Equine Canada Bylaws to be Reconsidered
Members of Equine Canada (EC) from across Canada recently had an opportunity to vote on draft revisions to the national sports federation’s Bylaws. Although a general meeting to accommodate in-person voting on the Bylaws during the Canadian Interprovincial Championships in Bromont, Quebec on September 22, saw the revisions accepted almost unanimously, an advanced on-line voting served to defeat the revisions.
“We have heard from many members from all parts of Canada,” reports EC President Mike Gallagher, “that they were unaware we had embarked upon a revision to our Bylaws, as well as the rationale and realities driving the need for these revisions.
“Following the failure of the revisions to be adopted, the Board has decided to undertake more fulsome stakeholder communications in order to better engage and educate members, in addition to removing any barriers to a successful relationship with our partners and members.”
The Board expects to begin this new process within the next few months– communication with members will include opportunities for information sessions during provincial and regional equestrian sport organization gatherings.
“We would like to thank the many members who exercised their right to vote both electronically and in-person,” noted the President. “We would also like to thank the Fédération équestre du Québec for hosting our General Meeting and going above and beyond in accommodating our needs. We could not have held the meeting during the Canadian Interprovincial Championships if it was not for their support.”
In August 2011, Equine Canada and 11 Provincial/Territorial Associations (PTAs) signed an Accord on Roles and Responsibilities, Governance and Financial Models for the Future of Equine Canada. The Accord was developed by a Joint Steering Committee (JSC), which was delegated the authority to:
As part of this mediated agreement, the parties agreed that any unanimous decisions of the JSC would be binding upon all parties, subject however to any membership approval that would be required to give effect to governance changes. With unanimous agreement, all PTAs would return to being members within Equine Canada. Unanimous agreement on the Accord was reached in July of 2011, and all 11 provincial/territorial associations were once again active members of Equine Canada in 2012.
As a result of this Accord, and the new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, a number of revisions were duly required to the existing Equine Canada Bylaws in order to be compliant with the Accord and the Act. Thus, the majority of the revisions to the Equine Canada Bylaws, were previously agreed to as part of the Accord, or were otherwise mandated by the Act. However, as per the Accord and Equine Canada's Bylaws, the entire membership was given the right to approve governance changes. This required Equine Canada and the PTAs to facilitate membership voting on the revised bylaws, including communicating to members the rationale behind the bylaw revisions and the voting procedures.
The Equine Canada Bylaws Committee had begun the work of bringing our bylaws into compliance with the Act, but immediately after the Accord was signed, it set about to make the further necessary revisions. Over the next 12 months, repeated consultations were conducted on draft revisions with all the various entities which make up Equine Canada. A 75-day notice was issued regarding the bylaw changes, with notification that voting would begin in August, 2012. An on-line, electronic voting process was held from August 9 to August 23 (to 11:59 pm Ontario time), along with the opportunity for members to vote in-person at a General Meeting on September 22, 2012.
Please find below additional background information, including the defeated draft Bylaw revisions, the Accord on Roles and Responsibilities and other useful documents you may wish to read in order to fully understand the rationale for the revisions.