This is an unofficial archived version of The Women's Institutes Act
as enacted by SM 1987-88, c. 9 on July 17, 1987.

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R.S.M. 1987, c. W180

The Women's Institutes Act

Table of contents

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:



In this Act,

"board" means the Provincial Board continued under this Act; ("Commission")

"department" means The Department of Agriculture; ("ministère")

"director" means a person designated as such by the minister; ("directrice")

"institute" means any women's institute organized or continued under this Act; ("association")

"minister" means the Minister of Agriculture. ("ministre")




The objects of an institute shall be to stimulate an interest in the improvement of the individual home, in country and town, and to advance the interests of the community along all lines which lead to better living.

Institutes to be non-sectarian.


All institutes organized shall be strictly non-partisan and non-sectarian in every phase of their work; and no institute shall be operated in the interests of any party or sect, but for the equal good of all citizens.



No subject shall be presented at any institute meeting, or discussion allowed, of a partisan or sectarian nature; nor shall any speaker be allowed in his or her lecture, essay or speech, or in any discussion, to advertise wares or schemes in which he or she has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest.


Former institutes continued subject to this Act


All institutes established and in operation on the coming into force of this Act, continue, subject to this Act, and the officers of those institutes continue to hold office until their successors take office.




Unless it is shown to the satisfaction of the minister to be detrimental to the interests of an institute already in existence, a women's institute may be formed under the provisions hereof, in the following manner:

(a) an application in Form A in the Schedule and containing the information indicated as required thereby, shall be signed by not fewer than eight persons, each of whom is 18 years of age or over, a resident of the province, and not a member of any other institute of the province;

(b) every person signing an application shall pay at least 50¢ as, or as part of, her first annual subscription to the funds of the proposed institute; and the moneys shall be paid to, and be held by, one of the subscribers in trust for the institute;

(c) the application shall be transmitted to the director who, if he finds the application correct in every particular, shall forward it to the minister for approval:

(d) if the application is approved by the minister, he shall declare the subscribers thereto to be organized as an institute under the name: "The (giving distinguishing name) Women's Institute" and shall issue a certificate of organization;

(e) the subscribers and such persons as may thereafter become members of the institute are hereby created, and are thereafter, a body corporate under the name stated in the certificate of organization;

(f) for the purposes of this Act the headquarters of an institute shall be the usual place of holding its meetings or the place which it has by a bylaw or resolution passed at a regular meeting designated as its headquarters; and a certified copy of the by-law or resolution shall be forwarded to the director;

(g) as soon as practicable after the formation of an institute a meeting of the subscribers and of such other persons as desire to become members shall be held at the call of the director at such time and place and after such public notice as he directs;

(h) within one week after the meeting the secretary shall send to the director a report of the meeting, certified as correct by the president and secretary, containing a list of officers elected or appointed.




The funds of an institute, however derived, shall not be expended for any object inconsistent with this Act.



The funds shall be deposited to the credit of the institute, in a bank or a credit union; and all cheques shall be issued by the secretarytreasurer on instructions from the executive officers.


Qualifications and fees.


Any woman residing in the district served by an institute and qualified to sign an application for the formation of an institute, and who is not at the time a member of any other institute in Manitoba, may become a member thereof at any time on payment to the treasurer of a membership fee of not less than 50¢.



Payment of the fee entitles the person paying it to the privileges of membership for the financial year for which it is paid and until the conclusion of the next following annual meeting.

Privileges on transfer.


A person who is a paid up member of an institute and who moves to another district shall, on presentation of her membership card to an institute in the new district, receive full membership privileges in that institute for the balance of the current year.




The officers of an institute shall be those designated by the by-laws of the institute.



Subject to subsection (3), the directors of an institute consist of the officers and not more than seven other directors.

Additional directors.


Where an institute has more than 50 members, one more director may be elected for each additional 10 members.

Voting qualifications.


The persons qualified to vote for officers or to be elected are only those members who have paid their membership fees as required by this Act.

By-laws for election of officers and directors.


The by-laws of an institute shall

(a) provide for the nomination and election of the directors of the institute;

(b) provide for the appointment of an auditor who shall not be a director of the institute; and

(c) prescribe the procedure for the nomination and election of the directors and officers and the term to be served by the directors and officers.

Secretary-treasurer to be appointed.


The directors may appoint a secretary-treasurer, who may or may not be a director and who shall hold office during pleasure.

Duties of secretary-treasurer.


The secretary-treasurer shall

(a) receive all moneys paid to the institute and disburse them in the manner ordered by the board of directors;

(b) keep a complete and detailed record of all moneys received and disbursed;

(c) keep minutes of all meetings of the institute, conduct correspondence for the institute, subject to the direction of the officers, and forward to the director such reports as may be required;

(d) prepare at the end of the financial year such statement of the finances of the institute as is required to be submitted to the annual meeting.

Vacancies in office.


Where an officer dies or resigns or otherwise vacates her office, the directors shall appoint an eligible person to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term.

Director may call meetings when officers fail.


Where, at any time, an institute has no officers, or if there is an insufficient number of officers and they do not act, the director may authorize any person to call a meeting of the institute for the election of officers or for any other purpose or may take such other action as he deems proper in the interests of the institute.


Annual meeting.


Each institute shall hold an annual meeting at such time and place as may be prescribed by the by-laws of the board.

Notice of meeting.


At least two weeks' previous notice of the meeting, with full particulars as to place and date, shall be given by the secretary of the institute by advertisement in a newspaper or by such notice as the officers may decide to give.

Report of officers.


At the meeting the officers shall present for consideration by the members a report of the proceedings of the institute, and other important business transacted, together with a statement of the receipts and expenditures for the immediately preceding fiscal year, shown in such form as may be required by the by-laws of the board.

Annual report to director.


Within 10 days after the date of the annual meeting of an institution the secretary thereof shall submit to the director, a certified copy of the annual report of the institute together with a list of the names and mailing address of the officers of the institute.

Substitute meeting.


Where an institute fails to hold its annual meeting within the time appointed, the director may appoint a time for holding it; and the meeting shall be called in accordance with section 19 by the secretary-treasurer or by some person appointed by the director for the purpose; and the meeting shall be deemed the annual meeting of the institute and conducted as such in every particular.



Five members shall constitute a quorum at a meeting of an institute, and three directors at a meeting of the directors.

Directors* meetings.


Meetings of the board of directors may be held at any time at the call of the president, and, in her absence, of the vice-president or any three members of the board, and the secretary-treasurer, when instructed so to do, shall give at least seven days' notice in writing to every member of the board, which notice shall be posted by mail in due course or as otherwise provided by by-law.

Meetings other than annual.


Each institute shall hold, on its own initiative, such number of meetings each year as may be prescribed by its by-laws; and no new institutes shall be regarded as eligible for participation in any grants which may hereafter be given by the Legislature to women's institutes unless it has been in existence at least six months previous to the time of holding its regular annual meeting and has held at least four regular meetings on its own initiative.


Institute may hold and acquire land.


Every institute organized before or after the coming into force of this Act is a body corporate, with power to acquire and hold land, and, subject to the approval of the institute given at a meeting called for the purpose, to sell, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of the land or any other property held by the institute.

Notice of meeting.


At least one month's previous notice of the meeting under subsection (1), shall be given in the manner provided for calling the meetings; and the notice shall state the object for which the meeting is called.


Institutes to make own by-laws.


Each institute shall make by-laws not inconsistent with the objects of the institute for the conducting of its business.


Director to supervise.


The director shall have the general direction and supervision of all institutes organized or existing under this Act; and, in the direction and supervision thereof, he is responsible to the minister.

Provincial Board continued.


The Provincial Board whose members shall, subject to subsection (2), serve for such term as may be provided in the by-laws, is continued.



The directors of the board shall be composed of

(a) a representative of the Home Economic directorate of the government of Manitoba;

(b) a representative of the Faculty of Human Ecology, University of Manitoba;

(c) two women appointed by the minister each of whom shall serve for a term of three years;

(d) a president;

(e) a president-elect; and

(f) such number of elected directors from specific geographic districts and from the province as may be provided by the by-laws of the board.

Meetings of board.


The board shall meet at such times as may be required for the purpose of deciding on the needs of the various institutes and suggesting the best methods of meeting those needs.

By-laws of board.


The board shall, subject to the approval of the minister, make such by-laws, rules and regulations that it considers to be in the best interest of the various institutes and plan generally for the success of women's work in the province.

Regulations Act does not apply.


The Regulations Act does not apply to a by-law, rule or regulation made under subsection (2).


Dissolution of an institute.


Where it appears to him advisable that an institute be dissolved, the minister may order and declare that, on and after a day to be named by him, the institute shall cease to exist, whereupon the institute shall be dissolved.

Procedure on.


Prior to the proposed dissolution of an institute, the minister may appoint a liquidator or liquidators to adjust and settle the assets and liabilities of the institute: and the liquidator or liquidators so appointed may sell and dispose of, and convert into money, all the assets and property of the institute and shall apply the proceeds, so far as they extend, firstly in the payment of his or their remuneration, which shall be fixed by the minister, and secondly in payment of the debts of the institute; and the surplus, if any, shall be paid into the funds of the municipality within which the institute is organized, if at any time the municipality has paid grants to the institute, otherwise the surplus shall be paid into the general women's institute funds of the province.



For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act according to their intent, the minister may make such regulations, rules, and orders as are ancillary thereto and are not inconsistent therewith, and every regulation, rule, or order made under, and in accordance with the authority granted by, this section has the force of law.



(Section 6)

Petition for the formation of "The (giving distinguishing name) Women's Institute".

We, the undersigned, being desirous of securing the establishment of a women's institute, under the name of (here give name of proposed society), hereby subscribe the sums set opposite our respective names, and promise to continue to pay to the secretary-treasurer of the institute, so long as we remain members of it, not less than 50¢ cents annually; and we further promise to conform to the by-laws and other regulations of the institute. The area from within which our members will be obtained is defined as follows:

I, , secretary-treasurer, pro tem of the proposed women's institute referred to in the annexed petition, do solemnly declare that I have received the sums mentioned in the petition, amounting in the aggregate to dollars cents ($ ), and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing it to be true, and knowing that it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath, and by virtue of the Canada Evidence Act.

Secretary-Treasurer pro tem.

Declared before me at this day of ,19

A Justice of the Peace, or Notary Public, or a Commissioner for Oaths, etc.