Bylaw Review Project

The Need for a new By-Law

We are pleased to share a draft of new recommended by-laws for The 519. The 519’s by-laws are required by the City of Toronto’s Relationship Framework, a document that outlines the relationship between the City and community centres such as ours.  It has been 20 years since we have revised this important document. During that time, our 2SLGBTQ+ communities have grown and expanded, with many more people living outside the area that has traditionally been The 519’s catchment.

Reviewing the by-laws provided an opportunity to empower more 2SLGBTQ+ people to become members, and to empower more existing 519 members to vote on matters brought before them at Annual Meetings. We are also proposing to:

  1. Eliminate unnecessary details or add missing details;
  2. Clarify language that was unclear;
  3. Ensure that the by-laws consider legislative changes that have occurred since 2003; and
  4. Update outdated language such as pronouns that do not express a variety of gender identities.

Empowering more 519 members—and safeguarding of the purpose of The 519 as a community centre that provides programs and services to the broader 2SLGBTQ+ communities of common interest—are key features of the proposed changes. This is being proposed in 4 ways:

  1. Safeguarding our 2SLGBTQ+ focus: A key feature of the proposed changes is the embedding of The 519’s mandate to serve the 2SLGBTQ+ community in the by-laws, and the requirement for members to follow The 519’s and the City’s policy to become and to remain a member, regardless of whether or not a member lives in our catchment. We believe it is important to protect The 519’s commitments and programming for 2SLGBTQ+ communities into the future.
  2. Realigning The 519’s catchment boundaries: We are proposing to expand The 519’s catchment to a rectangular district roughly matching the new Ward 13 boundaries. This is an area roughly three times the size of the current catchment, and it will immediately allow at least 100 more existing members to vote on who gets to be a 519 Board member.
  3. Updating how we refer to members: We are proposing changing the terms for the two types of members from “Voting Members/ Associate Members” to “Catchment Members /Non-Catchment Members”.
  4. Additional voting rights for “Non-Catchment” 519 Members: 519 members who don’t live in our catchment area would now be able to vote on every matter brought before an Annual Meeting except who gets to be a Board member (City policy restricts voting on Board member appointments to members who live in our catchment). We believe that adding these voting rights may encourage more 2SLGBTQ+ people who do not live in our catchment to become new members.

Member Questions and Feedback

At the 2023 Annual Meeting, members of The 519 who live in the current catchment area will vote to approve the proposed new by-laws in their entirety.

For that reason, we have been providing members with an opportunity to review the proposed changes, ask us questions and provide us with feedback. A public information meeting was held on May 8, 2023, to provide an overview of the proposed changes.

Here you will find the proposed changes to the by-laws. For easy comparison, the attached document shows the current by-laws in the left-hand column, and the proposed new by-laws, clause-by-clause, beside them on the right.

Next Steps and Key Dates

The next steps leading up to our Annual Meeting are summarized in this chart:

Step Deadline/ Date
Feedback or questions from members on the attached draft, to The 519 (send comments and questions to July 6, 2023 (deadline passed)
Board consideration of member feedback; any last changes to the draft by-laws; and approval of final proposed draft of by-laws August 1, 2023
Circulation and public notice of the Annual Meeting package for 519 members, including the final proposed draft of the new by-laws August 28, 2023
The 519’s Annual Meeting September 27, 2023

What will happen at the Annual Meeting

At the Annual Meeting, a motion will be put before the members who live in our current catchment to approve the new by-laws.