Constitution and Bylaws

Effective April 28, 2014

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 ‘Centre’.

 

Article 2: Language

2.1 English and French are the official languages of the Centre and may be used in all meetings and communications with the Centre.

2.2 The Centre 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 Centre will do its best to accommodate this request.

 

Article 3: Mandate

 

The Centre 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 student having paid the fee levy is a member of the Centre.

b) A community member or student not subject to the fee levy becomes a member of the Centre 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 Centre will maintain a list of members names and contact information, for those members outlined in 1.2 b) of the Centre 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 Centre.

b) All members have the right to attend and participate in open board meetings and other Centre activities.

c) All non-confidential documents of the Centre 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 Centre 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 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 Centre.

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 Centre. Notice of the refund period shall be given by the Centre at least one week before the opt out period begins by:

1. A notice posted conspicuously in the Centre 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 Centre 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 Centre meetings and of fulfilling the obligations of the Centre 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 Centre 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 Centre 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 Centre 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 Centre membership to make decisions in line with the Centre Constitution, bylaws, and policies.

4.2 Composition, Term and Remuneration

1. The make up of the board should reflect the body for whom Centre services are provided.

2. The term of office of directors shall be two years, starting at the close of the AGM at which they are elected. Student directors shall have the option of choosing a one-year term.

3. Outgoing directors are eligible for re-election and can serve for a maximum of six consecutive years. A director having served for six years will be eligible for election after a period of one year off the board.

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 Centre 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 Centre.

 

4.3 Duties and Powers

The management, administration and control of the affairs of the Centre are vested in the Board, subject to these Bylaws. Without diminishing the generality of the foregoing, the Board shall:

1. Make changes to Centre policy as it considers advisable for the conduct of the affairs of the Centre 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 Centre.

6. Maintain accountability and transparency to the membership.

7. Maintain all functions necessary for the legitimate operating of the Centre.

 

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 Centre.

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 Centre 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 Centre 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 Centre 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 Centre staff shall ensure the realization of the Centre 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

meeting:

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 Centre’s website; and

2. at the Centre 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 Centre 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.