The BC Pharmacy Association Board of Directors is bringing forward two bylaw amendments at its Annual General Meeting on May 26.
Last fall, the Board approved moving the Association’s fiscal year from September 1 to the calendar year starting on January 1, 2019 to ensure the BCPhA meets its obligations under the new Societies Act. As a not-for-profit organization, the Association must hold its Annual General Meeting within six months of the fiscal year end. The BCPhA’s AGM takes place annually at its conference in May.
Since the new fiscal year will begin in January 2019, it made sense to move the election of Board of Directors from the spring to the autumn. Traditionally, the newly elected Directors attend the final meeting of the fiscal year before the start of their term. In the new fiscal year, the final meeting is expected to happen at the end of November. To maintain this tradition, the election must take place prior to the end of November.
The bylaw proposed to members is to move election day from April to November 1. This date would give newly elected Directors time to attend the Board meeting scheduled for late November.
Additionally, electronic voting is being brought forward to members for a vote at the AGM.
To allow for electronic voting in Board elections, the bylaws of the Association will require changes. The proposed bylaw to permit electronic voting would see work begin before a staged roll-out starting in 2019. This is to ensure members are engaged, can easily understand how to exercise their right to vote throughout the transition and that any technical challenges can be managed appropriately.
Discussions on electronic voting began in 2017, when the BCPhA Board of Directors established an e-Voting Working Group, tasked with looking at the impacts of using electronic voting in the Association’s elections. This group was also tasked with making recommendations to the Board, which included proposing amendments to the BCPhA bylaws allowing for electronic voting.
The working group determined that electronic voting can facilitate member voter engagement, simplify the voting process, and enable members to exercise their democratic rights if the system ensured four things: the security and integrity of the voting process, voter access and confidentiality, reliability, and voter confidence in the election outcome.
The group recommended that the BCPhA should move to an electronic voting system in stages over a period of several years. This will give the Association and members time to make the transition while ensuring that voter turnout and participation can continue uninterrupted. The group also recommended the Association shouldn’t immediately eliminate the use of traditional mail-in ballots.