To transition, currently registered societies will have to file “new” constitutions. Under the new legislation, a society’s constitution can contain only the name and purposes of the society. Each new constitution must contain the same name and purposes as the old constitution. Any information in the old constitution other than the name and purposes of the society cannot be included. Societies must also submit information regarding current directors and the registered offices, along with file new bylaws conforming with new legislative requirements. They may create their own or adopt model bylaws provided on www.yukon.ca for April 1.
To ensure transparency, Class A societies with annual gross incomes over $120,000 or assets over $250,000 are required to retain an accountant to report on their financial statements. However, they may waive this requirement for a maximum of two consecutive years if (and only if) they have a bylaw allowing for such a provision and they adopt a resolution at their AGM to do so for the coming year.
A new class of member-funded societies will be self-funded and not require mandatory reporting.
Financial statements will not be required to be filed with the registry, but must be available for public view at societies’ registered offices.
Societies will be required to include in their financial statements remuneration of employee positions in a society, including contractors, who are paid a yearly amount of $75,000 or more. Actual names will not be required to be reported.
Directors make important financial and legal decisions on behalf of their societies and organizations. As a result, individuals who are legally underage, bankrupt or under guardianship for legal or financial matters may not be directors of a business corporation, cooperative association or a society.
Extra-territorial societies will now be regulated by the Business Corporations Act. To accommodate this change, amendments were made to the Naming Regulation, which supports the Business Corporations Act, the Cooperative Associations Act, the Partnership and Business Names Act and the Societies Act. These changes mean fewer restrictions for extraterritorial societies regarding naming and simplified filing requirements.