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Societies are included within the definition of “corporation” under s. 29 of the Interpretation Act and s. 1(1) of the Business Corporations Act. In addition, “society” is defined in s. 1 of the Societies Act, S.B.C. 2015, c. 18:

  • “society” means
  • (a) a society that is incorporated, amalgamated, continued or converted under [the Societies Act], or
  • (b) a pre-existing society.

And a “pre-existing society” means a corporation that, immediately before the coming into force of [s. 1 of the Societies Act], was a society under the former Act. The Societies Act is in force on November 28, 2016, replacing the Society Act.

Corporate Powers

Section 6 of the Societies Act provides that a society has the capacity, rights, powers and privileges of an individual of full capacity. This includes the powers to buy, sell, and otherwise deal with land.

Societies Incorporated or Registered in British Columbia under the Societies Act

The registrar’s requirements for verifying the incorporation or registration and current existence of a society that is subject to the Societies Act are the same as the registrar’s requirements for companies and extraprovincial companies incorporated or registered in British Columbia under the Business Corporations Act.

Extraprovincial Non-Share Corporations Registered in British Columbia

Section 1 of the Societies Act defines an “extraprovincial non-share corporation” as a corporation, without share capital, that is incorporated, amalgamated, continued or otherwise formed by or under the laws of a jurisdiction other than British Columbia. See s. 172 of the Act for the registration requirements for extraprovincial non-share corporations.

An extraprovincial non-share corporation that is authorized to carry on an insurance business under ss. 75(g) and 193(1)(a) to (g) of the Financial Institutions Act is exempt from the registration requirements under s. 172 of the Societies Act. In this case, where the society is a party to an instrument, the registrar requires:

  1. a certificate from the appropriate government authority or officer of the jurisdiction where the society was incorporated certifying that:
    1. the society was incorporated under the laws of that jurisdiction on a stated date, and
    2. at the date of the certificate the society is a subsisting society; and
  2. a letter from the registrar of companies of British Columbia confirming that the registrar of companies has not, as of the date of the letter, required the society to be registered as an extraprovincial society.


On the Declaration form, enter a description of the certificate of status and letter, and attach an image of the original certificate of status and letter. The electronic Declaration is submitted in support of the instrument that creates the interest in land.