VJLS-JH Director Candidate Information, Protocol & Procedure

Thank you for your interest in applying to join our Board. We are proud of our longstanding, over-a-century, resilient history which began in 1906. The Society is governed by a strong, dedicated volunteer Board of Directors.

Purpose
This document outlines the requirements and nomination process for Director candidates, pursuant to Board Governance policy and Board Resolution.

General Background for reference (as provided on the membership page)

Recently, VJLS-JH transitioned to a structure based on governance, which is fully compliant with the Societies Act of British Columbia. As stakeholders accustomed to the old system may not have a full understanding of this change, we are providing this overview.
Previously, until 2020, membership was tied to tuition/registration as a long-time operational practice. This practice was not uniformly understood, applied or reflected in the bylaws. Under the new clarified governance structure, this subscription/membership practice has been separated from operations and it is no longer a requirement to become a member in order to take a class or participate in any program/event. We recognize that there is a difference between being a student/participant in a program/class and being a member of the society with an interest in the overall governance of the organization, its constitution, its mission, and its fiduciary concerns.

General information about The Board of Directors
The Board directs, manages and inspires the society through careful establishment of broad written policies reflecting the society’s values and perspectives about ends to be achieved and means to be avoided. The Board’s policy focuses on long-term macro concerns and effects, and not on the operations aspects. Operations (administration & programming) are the means through which the long-term concerns and effects are addressed and attained.

The Board enforces upon itself whatever discipline is needed to govern with excellence. Discipline will apply to matters such as attendance, preparation for meetings, policy-making principles, respect of roles, and ensuring continuance of governance capability. The Board observes its governance process policies scrupulously. The Board can change its governance process policies upon careful consideration.

Protocol & Procedure
The Governance Committee, with the Board, shall lead a process to identify qualified candidates.

The following considerations, in addition to the qualifications as outlined above, are applied in the process:

  • Values: the candidate’s commitment to the Constitution and Mission of the Society, and their commitment to the values and principles of not-for-profit service;
  • Strategic Direction: the candidate’s commitment to support the Society in its strategic planning process and in achieving its strategic directions;
  • Diversity & Inclusion: the candidate’s commitment to the Society’s Statement; from Board Policies 1.2.6: The Board recognizes that a diversity of opinions, perspectives and experiences strengthens the Board’s ability to meet its objectives.
  • Code of Conduct: the candidate’s commitment to upholding the Board Policies and specifically Board member’s code of conduct as per section 1.5 and 1.5.14.

Director Orientation Package

Constitution (Purposes):

  1. To promote and foster the study of the Japanese language and culture;
  2. To provide adequate physical facilities and academic instruction for the study and understanding of the Japanese language and culture;
  3. To advance multi-cultural and multi-lingual understanding;
  4. To assist interested persons or groups in encouraging all of the above;
  5. To pursue any other objective that may be incidental to any of the above.

Mission:
Promote through educational and event programming the understanding of Japanese language and culture to all Canadians. Actively uphold the history of Vancouver’s Nikkei community and to facilitate cultural exchange with other multicultural, neighbourhood and international groups.

Our ultimate objective is to strengthen and enrich inter-cultural communication and understanding among our students and the broader local and global community.

Bylaws: here

Board Policies: here

Diversity & Inclusion Statement:
The Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall values inclusivity and respects, empathizes and supports community members of all ethnicities, cultures, ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic status and physical or mental capabilities. We strive to serve and deliver programming to our stakeholders that creates a culture of safety that energetically affirms a sense of integrity. We also have a responsibility to commit to our core value of cultivating an inclusive work environment – a workplace that promotes and values diversity in all the work we do.

Since our founding in 1906, the Japanese Canadian community has endured many injustices and instances of discrimination. We have first-hand experience of systemic racism and its multi-generational effects. To create meaningful and lasting cultural change, we are committed to addressing instances of systemic racism in the greater community, as well as in our workplace.

The greatest changes in our world come from deep conviction and a diverse mix of minds, hearts, backgrounds and experiences. At VJLS-JH, we are leading and catalyzing this change by providing a space for these values to thrive. The Japanese Hall is a space for freedom to flourish, liberated from any attempt by others to impose judgements, customs or beliefs.

Commitment & Intention: This work is part of an ongoing journey. We are aware of the integrity needed to ensure that our statement facilitates tangible actions that are felt by our community, in alignment with our purpose and mission. In solidarity, we commit to actions for a better future for all of us. We will be updating this page as we move deeper into this journey. We invite our stakeholders to support this work and hold us accountable in upholding our commitment and intentions.

Basic Qualifications
Any member who is in good standing, is over 18 years old, hasn’t been found to be incapable of managing their own affairs, is not bankrupt, hasn’t been convicted of a criminal offence and passes criminal check can be nominated, and if elected can serve as a director.

As per our current bylaws:
An Individual is not qualified if they are:

  • Found by a court to be incapable of managing their own affairs;
  • An undischarged bankrupt; or
  • Convicted of an offense involving fraud in the last five years.

All candidates will be required to demonstrate the above before they can be accepted as a Director, by submitting the information required and giving permission for a credit and criminal record check. The new membership form supplies all of the other information needed (Legal name, contact info, age, residence, etc.) so if you were a member though registration at the school and did not supply that form, you may wish to provide the information by using that form. It is also collected on the nomination form for election of Directors.

As per our recently posted membership procedure, please ensure that you have read and reviewed all the supplemental materials. For easy reference, they are listed and linked here:

Nomination Application & Process

Please fill out the Director nomination form found here and email to:
governance@vjls-jh.com

As per the current bylaws (4.4):
Election – Elections shall be governed by the following:

  • Any member may nominate candidates for election as Directors;
  • An election may be by acclamation otherwise it shall be by ballot; and
  • No employee of the Society may be elected as Director.

Validity of Process: The current bylaws do not provide any guidance as to how a nomination or election should proceed. There has been confusion at previous AGM’s regarding the processes, and members have been asked to vote on persons without having any information regarding their intent or qualifications. The Board is empowered by section 4.5 Powers of Directors of the current bylaws which states: “The Directors may exercise all the powers and do all the acts and things that the Society may exercise and do.” Setting policies in support of and which do not contravene the bylaws are part of the board’s authority.

In order to meet the timeline required to have a slate of candidates with their information distributed to the membership two weeks prior to the AGM, the nomination period to submit an application is from January 18th, 2021, noon to February 1st, 2021, noon.

The Governance Committee will respond to your application as accepted or with any questions or requesting any further information. The Governance Committee will publish the slate of Directors with the formal notice of the AGM scheduled to be sent out on or near February 8th, 2021.

For more about governance and the Society, please visit our governance page here. If you have any questions, please send them to governance@vjls-jh.com.

We thank you for your commitment and dedication to our Society.

The VJLS-JH Board of Directors.

 

DOCUMENT REFERENCES:
1) Current bylaws
2) Board Policies
3) Governance Org chart
4) Stakeholder Groups Benefits Chart
5) Membership information from current bylaws
6) A Governance Perspective Brief History of the Organization
7) Director nomination form
8) Link to Governance page