ARTICLE 1 - NAME
This organization shall be known as the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada
ARTICLE 1.1 - DEFINITIONS
In this by-law and all other by-laws of the SWCC, unless the context otherwise requires:
- "Act" means the Canada Not-For-Profit Corporations Act S.C. 2009, c. 23 including the Regulations made pursuant to the Act, and any statute or regulations that may be substituted, as amended from time to time;
- "Board" means the SWCC Board of Directors;
- “Directors” refers to the members currently serving as the Board;
- "By-law" means this by-law and any other SWCC by-law;
- “Board meeting” is a meeting of the Board; includes an annual in--person meeting and conference telephone meetings;
- “Meeting of members” refers to the annual general meeting of members (AGM);
- “Informal member gatherings” includes any informal meeting of members such as cafés scientifique, pub nights, special development workshops, etc.;
- “Science communicator” is anyone who communicates about science in any medium or channel, new or traditional.
ARTICLE 2 - FINANCES
- Auditors shall be appointed at each annual meeting of members by a majority vote of the
members. The books will be audited annually.
- All cheques issued or endorsed in the name of the SWCC shall be signed by such directors,
employees or agents of the SWCC as determined from time to time by resolution of the
ARTICLE 2.1 - FINANCIAL YEAR-END
The fiscal year of the SWCC is July 1- to June 30.
ARTICLE 2.2 - BANKING ARRANGEMENTS
The banking business of the SWCC shall be transacted at such bank, trust company or other
firm or corporation carrying on a banking business in Canada or elsewhere as the Board may
designate, appoint or authorize from time to time by resolution. The banking business or any
part of it shall be transacted by a director of the SWCC and/or other persons as the Board may
by resolution from time to time designate, direct or authorize.
ARTICLE 2.3 - BORROWING POWERS
Borrowing is not allowed.
ARTICLE 2.4 - ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Annual financial statements will be presented at the meeting of members. Members may also
receive a copy free of charge at any time upon request.
ARTICLE 3 - POLICIES AND PURPOSES ARTICLE
ARTICLE 3.1 - MISSION
We are a national alliance of professional science communicators in all media.
Our mission is to cultivate excellence in science communication.
Our goal is to increase public awareness and accessibility of science in Canadian culture.
ARTICLE 3.2 - SPECIFIC GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
To promote and reward balanced and accurate science communication in Canada.
To create opportunities for members to meet and exchange ideas.
To initiate educational and training opportunities for science communicators in all regions of Canada.
To encourage communication between scientists and science communicators.
To encourage greater awareness among editors, producers, industry and government policy-makers of the need for balanced and excellent science coverage.
To nourish the growth of a membership that reflects Canadian society with respect to gender, race and region, as well as the growing field of science communication.
ARTICLE 4 - MEMBERSHIP
There shall be one class of membership with a common, single set of associated rights and
privileges. Apart from these rights and privileges there shall also be specific recognition of
distinctions between regular, student, and lifetime members.
Regular membership shall be open to all persons who share in the mission and goals of the
Student membership shall be open to bona fide full-time students of any educational
Pursuant to subsection 197(1) (Fundamental Change) of the Act, a special resolution of the
members is required to make any amendments to this section of the by-laws if those
amendments affect membership rights and/or conditions described in paragraphs 197(1)(e),
(h), (l) or (m).
ARTICLE 4.1 - MEMBERSHIP TRANSFERABILITY
Membership is non-transferable. Pursuant to Section 197(1) (Fundamental Change) of the Act,
a special resolution of the members is required to make any amendment to add, change or
delete this section of the by-laws.
ARTICLE 4.2 - RIGHTS OF MEMBERS
Regular, student and life members shall be entitled to all rights and privileges, and are eligible to
hold office as stipulated under "Directors" and "Nomination of Directors."
ARTICLE 4.3 - MEMBERSHIP DUES
- The dues shall be fixed by vote of the membership and shall be payable a year from the
date the person joined the SWCC. A member whose dues remain unpaid after a month’s
notice shall be suspended.
- A member in arrears shall have all services suspended, and may not vote until dues and
any applicable fees are paid in full.
- Any member who remains in arrears for two months shall be given a month’s notice. If dues
are not paid at the expiration of the second month, membership will be suspended.
- The Executive Director shall give the delinquent member due notification of suspension by
any method reasonably calculated to provide actual notice.
ARTICLE 4.4 - TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
A membership ends when:
- the member dies;
- the member resigns by delivering a written resignation to the chair of the Board of the
- SWCC in which case such resignation shall be effective on the date specified in the
- the member is expelled in accordance with disciplinary action set forth in this constitution;
- the member's term of membership expires.
ARTICLE 5 - DIRECTORS
ARTICLE 5.1 - NUMBER OF DIRECTORS
- The elected directors of the SWCC shall comprise a twelve-member Board that includes a
President, Vice President, and Treasurer. The directors, at the time of their nomination, shall
be members in good standing.
- The immediate Past President, who is still a voting member, shall serve on the Board by
virtue of office. The Executive Director shall serve as an ex-officio member of the Board. No
director can be close relative of the Executive Director. Close in this context refers to parent,
grandparent, aunt, uncle, spouse, son, daughter, cousin, and respective in-laws of the
ARTICLE 5.2 - TERM OF OFFICE OF DIRECTORS
All elected directors shall serve for a period of two years from the date of their election.
ARTICLE 5.3 - QUORUM AT MEETINGS
A quorum at meetings of the Board shall be a simple majority.
ARTICLE 5.4 - COMMITTEES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Four standing committees will be appointed each year to help the Board carry out the
SWCC’s major activities in connection with membership and recruiting, the Awards
Program, planning for the annual meeting and seminar, and online communication.
- In addition, a permanent committee will be struck to implement SWCC’s core mission of
cultivating excellence in science writing and science journalism and to uphold the
organization’s code of ethical conduct . This committee is open to all members, as well as
outside parties with an interest in issues of science communication. This committee’s
mandate features an open forum on all matters surrounding the landscape of science
journalism and ethics, with a key responsibility for bringing matters to the attention of the
Board of Directors for immediate action.
- Other committees may be appointed from time to time at the discretion of the Board to carry
out the SWCC’s work.
- All members in good standing may be appointed by the executive to sit on any committee.
To foster inclusivity and encourage participation, the Executive Director will inform the
membership of their eligibility to be appointed to a committee. This notice will be included
with the annual election results.
- Chairs of the standing committees, unless already elected members of the Board, shall be
ex officio members of the Board.
ARTICLE 5.5 - PROPOSALS NOMINATING DIRECTORS AT MEMBERS MEETINGS
- At the meeting of members, the membership present shall elect a Nominating Committee
consisting of four members in good standing. The Past President shall chair this committee.
- Five months before the meeting of members, the Nominating Committee shall inform all
members that nominations are open, and shall receive nominations from any two members
by whatever means it specifies.
- Nominations will close on the Friday at close of business, 10 weeks after notice.
- At the time of their nominations, all nominees must declare potential conflicts of interest.
- Election of directors will be by electronic vote of the entire voting membership in good standing. All ballots shall be posted online eight weeks before the AGM and must be
received by the office by close of business 30 days before the AGM. Election will be by a
simple majority of ballots, the results of which will be announced at the AGM.
- The Chair of the Nominating Committee will break any ties.
ARTICLE 5.6 - OTHER RULES
- Directors will not be remunerated.
- The new directors shall take office immediately after the election.
- Directors shall be elected bi-annually and can be removed by a two-thirds vote of a majority of members at a regular meeting or at a meeting especially called for the purpose.
- The Board may appoint from among the total membership other members to carry out duties as they see fit to carry out the SWCC’s work.
- Directors shall not serve more than two consecutive terms.
- If a Director does not complete their term, the Board shall appoint a SWCC member in good standing to replace the Director until the end of that term.
ARTICLE 6 - DESCRIPTION OF OFFICES
- The President, Vice President, Treasurer and three other directors appointed by the Board
shall comprise the Executive Committee, with the President as Chair of this committee.
Board members may come from anywhere in Canada.
- The Chair of the Membership Committee and Chair of the Website Committee shall be ex
officio members of both the Board and the Executive Committee.
ARTICLE 6.1 - DUTIES OF THE PRESIDENT
The President shall:
Preside over all meetings of the SWCC and be its official spokesperson.
- Call special meetings when, in his/her opinion, they are considered necessary or within two
months of any petition by five percent of the membership.
- Have signing authority on cheques.
ARTICLE 6.2 - DUTIES OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
The Vice President shall:
- Chair Board meetings when the President is unable to fulfill that function or decides to delegate them.
- Complete the President’s term if the President leaves before the end of his/her term.
- Have signing authority on cheques.
ARTICLE 6.3 - DUTIES OF THE TREASURER
The Treasurer shall:
- Transmit to the membership, at the meeting of members, a summary of the SWCC’s financial status.
- Give a quarterly update on SWCC finances and, if necessary between these reports, alert the Board of any serious financial issues.
- Maintain a corporate seal.
- Ensure documents issued by the SWCC can be certified with the signature of any two elected directors. Have signing authority on cheques.
ARTICLE 7 - MEETINGS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The SWCC shall hold regular Board meetings throughout the year.
ARTICLE 7.1 - CALLING OF BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETINGS
- Regular meetings of the Board may be held at such dates as may be fixed from time to time
by the Board.
- Special meetings may be called at any time at the discretion of the President or for a date
within two months of any petition by five percent of the membership.
ARTICLE 7.2 - NOTICE OF BOARD MEETINGS
The Executive Director shall notify members of all regular meetings at least one month in
ARTICLE 7.3 - BOARD MEETINGS HELD ENTIRELY BY ELECTRONIC MEANS
Board of Director’s meetings may be held entirely by telephonic, electronic or other
ARTICLE 7.4 - PARTICIPATION BY ELECTRONIC MEANS AT BOARD MEETINGS
Board members may participate in a meeting by teleconference or similar communications
equipment, so long as all members participating in such meeting can hear one another at the
same time. Participation by such means shall constitute presence in person at a meeting.
ARTICLE 7.5 - VOTES TO GOVERN AT BOARD MEETINGS
At any meeting of members, and of the Board, questions and resolutions shall be determined by
a majority of the votes cast. In the event of a tie, the meeting chair may cast a second vote.
ARTICLE 7.6 - ABSENTEE VOTING AT BOARD MEETINGS
At any Board meeting, directors may transfer their vote on particular issues to a designated
proxy by means of a recorded communication to another director.
ARTICLE 7.7 - QUORUM AT BOARD MEETINGS
A majority of the entire Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business or of any
specified item of business.
ARTICLE 7.8 - ACTION WITHOUT MEETING
Any action required or permitted to be taken by the Board may be taken without a meeting, if all
members of the Board consent by email to the adoption of a resolution authorizing the action.
Such action by written consent shall be filed with the minutes of the Board.
ARTICLE 7.9 - ADJOURNMENT OF MEETINGS
A majority of the directors present, whether or not a quorum is present, may adjourn any
meeting of the Board to another time and place. Notice of the time and place of holding an
adjourned meeting need not be given to absent directors if the time and place be fixed at the
meeting adjourned, except as provided in the next sentence. If the meeting is adjourned for
more than 24 hours, notice of any adjournment to another time or place shall be given before
the time of the adjourned meeting to the directors who were not present at the time of the
ARTICLE 8 - ANNUAL MEMBERS’ MEETING
The SWCC shall hold an annual meeting of members (annual general meeting: AGM).
ARTICLE 8.1 - NOTICE OF MEMBERS’ MEETING
Notice of the time and place of a meeting of members shall be given to each member entitled to
vote at the meeting by telephonic, electronic or other communication facility to each member
entitled to vote at the meeting, during a period of 21 to 35 days before the day on which the
meeting is to be held. If a member requests that the notice be given by non-electronic means,
the notice will be sent by mail, courier or personal delivery. Pursuant to the Act (subsection
197), a special vote must be held to amend this Constitution to change how members are
informed of meetings.
ARTICLE 8.2 - PLACE OF MEMBERS’ MEETINGS
Meetings of the members may be held at any place within Canada determined by the Board or,
if all of the members entitled to vote at such meeting so agree, outside Canada.
ARTICLE 8.3 - PERSONS ENTITLED TO BE PRESENT AT MEMBERS’ MEETINGS
Members, non-members, directors, and the public accountant of the SWCC may attend any
meeting of members. However, only voting members can decide the outcome of motions at the
ARTICLE 8.3 - PARTICIPATION BY ELECTRONIC MEANS AT MEMBERS’ MEETING
Members may participate in a meeting by teleconference or similar communications equipment,
so long as all members participating in such meeting can hear one another at the same time.
Participation by such means shall constitute presence in person at a meeting.
ARTICLE 8.4 - VOTES TO GOVERN AT MEMBERS’ MEETING
A member entitled to vote at a meeting may vote by means of a telephonic, digital or other
communication facility if the SWCC has a system that enables the votes to be gathered in a
manner that permits their subsequent verification, and permits the tallied votes to be presented
to the SWCC without it being possible for the SWCC to identify how each member voted.
ARTICLE 8.5 - ABSENTEE VOTING
At any meeting of members, members may transfer their vote on particular issues to a
designated proxy by means of a recorded communication to another member.
ARTICLE 8.6 - QUORUM AT MEMBERS’ MEETING
A majority of all members present shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business or of
any specified item of business.
ARTICLE 8.7 - COST OF PUBLISHING PROPOSALS FOR ANNUAL MEMBERS’ MEETINGS
Proposals for the location and execution of the AGM shall be assembled independently from
other board activities and at no cost to the organization.
ARTICLE 8.8 - MEMBERS CALLING A MEMBERS’ MEETING
If members wish to call a special Board meeting, they may make a written request to do so. The
Board must respond to this request within 21 days or those members may call a meeting
ARTICLE 9 - CODE OF ETHICAL CONDUCT
- A member shall take all necessary measures to ensure that the information he/she purveys
to the public is accurate, truthful and impartial.
- A member shall not for any remuneration by a commercial organization permit his or her
identification or membership with the SWCC to be used to promote a commercial service, a
commercial product or a commercial organization. Such activity shall be considered
prejudicial to the best interest of the SWCC. The Code of Ethics recognizes that members
operating in a freelance capacity can take part in these activities on their own recognizance,
such that their identification with the SWCC is acknowledged but not regarded as the reason
they are engaged in these activities.
- Membership of the SWCC shall be conditional on strict observance of the highest standards
of conduct. Willful or frequent misrepresentation or inaccuracy, willful breach of confidence, slanderous or libellous email, tweets, blogs or other electronic postings, or behaviour in any
way prejudicial to the professional interests of the membership of the SWCC shall be
considered in breach of such observance.
- A member against whom a formal complaint of infringement of rule (3) is laid shall be called
before the Board of which at least five members shall be present, including a representative
of the Membership Committee. A copy of the written complaint shall be sent to the
respondent at least three weeks before the hearing. An adequate record shall be kept of the
hearing. The Board, which shall have the sole power of disciplining members, shall have
power to warn, suspend or expel the member against whom complained.
- The Membership Committee or the Board shall be empowered to make all such enquiries
and to call for all such evidence as it may consider necessary to reach a decision on any
application for membership.
- The Membership Committee or the Board’s decision to accept or to reject an application or
expel a member shall be final, provided that said candidate shall be entitled to reapply for
membership twelve (12) months from the date on which notification of the decision was
- In the event that the Membership Committee or the Board determines that a member should
be expelled or suspended from membership in the SWCC, the President, or such other
director as may be designated by the Board, shall provide twenty (20) days’ notice of
suspension or expulsion to the member and shall provide reasons for the proposed
suspension or expulsion. The member may make written submissions to the President or
such other director as may be designated by the board in response to the notice received
within such twenty (20) day period. In the event that no written submissions are received by
the President, the Vice President, or such other director as may be designated by the Board
may proceed to notify the member that the member is suspended or expelled from
membership in the SWCC. If written submissions are received in accordance with this
section, the Board will consider such submissions in arriving at a final decision and shall
notify the member concerning such final decision within a further twenty (20) days from the
date of receipt of the submissions. The Board's decision shall be final and binding on the
member, without any further right of appeal.
- Disputes or controversies among members, directors, committee members, or volunteers of
the SWCC are as much as possible to be resolved in accordance with mediation and/or
arbitration as provided in the section on dispute resolution mechanism of this by-law.
ARTICLE 10 - AMENDMENTS
- By-laws may be repealed or amended by a simple majority of members present at the
annual meeting of members or at a meeting especially called for the purpose.
- The proposed amendment shall be circulated by the Executive Director to the membership.
- Members may express opposition or approval, on a ballot provided for the purpose within a month of the date of formal announcement. If less than one-quarter of the members state their opposition by letter to the Executive Director, the amendment shall be adopted.
- This section does not apply to a by-law that requires a special resolution of the members according to subsection 197(1) (fundamental change) of the Act.
ARTICLE 11 - OTHER PROVISIONS
ARTICLE 11.1 - INDEMNIFICATION
The SWCC shall take out insurance to indemnify each of its directors against expenses,
judgments, fines, settlements and other amounts actually and reasonably incurred in connection
with any proceeding arising by reason of (a) the acts or obligations of the SWCC or (b) the fact
any such person is or was a director of the SWCC.
ARTICLE 11.2 - CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Whenever a director has a financial or personal interest in any matter coming before the Board,
the Board shall ensure that:
- The interest of such director is fully disclosed to the Board.
- No interested director may vote or lobby on the matter or be counted in determining the existence of a quorum at the meeting of the Board at which such matter is voted upon.
- Any transaction in which a director has a financial or personal interest shall be duly approved by members of the Board not so interested or connected as being in the SWCC’s best interests.
- Payments to the interested director shall be reasonable and shall not exceed fair market value.
- The minutes of meetings at which such votes are taken shall record such disclosure, abstention and rationale for approval.
ARTICLE 11.3 - A YEARLY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR EVALUATION
The Executive Director’s performance shall be evaluated yearly by the President, Vice President
ARTICLE 11.4 - CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW
The Constitution shall be reviewed every five years. Next review is in 2022/2023.