Sunday, November 4, 2012

Electronic notice may be effective

Grewal v. Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Society, 2012 BCCA 430 deals with specific provisions of British Columbia legislation – however, it has broader statements about the giving of notice, especially electronically, which are relevant nationally:

 [15] In the modern electronic world we inhabit, the giving of notice of something might properly be given in a more innovative manner than mailing. It was obviously in pursuit of such an objective that amendments concerning methodologies of notice were proposed and approved in 2010. I consider that courts must be alive to the times in which we live and give a measure of deference to new methods for giving notice adopted by organizations such as the Society.

 [16] However, that said, it is an underlying theme of cases going back to the 19th century that where a notice is required, it ought to be effective notice: Hong v. Oung Kwang Presbyterian Church of Vancouver, 2002 BCSC 1503; Gill v. Johal, 2002 BCSC 449; Russell v. Toronto (City) (1907), 15 O.L.R. 484, 9 O.W.R. 288 (H. Ct. J.), aff’d (1907), 15 O.L.R. 484 at 496, 11 O.W.R. 23 (C.A.); Ross et al v. Machar (1885), 8 O.R. 417 (C.A.); Angled Enterprises Limited v. Quesnel (City) (1988), 27 B.C.L.R. (2d) 59 (C.A.). 

 [17] As I interpret the amended notice bylaw passed by the Society in 2010, it is envisaged that the prime method of effective notice to members shall be notice via newspaper notification. I consider it was permissible here on the evidence for the chambers judge to conclude that there was a deficiency of proof that proper and effective notice had been given via newspaper advertising. There was evidence that certain of the newspaper notices were contained in papers not circulated but given away at certain locations. It seems to me that it would be difficult to demonstrate that such a methodology could ever be the type of notice contemplated to be given to members of a society pursuant to s. 60 of the Act. It would, in my view, have to be shown that a notice of meeting was contained in a paper with a large circulation being delivered and available for sale in the area where a significant number of members of the Society reside. This should provide reasonable assurance that such notice would come to the attention of those entitled to notice.