Historically, the Credit Union Incorporation Act (the “CUIA”) has restricted credit unions from holding entirely electronic meetings of members, primarily due to the requirement in the CUIA for meetings of members to be held at a physical location.
That all changed in the wake of COVID-19, with temporary measures introduced by the BC Government in the interest of the health and safety of meeting participants, permitting for the holding of entirely electronic meetings during the time period that BC remained in a state of emergency.
Although COVID-19 may eventually be coming to an end, credit unions will continue to enjoy the flexibility of electronic meetings on a permanent basis, due to the BC legislature giving royal assent to the Finance Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2021 (the “FSAA”) on May 20, 2021.
The FSAA updates several pieces of legislation, including the CUIA, to permanently allow for the holding of full or partial electronic meetings. Types of meetings that can be held electronically pursuant to these new provisions include, among others, meetings of members, meetings of directors and meetings of board committees.
“Electronic meetings” under the CUIA include both fully and partially electronic meetings and are defined as meetings in which persons are entitled to participate by telephone or other communications medium (either solely or as an alternative to participating in person), provided that all persons attending the meeting are able to participate.
Essentially, unless the Rules of the credit union provide otherwise, a person who is entitled to participate in, including vote at, a meeting of a credit union may do so by telephone or other communications medium if all members attending the meeting are able to participate in it, whether by telephone, by other communications medium or in person. Such persons will be deemed to be present at the meeting.
It is important to note that although these provisions permit electronic meetings of credit unions, they do not require credit unions to facilitate such meetings. However, if the credit union does wish to allow for electronic participation, the notice of the meeting must contain instructions for attending and participating in the meeting by telephone or other communications medium.
These provisions came into effect May 20, 2021, and therefore credit unions can feel secure in knowing that the ability to hold electronic meetings is here to stay.
EKB is familiar with these provisions and is ready to assist credit unions with any questions they may have, including with respect to updating their rules to take full advantage of these new provisions.