Constitution and Bylaws

Effective April 2, 2013

I. Constitution

Article 1: Name

This organization is officially known as the ‘Centre for Gender Advocacy’ in English, and ‘Le Centre de lutte contre l’oppression des genres’ in French. For the purposes of this document it will be referred to as the ‘CGA’.

Article 2: Language

2.1 English and French are the official languages of the CGA and may be used in all meetings and communications with the CGA.
2.2 The CGA will communicate with members and organizations in the language of their choice.
2.3 Notices, publications, job postings and other official documents will be issued in both official languages.
2.4 Upon request from a member or organization for translation into another language, the CGA will do its best to accommodate this request.

Article 3: Mandate

The CGA is an independent, student-funded, Concordia University organization, mandated to promote gender equality and empowerment particularly as it relates to marginalized communities. This mandate is achieved through on-going programming, campaigns, resources, services, and advocacy.

II. Bylaws

Bylaw 1: Membership

1.1 There shall be the following categories of membership

a) Student members b) Community members

1.2 Eligibility
a) Any Concordia Undergraduate student1 enrolled in the Arts and Science, Business and Engineering and Fine Arts program, having paid the fee levy is a member of the CGA.
b) A community member or student not subject to the fee levy becomes a member of the CGA upon a yearly payment of the equivalent of the current student fee levy for three credits prior to the AGM, or upon completion of 4 hours of volunteer work over a twelve month period.
1.3 Record of Membership
The CGA will maintain a list of members names and contact information, for those members outlined in 1.2 b) of the CGA Bylaws. A list of students enrolled in the programs outlined in 1.2 a) will serve as a membership list for the members within that section.

1.4 Rights of the Membership
a) All members shall have voting privileges in elections, annual general meetings and special general meetings of the CGA.
b) All members have the right to attend and participate in open board meetings and other CGA activities.
c) All non-confidential documents of the CGA shall be open for inspection by any member upon request to the board of directors, with a reasonable delay.

Confidential documents include:
i. Peer support and advocacy records
ii. Records of mediation processes
iii. Documentation of confidential grievances
iv. Records of board and staff check-ins
v. Records of staff evaluations
vi. Healthcare requests from the staff
vii. Documents concerning litigation
viii. Hiring documents (ie. transcripts of interviews)

1.5 Resignation and Deemed Resignation
A member of the CGA ceases to be a member by:
1. Submitting a letter to the collective stating their retraction of membership
2. Failing to renew their membership status through a yearly payment of the current student fee levy for 3 credits
3. Upon receipt of the fee levy-opt out from the CGA Centre
4. By failing to complete their volunteer hours

Bylaw 2: Fees

2.1 Payment of Fees

Concordia undergraduate students pay fees with their school registration fees. This fee had been set through a referendum, voted upon by the undergraduate student body, and cannot be changed except through referendum.
1. Student members shall pay fees in the amount of the current student fee levy for the CGA.
2. Non-student members shall pay fees equal to the fee levy that student members pay.

2.2 Refunds

Concordia students are entitled to a fee refund in accordance with the policy on the fee refunds adopted by the board of directors of the CGA. Notice of the refund period shall be given by the CGA at least one week before the opt out period begins by:
1. A notice posted conspicuously in the CGA lounge and office; and
2. In at least 3 places on both Concordia campuses

Bylaw 3: Meetings

Annual General Meeting
3.1 The Annual General Meeting (herein known as the AGM) will occur on an annual basis during the Concordia Fall or Winter Semester, at a time and place determined by the board.
3.2 The AGM will be publicized for three weeks prior to its date (not including the day of) by:
1. Advertizing in an independent student newspaper at Concordia University and
2. Postering on and around both Concordia Campuses and
3. Listing the AGM on the CGA website and
4. Contacting the members compiled in the membership list

3.3 Quorum for the AGM is set at 30 members; at least 15 members shall be Concordia student members.
3.4 The AGM agenda shall include:
1. Staff reports
2. Board report
3. Financial report of the last fiscal year and a summary of the current year-to-date
4. Any agenda item, other than a constitutional amendment, provided it is brought up by a member to the attention of the board of directors at least ten working days prior to the AGM
5. Any amendments to the constitution presented by a member through the outlined procedure within these bylaws (see Bylaw 8).
6. The election of no fewer than 3 and no more than 10 directors

3.5 Any motion to be voted on at the AGM shall be decided by simple majority vote of members present.
3.6 The designation, by the board of directors, of a chairperson and secretary solely for the purpose of signing the minutes of the CGA meetings and of fulfilling the obligations of the CGA under the Quebec Companies Act R.S.Q., c. C-38, will take place immediately following the AGM.

Special General Meetings
3.7 Any matter which needs urgent and special attention that falls outside of the time frame or the basic structure of the AGM can be discussed and decided on at a Special General Meeting (herein known as an SGM) of the CGA membership at any time throughout the year.
3.8 An SGM can be called:
1. By majority vote of the board
2. By petition of 500 members

3.9 If an SGM is called by petition, the board of the CGA shall organize the meeting within 21 days of formally submitting the petition to the board.
3.10 Quorum and voting procedures at an SGM shall be the same as for an AGM, simple majority.
3.11 The SGM will be publicized with notice:
1. By electronic mail to the current membership list and
2. On the CGA website, and
3. Postering on both Concordia campuses

Bylaw 4: Board of Directors
4.1 The Board of Directors are elected at the AGM. The Board of Directors is a group that is directed by the CGA membership to make decisions in line with the CGA Constitution, bylaws, and policies.
4.2 Composition, Term and Remuneration
1. The make up of the board should reflect the body for whom CGA services are provided.
2. The term of office of directors shall be one year, starting at the close of the AGM at which they are elected.
3. Outgoing directors are eligible for reelection.
4. The board shall have the right to appoint vacant director positions between elections, as long as candidates fulfill eligibility requirements. At any given time, only three (3) standing directors can have been appointed.
5. No remuneration shall be paid to directors. However, directors shall be reimbursed for all expenses incurred by them while engaged in CGA affairs, subject to authorization by the board in accordance with the guidelines set out by the board.
6. Current directors cannot be employees of the CGA.

4.3 Duties and Powers
The management, administration and control of the affairs of the CGA are vested in the Board, subject to these Bylaws. Without diminishing the generality of the foregoing, the Board shall:
1. Make changes to CGA policy as it considers advisable for the conduct of the affairs of the CGA provided that such rules and regulations are consistent with the constitution and Bylaws.
2. Appoint committees and delegations to carry out special tasks deemed necessary by the board.
3. Adopt and manage the annual budget.
4. Ensure the keeping of proper financial records.
5. Be accountable and informed employers to the staff of the CGA.
6. Maintain accountability and transparency to the membership.
7. Maintain all functions necessary for the legitimate operating of the CGA.

4.4 Resignation/Dismissal of Directors:
1. A director may resign by submitting a written letter of resignation to the board.
2. A director shall be deemed to have resigned if they become bankrupt or declared legally incompetent in accordance with the REQ
3. After missing three (3) consecutive meetings, a director may be deemed to have resigned upon ratification of the Board.

4.5 Board of Director meetings
1. The Board shall hold regularly scheduled meetings
2. The staff seat will be representative of all full-time staff and shall count toward quorum.
3. Staff vote must be arrived at unanimously by staff present at a given meeting. If unanimity cannot be reached, the staff vote should be understood as an abstention.
4. Written notice of board meetings shall be given a week in advance with a proposed agenda
5. The responsibilities of taking minutes, facilitation, timekeeping, and the scheduling of meetings will be shared by the Board.
6. Quorum for board meetings is simple majority of board members, excepting any members on leave.
7. Meetings of the board and its committees shall be open to all members of the CGA.
8. In cases of time-sensitive proposals requiring board approval, a vote may be taken via email. Board members must be given a minimum of 48 hours to cast their vote. In the event that board members participating in the email vote are not unanimous, the vote shall be taken at the next in-person meeting.
9. The Board can hold a closed meeting or have a closed session within a meeting for the purposes of discussing the following matters:
i. discussions regarding proposed, pending, or current litigation;
ii. personnel matters, leading to the hiring, firing, promotion, demotion, suspension, salary level or evaluation of staff members
iii. meetings surrounding grievance procedures
iv. confidential matters relating to the peer support and advocacy program

4.6 Special meetings of the board can be called in the even of an emergency:
1. by simple majority vote by the board
2. by petition signed by of a minimum of 30 members of the CGA indicating time, date, place and agenda.

4.7 Leave of Absence
A Board member may chose to go on leave due to extenuating circumstances. A leave of absence may be granted by the Board, in response to a request in writing.
1. When on leave, a board member will not have a have a vote and cannot participate in any decision making process.
2. The board member retains all board responsibilities except attending meetings.

Bylaw 5: Directors election 

5.1 Open candidature, targeted recruitment, and membership vote.
Candidature is open to all, however the CGA coordinates the targeted recruitment of certain individuals who reflect the body for whom programming, resources and services are provided

5.2 The board of directors shall appoint a Chief Electoral Officer to:
1. Validate the nominations
2. Preside over the elections
3. Announce the results
4. Declare the election valid or invalid

5.3 The election of the incoming Board of Directors will proceed as follows:
1. Every candidate must be nominated by at least three (3) members of the CGA present at the AGM.
2. Every candidate will have the opportunity to address the AGM prior to the vote.
3. Voting will happen by secret ballot.
4. To be elected, candidates must receive a simply majority of ballots cast.
5. If more than 10 candidates receive a simple majority vote, the 10 candidates with the most votes are deemed elected.
6. No voting by proxy will allowed.

Bylaw 6: Staff
The CGA staff shall ensure the realization of the CGA mandate in accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws.

Bylaw 7: Finances
1. The fiscal year shall end on the 31st of August.
2. The board shall approve the budget.
3. The board shall work in conjunction with staff to prepare the yearly budget for the fiscal year operations, to be presented no later than the 30th of September.
4. The budget shall be made available upon request.
5. A financial report over viewing the year’s financial situation will be made available no later than sixty (60) days after the end of the fiscal year.

Bylaw 8: Amendments
8.1. An amendment to the Constitution and Bylaws can be proposed for consideration at the next general
1. by decision of the Board of Directors,
2. by signed petition of 30 members through written submission to the Board of Directors or
3. by fewer than 30 members upon written request to the Board of Directors, where the Board may:
i. approve the amendment
ii. in the event that the board does not endorse the proposed change, the member(s) shall be expected to collect a signed petition of thirty (30) members.
8.2 All amendments proposed in the manner outlined in 8.1 shall be presented and voted upon at the next
general meeting.
8.3 Proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws must be announced at least ten (10) calendar days in advance of an SGM or twenty (20) calendar days before an AGM.
8.4 The proposed text for the amendment must be posted
1. on the CGA website; and
2. at the CGA for consultation of any member; and
3. by email to the current membership list; and
4. through an ad in a Concordia campus publication whenever possible.
8.5 Approval Process for Amendments
A two-thirds (2/3rd) majority vote at the general meeting is necessary to adopt an amendment to the constitution or bylaws.

Bylaw 9: Ancillary Power of the Board
The CGA Board of Directors shall engage in business activities, as it shall from time to time determine, including but not limited to, the following powers:
1. to enter into, perform, and carry out contracts necessary to, or in conjunction with, or incidental to the accomplishment of the purposes of the group;
2. to acquire any property, real or moveable, bought or rented, or any rights therein, necessary or appropriate for the accomplishment of the purpose of the group;
3. to borrow money, and to issue evidences of indebtedness, and to secure the same by mortgage, deed or trust, pledge, or other lien, in furtherance of any or all of the purpose of the group;
4. to sell or otherwise dispose of all or any of the portion of the assets or properties of the group.

Bylaw 10: Authority of the Constitution and Bylaws
In the event of any conflict between this Constitution and any policy adopted by the Board of Directors, the Constitution shall take precedence.

Bylaw 11: Separability of Articles
In case of the provisions contained in this constitution and bylaws or any application thereof shall be invalid, illegal or unenforceable in any respect, the validity, legality and enforceability of the remaining provisions contained in this agreement shall not in any way be affected.

Bylaw 12: General Provisions
In this constitution the singular shall include the plural and the plural shall include the singular, where appropriate.

1Please note that graduate students who have paid the fee levy are also members of the CGA. The constitution will be updated to reflect this at the AGM in the spring of 2014.