Byers v. The Cariboo College Student Society (2006 referendum) (now Thompson Rivers University Students’ Union)

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The Cariboo College Student Society (CCSS) held a referendum to affiliate to the Canadian Federation of Students on Feb. 7-9, 2006. Two students, unrepresented by legal counsel, tried to overturn the results of the referendum, on two grounds: (1) the referendum process violated the CCSS’s bylaws, and (2) there were irregularities in the referendum itself. The Court ruled that it was the bylaws of the CFS that governed, not the CCSS, as “it is typically the organization in which membership is sought which sets the rules upon which it is prepared to grant membership” (para. 8). The Court also referenced CFS (Ontario) v. Students Federation of the University of Ottawa (1995), a similar previous case. With respect to the allegations of irregularities, the Court did not find any evidence of irregularities. The Court noted that the referendum “process […] functioned well enough to determine that Mr. Byers had voted twice in the referendum and had been refused the opportunity to vote a third time” (para. 14), conduct that the Court found “reprehensible” (para. 15).