COVID-19 Updates: State of public health emergency declared.
If passed, the Service Alberta Statutes (Virtual Meetings) Amendment Act will change five pieces of legislation to allow organizations the option of conducting meetings and votes electronically, instead of in person.
“Even before the pandemic, Albertans conducted many business transactions online and that activity has increased even more over the past year. Technology enables us to operate online safely and securely, and that extends to business meetings and voting. These changes will bring more operations into the digital age.”
The move comes after a successful trial in the spring and summer that provided businesses, cooperatives, condominiums and non-profits the ability to hold virtual meetings and voting. The measures were popular and effective, and Albertans have said they want those changes to be permanent.
Updating decades-old legislation
Many of the current meeting and voting requirements came into force decades ago, long before digital technology was readily available and widely used. Among those requirements are written notification, in-person attendance for meetings with voting done by raising of hands, and handwritten signatures mandated for written resolutions.
“Due to Alberta’s public health restrictions on large social gatherings, non-profits have faced significantly reduced capacity not only to deliver their programs, but also to maintain the essential governance functions of their boards. These amendments will provide Alberta’s non-profits with much-needed peace of mind to operate under both provincial and federal legislation without risking penalty or the health of their board, members and staff.”
“This is welcome and much-needed legislation for condominiums in Alberta. The ability to meet and function has been significantly reduced with the pandemic and these proposed changes will modernize and enable condominiums to effectively conduct their affairs in today’s society.”
The proposed amendments would give specified organizations the option of hosting meetings virtually, providing electronic notifications for meetings and conducting electronic voting.
- If approved, the amended legislation would apply to thousands of Alberta businesses, non-profits, societies, cooperatives and condominium corporations. All have legislated meeting and voting requirements they must meet under various pieces of legislation.
- The five pieces of legislation being amended are:
- Business Corporations Act – provides a mechanism to incorporate and regulates business operations.
- Companies Act – allows non-profits to engage in business activities and sets out governance requirements.
- Societies Act – provides legal authority for five or more individuals to incorporate for any non-profit purpose (i.e., not for the purpose of carrying on trade or business).
- Condominium Property Act – covers the development and governance of condominiums.
- Cooperatives Act – regulates businesses owned by its members by establishing incorporation, registration requirements and director meeting processes.