A recent decision is a reminder that simply following the rules of governing bylaws to get rid of a member may not be sufficient. The member could retain his or her status, accuse the board of acting in bad faith, and the organization could suffer extensive costs if a court finds that the bylaws relied upon in expelling the member fail to meet certain minimum requirements.
Within the microcosm of a not-for-profit organization, where internal bylaws and rules are generated and enforced by the organization itself, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that there is always an external source of recourse in the form of judicial review. The officers of an organization must adhere to procedural fairness when carrying out administration functions. If they violate or misapply the bylaws, they may find themselves in court having their actions scrutinized by a judge.
I've lost count of the coming-into-force dates the government has set for the Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act to take effect, but this time at least it seems there's a clear reason. The previous estimate for the law to come into force was July of this year; the new estimated date is "no earlier than" January 2014.
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