B.C. Societies Act recently amended to improve student unions transparency

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New amendments in the B.C. Societies Act will improve student unions’ transparency. Photo: Sean Hitrec

Reported by Sean Hitrec

The B.C. Societies Act that governs all of the provinces’ students unions was recently amended in order to improve transparency, said NDP MLA David Eby.

Eby, the Advanced Education critic, said a presentation was made by Langara journalism students and others in April 2016 calling for student societies like the LSU to be included in the Freedom of Information Act.

Public can request copies of records through the Freedom of Information Act

The FOI Act allows the public to request copies of records held by B.C. government ministries when those records are not routinely available.

“They were calling for the Societies Act to include a provision related to Freedom of Information,” Eby said Thursday. “Their argument was that in order to improve transparency in the operations of student unions, which control a significant amount of money and don’t have the greatest track record.”

Langara has one of those student unions, according to Eby.

Current LSU directors’ term extended until Dec. 31, 2017

The new amendments to the B.C. Societies Act took effect just recently on Nov. 28. The newly-elected Langara Students’ Union have called a special general meeting for Dec. 7. Under a special resolution, the LSU announced it wants to “alter the annual election cycle.”

It also states that it is in “LSU’s best interests that the term for each of its current directors be extended until December 31st, 2017.”

The Dec. 7 meeting must be attended by a minimum of  50 student members or the bylaw changes to the electoral terms of the board members cannot be adopted.

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