COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the business community, and traditional retail is among the hardest-hit industries – especially considering it is an industry which had its challenges pre-COVID.
In compliance with the instructions of local health authorities, Mountain Equipment Co-op has been forced to close brick and mortar stores, impacting employees and members, alike. These extraordinary circumstances have had a profound impact on the co-op’s revenues.
Recognizing the effect of COVID-19 and the all-consuming nature of the pandemic, the Registrar in British Columbia has decided that all co-operatives in the province may postpone their AGMs for a period of six months. As the most prudent course of action in light of the persistent state of uncertainty, MEC has made the difficult decision to postpone its AGM.
As COVID-19 has flipped the operations of the business on its head, the decision to delay the AGM was the right one. MEC followed in the footsteps of other co-operatives in delaying their AGM to focus on the acute, urgent and time sensitive challenges stemming from the pandemic. Delaying the release of the board of directors’ election results until there was clarity around the AGM was necessary to allow all new eligible members to cast votes in accordance with MEC’s Rules of Co-operation.
MEC is committed to holding a virtual AGM on December 10, 2020, and the board of directors’ election results will be released at the AGM. When COVID-19 necessitated delaying our AGM, we reviewed our Rules of Cooperation to ensure that the delay would not affect the integrity of the election process. Under Rule 12.02, every member who became a member 16 weeks or more before the next annual general meeting is eligible to vote in the current election of directors. As a result of the new AGM date, individuals who purchased a membership between March 3 and August 20, 2020 are eligible to take part. These votes will be added to the current results, which remain untallied and are held confidentially, in trust by a third-party.
MEC’s members are the bedrock of MEC’s success, and MEC’s accountability to its members is unwavering.
Question and Answer
1. Why did MEC delay the annual AGM?
MEC, like other co-operatives, delayed our AGM in order to focus on our mission, ensuring our members access to outdoor gear, know-how and inspiration, while dealing with the acute challenges stemming from COVID-19. The Registrar in British Columbia made the extraordinary decision to allow for co-operatives’ AGMs across the province to be delayed.
2. Why have you not yet released the results of the board of directors’ election?
Voting and ensuing election results are fundamentally linked to the AGM under the Rules of Cooperation. Delaying the counting of votes is necessary to allow individuals who purchased a membership between March 3, 2020 and August 20, 2020 to cast their ballots before the results are released. Under Rule 12.02, every member who became a member 16 weeks or more before the next annual general meeting is eligible to vote in the current election of directors. Announcement of the election results is made by the auditors at the AGM, which has been delayed. (Rule 14.06).
3. Has MEC rescheduled its annual general meeting? If so, for when?
The current plan is to host a virtual AGM on December 10, 2020. This scheduling gives us adequate time to plan an AGM in compliance with MEC’s Rules of Co-operation while adhering to requirements set by the Registrar in British Columbia. MEC’s decision was made with the best interests of our members and employees in mind, and in keeping with good governance practices.
4. When will the results of the 2020 board of directors’ election be released?
The results of the 2020 board of directors’ election will be released at the AGM on December 10, 2020 in accordance with MEC Rule 14.06 whereby the election auditor must announce the result of the election, including the number of votes received by each candidate, at the annual general meeting. New MEC members who purchased a membership between March 3, 2020 and August 20, 2020, will be eligible to cast their vote in a period to be determined prior to the postponed AGM. These votes will be added to the current results, which remain untallied and are held confidentially, in trust.
5. Has this been a fair process for your members?
Yes, it has. MEC continues to be accountable to the more than 5 million members of the Mountain Equipment Co-op community. MEC’s members are the bedrock of MEC’s success, and every decision has been made with the best interests of our members, employees, and community in mind.
6. Why have you not yet released the financials which were supposed to be made public at the AGM?
COVID-19 had an unprecedented impact on the business community and has forced us to adjust nearly every aspect of our day-to-day operations in a very short period of time. Our focus has remained steadfast on the acute, urgent and time sensitive challenges stemming from the pandemic. We are working with our independent auditor to finalize our financials and commit to posting results prior to our postponed AGM, as has been our practice in recent years.
Updated June 12, 2020