The battle against the Delta Hospice Society resumes on Saturday after online issues derailed the AGM
The Delta Hospice Society (DHS) will reconvene what has been described as a ‘battle royal’ annual general meeting on Saturday after being forced to abandon the original date a week earlier due to technical issues with the meeting platform. in line.
At stake is control of the non-profit organization and a $4 million charity store and property in Tsawwassen.
On one side is Take Back Delta Hospice, a local advocacy group rallying members and voting to return the company’s assets and direction to the Delta community.
On the other side is the current DHS leadership, which has been actively recruiting members sympathetic to their religious and pro-life beliefs from across Canada and beyond since taking office in 2019.
The society has been embroiled in controversy and legal battles for more than two years after the board refused to offer medical assistance in dying at Ladner’s Irene Thomas hospice, forcing the province to cancel 1 $.5 million in annual operating funds.
Fraser Health now runs the hospice after DHS was forced out of it and the adjacent Harold and Veronica Savage Center for Supportive Care in 2021.
Saturday’s key showdown is the vote to hold future annual general meetings online rather than in person, as the company’s bylaws currently dictate. (A B.C. Supreme Court judge authorized a one-time virtual AGM in a 2021 decision.)
DHS President Angelina Ireland said virtual general meetings are the way of the future.
“As far as the pandemic is concerned, we have entered a world where we cannot rely on the fact that we will always be able to even meet with our neighbors. So we have to make contingency plans in a world in which we live. now.” she said.
Take Back Delta Hospice organizer and former DHS President Jim Levin said his group hopes to reject the proposal.
“It shouldn’t be people from the UK or Newfoundland or North Vancouver [making decisions]. It should be Delta people,” Levin said. “Our #1 goal is to stop the rule change so they have to go back to in-person meetings, which will come down to making sure Delta residents have a say.” in what’s going on.”
Of the 13,518 DHS members eligible to vote at the AGM, 2,919 are from Delta, according to figures provided by Take Back Delta Hospice. The neighboring communities of Richmond and Surrey have a total of 839 members.
The other parts of British Columbia have 4,819 members. Ontario is the second most represented province with 2,362 voting members, followed by Alberta with 1,248. Internationally, there are 177 voting members in the United States and a handful in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Australia.
Since the loss of provincial funding and operation of the two buildings, DHS has shifted to providing a 1-800 hospice care helpline. Ireland said the society is now a national organization rooted in the Delta.
During the first attempt at an annual general meeting on March 26, around 30% of participants had serious problems with the online platform, affecting their ability to participate, according to Ireland. Another 30% reported no issues while the remaining 40% fell somewhere in between, she said. Only part of the agenda has been completed.
Ireland was unable to say what might happen if problems with the Converso virtual meeting and voting platform persist when the AGM resumes on Saturday.
“The supplier has worked hard to iron out the issues,” she said.
CBC contacted Converso for comment, but did not hear back.