Members are encouraged to read the bylaws thoroughly. The following is a short description of each of the major areas of interest for members. These comments explain how the bylaws affect our current practices and procedures. We have noted where there are significant (and not merely administrative) changes from the previous practices, and the reason(s) for the changes.
There are certain ‘must-haves’ that are required for bylaws and some areas which we were required to update.
Implementing Electronic Means:
With the advent of COVID-19, we have added electronic means of communications into the bylaws to facilitate meetings, voting, etc., by electronic or virtual means. Prior bylaws had no mention of electronic means. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has formally allowed non-profits to conduct meetings electronically; therefore, electronic means are now specifically addressed in our new bylaws.
Now, with the addition of advance voting and electronic attendance, it is now easy for anyone to attend general meetings or vote on resolutions in advance, so proxies are no longer required. In the interests of stakeholder safety, accessibility, and to encourage participation, all general meetings will allow for electronic participation.
Streamlining Membership Eligibility:
There is now one class of members with voting privileges. Individuals who are over the age of 16, a resident in British Columbia, and who are interested in advancing the purposes and supporting the activities of our organization are eligible to apply for membership.
Please contact our Executive Director with any questions.
This application form restates the requirements above and collects your information for identification purposes: for example, to determine residency and age. It also outlines the organization’s constitution and purposes, and requires you to make a commitment to them.
The previous age requirement was 18; the new age is 16. Our hope is to encourage more voices and engagement from younger stakeholders.
The previous bylaws outlined two classes of membership with a distribution clause:
- Alumni, Students and Parents – Alumni, Students over the age of 18, and Parents of Students and of alumni of the School
- Community Members – Applicants who have been accepted by the Directors, who shall be classified as “Community Members”.
Proportion of Community Members – The Directors shall not accept any memberships from Community Members if such acceptance would increase the percentage of Community Members to more than 25% of the total membership of the Society.
Under these bylaws, the definitions of the classes and the terms used were not clear. The qualifications for each class of membership were also unclear, making membership lists near-impossible to manage. As such, we have changed membership to one class to make it more accessible to more stakeholders, while clarifying the membership qualification and criteria. The new now bylaws outline each member’s rights and obligations in much more detail.
In the past, a person who wished to take any class (K-12, adult program on Saturdays) at VJLS, or had a child attend Children’s World, would be required to purchase a membership. This “mandatory” membership meant that people were required to take on membership obligations as a consequence of wanting to enroll for instruction.
The new bylaws will separate enrollment and membership, and clarify that membership is for persons interested in participating in the governance of the organization (for example: attend and vote at annual general meetings). This change also helps to ensure that quorums and voting thresholds are more accurately met.
The previous bylaws also did not outline any ineligibility factors. The new bylaws now outline criteria for ineligibility: an employee of the Society, a contractor for services with an aggregate annual value of $10,000 or more, or a spouse of a member or contractor cannot be a member due to inherent conflicts of interest. For example, as the Executive Director is an employee, if he/she were to be a member, they would be voting on the amount of their own renumeration (wages), which is a clear conflict of interest.
Updating Member Term & Membership Fees:
A fee for membership will be set by the board annually (there is no change in the fee amount for this 2020 bylaw update). Fees are collected at time of application. Membership fees are not a revenue source. Instead, we encourage members who wish to support us financially to make a donation, for which a charitable tax receipt will be issued.
The new membership will expire after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held each year and is renewed annually, should the member desire. Our previous bylaws did not formally define the membership term.
Designating a Membership Coordinator:
A membership coordinator is responsible for administering the application process. There is now a designated coordinator at VJLS-JH, as there was no prior stipulation. The coordinator’s duties also include facilitating the board ratification process.