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Societies given deadline for overdue info

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Monday, April 2, 2012

Don't expect a dramatic decrease in the number of registered societies in the NWT.

That's despite a recent newspaper ad from the Department of Justice's Registrar of Societies, which listed 113 societies that need to submit overdue paperwork or face the prospect of dissolution.

Donn MacDougall, the registrar of societies, said he absolutely expects most of the listed societies to complete paperwork and retain their status under the Societies Act.

"This is not a done deal, absolutely not," he said. "This is just our way of getting notice to them."

Registered societies are required to submit financial statements and a list of current directors once a year.

"So if you fail to send us that information for two years in a row then a society is eligible to be what we call struck from the register, which means they lose their status as a corporation," MacDougall said.

Along with the newspaper ad to advise societies, letters have been sent to the society's address and two directors.

MacDougall explained that, more often than not, a society might not have the required paperwork done because the board of directors has changed and new members might not be aware of the filing requirement, or all the filings have been completed but never submitted.

The ad gives the societies 90 days to provide the required documentation, but MacDougall said it will be accepted until July 15.

This year, there are more societies than usual being notified of lacking paperwork.

MacDougall explained that's because the corporate registry has updated its computer systems over the last couple of years.

In the past, a lot of time had to be spent going through paper files to create a list that was accurate and complete.

"This time, we were able to basically pull it off our new database and have a complete list of societies that are in default," MacDougall said.

It used to be that societies were notified every year or two, he noted. "It will become an annual thing now that we've got a computerized database."

In all, there are 641 registered societies in the NWT.

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