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Non-Profit Governance

Find information on policies, agreements and supporting documents that help non-profit housing providers meet governance requirements.

If you have a question that is not listed here, contact your non-profit portfolio manager.

Your board needs to develop policy statements to guide your organization in each area of responsibility, including resident relations, recruitment, volunteer and staff development, financial management, maintenance, ethics, conflict of interest, government relations, community and public relations, and harassment. Policies are essential because they:

  • State the general course of action planned for your organization
  • Create guidelines to put your mission and values into practice
  • Provide a framework for making decisions
  • Give your staff and committees direction on setting procedures
  • Ensure continuity for residents, as board members change over time

Contact the BC Non-Profit Housing Association at 604-291-2600 or 1-800-494-8859, or by email at admin@bcnpha.bc.ca to obtain a copy of their Policy Template Manual. Housing co-operatives can contact the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC at 604-879-5111 or 1-866-879-5111, or by email at info@chf.bc.ca. The Co-operative Housing Federation of BC offers workshops on policy development and has a resource library with sample policies.

Residents should receive cpies of any rules or policies that directly affect them. For example, you should inform residents about your rules and policies for pet ownership, smoking, parking and laundry.

You should have a process in place for supporting and evaluating board members that you can follow. It should be based on the board responsibilities defined in your constitution and bylaws or rules and memorandum.

Constating documents govern your organization's decisions and affect the way you conduct business. Your operating agreement with BC Housing defines constating documents as:

  • A non-profit society’s constitution and bylaws
  • A housing co-operative’s memorandum and rules

A conflict of interest occurs when your business, or you personally, gain as a result of your duties with the society or co-operative.

Directors or officers and the people working for your organization must avoid any situation that could result in a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Directors and officers are not allowed to receive any compensation in the form of a salary, grant or honorarium for duties. No part of the rent, housing charge revenue or any federal or provincial funding you receive can be used to provide any benefit or payment to a director, officer or member without written approval from BC Housing. An exception is made for reasonable wages paid to employees who are also members of the organization, but who do not sit on the board.

As a director or officer, your business or personal interests are in conflict when you, or someone who is a related person, directly or indirectly receives, or may receive, a benefit that is in addition to any reimbursement for reasonable expenses you incur as a director or officer. A related person means someone with a family connection or business association with a director or officer such that:

  • A transaction between the housing provider and the related person would confer a benefit on the director or officer
  • The relationship might affect, or appear to affect, the director or officer’s ability to act impartially on behalf of the housing provider

As a director or officer, you would have an actual or potential conflict of interest in the following situations:

  1. When a person or business (for example, a contractor) performs duties or provides services to BC Housing or the housing provider in connection with a development, and you or a related person:
  2. Sells, leases or assists with the sale or lease of real estate or personal property to BC Housing or a housing provider
  3. Is the contractor
  4. Is a director, officer or senior manager with the contractor
  5. Is a shareholder of the contractor, or has the right to become a shareholder
  6. Is a partner with the contractor, or has the right to become a partner
  7. Holds or has the right to acquire, or has an interest in or the right to acquire an interest in, any stock, bond, debenture or security of, or granted by, the contractor
  8. Has any business, financial, personal or familial relationship with a director, officer or senior manager of the contractor
  9. When you or a related person engages in any personal business transaction or private arrangement for personal profit that arises from your position as a director or officer. This situation includes access to confidential information through your position with the society or co-operative.
  10. When you or a related person owns or has the right to acquire real estate or personal property in which BC Housing or the housing provider will acquire an interest for a development

These conditions also apply to every person or business that performs duties for a housing provider.

If your bylaws allow it, a resident can be a board member or director of a non-profit housing society, because non-profit operating agreements do not prevent residents from being society members. But membership cannot be a requirement for being housed in a development.

Housing co-operatives require people to become members to live in a co-operative development. Co-operatives are jointly owned and managed by members, who participate in decision-making and share responsibility for running the co-operative. Accordingly, even though residents who become board members are technically in a conflict of interest, this conflict is allowed under our guidelines.

No, a director cannot be an employee. This situation is considered a conflict of interest, as directors control an employee’s salary, benefits, hours of work, etc. If a housing provider wants to appoint an existing director as an employee, the director must first resign.

Yes, you can find a sample residential tenancy agreement on our website. You may want to modify this template to include your own policies.

Co-operatives can contact the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC at 604-879-5111 or 1-866-879-5111, or by email at admin@bcnpha.bc.ca for a model occupancy agreement or lease.

You can view provincial legislation online at www.bclaws.ca. You can also purchase copies of the acts on the site.

For more information on how these Acts affect your organization, refer to the Administration Guide.

Contact the organizations below to arrange training and to find out about other resources:

BC Non-Profit Housing Association
Phone: 604-291-2600 or Toll-free: 1-800-494-8859
Email: admin@bcnpha.bc.ca
 

ShelterNet BC
Phone: 604-568-3373
Email: info@shelternetbc.com
 

Co-operative Housing Federation of BC
Phone: 604-879-5111 or Toll-free: 1-866-879-5111
Email: info@chf.bc.ca
 

 

For a complete list of forms, guides and templates see Resources A-Z