Gaden Relief Projects

Helping Tibetans and Mongolians preserve their unique cultures.

Minutes

GRP Board Meeting
Toronto
Jan. 30, 2009

Present: Zasep Tulku (Venerable Zasep Rinpoche), Evan Zaleschuk (by teleconference), Matthew Richards (by teleconference), Conrad Richter (Chair)


AGENDA

1. Proposal for head office move.
2. Appointment of auditor
3. Change of timing for Annual General Meeting
4. Meeting formalities

1. Proposal for head office move

The first issue our Board addressed was whether or not to move our head office from its traditional home of Ven. Zasep Rinpoche’s Buddhist temple, Gaden Choling in municipal Toronto.

Lately, the religious community, or Sangha, at the temple has found that the Gaden Relief volunteer work they have had to do over the last while, for example, the paperwork, has become a bit of an inconvenience. However, since Gaden Relief is a Federally recognized charity and organization, Federal legal rules would have to be applied in the case of an address change. Our address is in our Constitution. Therefore a change in one would mean a change in the other and this decision would entail detailed, inconvenient consequences. We would have to first publish, in English and French, our intention to move our office in the “Canada Gazette” [Federal government official publication]. We would then have to have our decision formally approved by Industry Canada. After this, we would have to call a meeting to vote on the decision and eventually have it approve and ratified at an AGM. We also felt that if we moved our office to a private address like Conrad’s; while it would make some things easier, like clerical work, it may also make our organization look less official and transparent to government agencies, even sparking audits etc. If there was a change in the membership of our Board and our office needed to be moved again, to suit a better personal address, then we would have to go through the whole complicated process of changing our Constitution again. Rinpoche said that if we kept our office at Gaden Choling he would ask one of his students there to post all of our mail and paperwork to Conrad’s domestic address.

At this point of the conference call we decided to vote on whether to move the Gaden Relief office to Conrad’s personal address or keep it at the Gaden Choling address.

Unanimously, we decided to keep the office at the Gaden Choling address.

2. Appointment of auditor.

The Board decided that we needed to get a Chartered Accountant to whom we could submit our tax return, within six months of our fiscal year end: the end of each April month. This year, we were 1 month late with our return and we received a letter from the government, threatening to revoke our charity status. Due to widespread abuses, Revenue Canada has been closing down thousands of charities that have not followed the official rules around their charitable status. Conrad submitted all the proper paperwork and got everything sorted out. This situation was a wake-up call for our Board to make sure we are diligent in following all the official rules around charitable status.

This was a good segueto the topic of us being more knowledgeable about such rules and regulations. Conrad said that one of the rules of which we were unaware is the need for our organization to have an appointed auditor, an accountant as a disinterested 3rd party, to produce official audited statements. In other words, to have an accountant go over our books, to make sure everything we do is legal and proper and to stake their professional reputation upon their work with us. This would constitute, for us, a yearly $2000.-5000. expense. This is a Federal, not Provincial law and supposedly Industry Canada is moving to make this process a whole lot easier for charities. In the meantime, we will have to start formally observing this rule. Conrad said we must make it a priority to find a CA in the Toronto area as soon as possible. The Board formally asked Conrad to see to this.

3. Change of timing for Annual General Meeting.

Conrad also made us aware that, officially, we need to hold our AGM 30 days after the yearly, year-end fiscal report and that the AGM would be held in person. As our organization is small and decentralized, we’ve had a hard time doing this. Conrad suggested that we change our Constitution to reflect this fact and that we should see if we could hold our AGM up to six months after our fiscal year and that we could do it by teleconference call. The Board formally asked Conrad to look into this, to have our by-laws changed and this to be submitted, with fee, to Industry Canada to be officially approved.

4. Meeting formalities.

Legally, we must also institute a more formal structure to our Gaden Relief meetings, such as approving and agenda, reviewing the minutes of the previous meeting etc. The Board agreed that hereupon we would make this so and officially start this procedure at our next teleconference call.
End of Meeting

[Minutes prepared by Matthew Richards]