Mike Thomas/Yukon News The Many Rivers offices in downtown Whitehorse

Many Rivers risks losing its government funding

Money may be withheld in 2019 if the organization doesn’t file an annual report

Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services Society will have its Yukon government funding withheld in 2019 if it doesn’t file the necessary documents to remain in good standing, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) confirmed on Nov. 20.

“We can confirm that as of November 20, 2018, Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services Society was not in good standing under the Societies Act as they have not filed their 2018 annual report,” said spokesperson Clarissa Wall.

“We understand that Many Rivers has scheduled an Annual General Meeting for November 23, 2018. We are hopeful they will file the necessary documents with Corporate Affairs to regain good standing,” Wall continued in an email.

The staff of Many Rivers has been on strike since Nov. 2.

On Sept. 28, the society’s board held a meeting passing a motion to institute a moratorium on new members to the society. It cited concerns including politicization of the society, potential conflicts of interest from members, or groups becoming members “with purposes not consistent with the organization’s purpose,” said a press release from the Yukon Employees Union (YEU).

The YEU said in its release that the motion contravenes society bylaws. The union said more than 20 people had requested membership in the society since September, but that those people were not informed of the surprise annual general meeting, planned for Nov. 23.

The release also said that corporate registries with the Yukon government has stated that all applications for membership that have been submitted are valid, and that those members are entitled to receive notice for the annual general meeting.

Steve Geick, president of the YEU, said the society sent out an email about the AGM late on Nov. 16. He said new members were not informed.

Geick told the News that even if the meeting happens, it won’t be recognized, and that the proper steps to take include giving 21 days notice to the full membership of the society.

The News tried to contact Brent Ramsay, executive director of Many Rivers, but there was no answer and his voicemail was full.

Wall said that, in the event Many Rivers fails to meet its obligations and ceases operations in 2019, HSS has a plan in place to “fill in the gaps.”

HSS did not respond in time for publication to questions about what that plan entails.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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