Constitution

INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF THANATOLOGIST ASSOCIATIONS
FIAT-IFTA

The World Organization of Funeral Operatives

     
 

Article I

NAME
The name of the organisation shall be Fédération Internationale des Associations de Thanatologues -International Federation of Thanatologists Associations – FIAT-IFTA - World Organization of Funeral Operatives called in this Constitution: FIAT-IFTA or the Federation.

Article II

LANGUAGE
The working language of the Federation is English. In the event of a dispute, the understanding will be based on the Dutch version of the Constitution.

Article III

PRINCIPAL OFFICE
The Federation has its seat in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The office address of the Federation is the address of the Federation’s Secretary or such other address as may be specified by the International Council of Direction (I.C.D.).

Article IV

STATEMENT OF IDENTITY, MISSION AND OBJECTIVES

A. Identity
The Federation was founded on the initiative of entrepreneurs in the Funeral Sector reunited in a meeting in Monaco, April nineteen hundred seventy (1970) and is established as a non-profit International Federation for the funeral profession.

FIAT- IFTA is a non-profit Federation of national or international associations, companies and individuals representing funeral, thanatopraxy, crematory and/or cemetery services, funeral home businesses, funeral service companies, funeral directors and embalmers. FIAT- IFTA shall not be utilized as a labour organization. FIAT-IFTA operates according to the principles of international corporate governance. To guarantee the high professional standards sustained by FIAT-IFTA, national representation in the Federation shall be assigned to a funeral director’s association or a funeral home company in the absence of a national association.

B. Mission
FIAT- IFTA provides advocacy, education, information, products, programs and services to help Members to enhance the quality of service to bereaved families in all countries.

C. Objectives

1. To promote international understanding and goodwill among the world’s funeral service professionals to offer a platform for the exchange of professional views and information and to

achieve recognised professional standards, rules, regulations and treaties for the cost efficient, safe and secure international repatriation of deceased individuals; 

2. To research and jointly study legal, moral, social and scientific issues relating to funeral services and thanatopraxy activities, especially in relation to services rendered in the memorialization and disposition of deceased individuals; 

3. To encourage and develop education in funeral service and embalming or thanatopraxy throughout the world and achieve uniform standards and regulations; 

4. To improve the quality of the services rendered by funeral directors and thanatologists, ensuring respect, ethical standards and responsibility, committing to aid the grief process of survivors and protecting public health;

5. To increase the level of the professional knowledge of funeral service practitioners by assembling and disseminating to those in the profession, publications, articles, and other works related to funeral services and thanatopraxy issues; 

6. To safeguard the global funeral heritage in joint effort with other organizations and to create awareness by governments and international bodies; 

7. To provide due respect and deference to the autonomy of national organizations and to avoid any interference in all matters pertaining to laws, regulations, customs and manners of individual nations and to promote and represent the funeral industry wherever asked or required.

Article V

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY
The Federation is orientated on a non-discriminating, scientific and social basis and shall not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, colour, religion, age, sex, national origin or physi­cal disability. All member organizations, associations, and/or businesses shall abide by this non-discrimination policy in the conduct of their membership affairs and business.

Article VI

BYLAWS: PROCEDURE AND APPLICATION
Bylaws produced and proposed by the Board of Officers shall conform to and improve the articles of the Constitution. Bylaws shall be adopted by the majority vote of the Members of the International Council of Direction (I.C.D.).

Article VII

MEMBERS
Membership in the Federation shall be comprised of the following classes:

A. National Member
A National or International Association representing funeral and/or thanatopraxy service and organized in a particular nation or region may be recognized as a National Member of the Federation. Each country may have one National Member only. The National Member shall nominate a delegate who represents the National Member in the Federation. Only in the event that a country does not have a National Association as a National Member of the Federation, a funeral service company may apply for and may hold the position of National Member of the Federation. If a National Association is founded and wishes to apply for National Membership after the nomination of a funeral service company as National Member, that nomination will be re-evaluated according to the provisions stated in the Bylaws in force. At any time, a National or International association may apply for National Membership.

B. Active Member
State, provincial, local associations or funeral services companies may apply to become an Active Member of the Federation. Active Members may take the floor in the I.C.D. meeting and in the General Assembly.The Active Member who has a seat in the Board of Officers shall have voting rights. A country may have no more than two (2) Active Members in FIAT-IFTA.

C. Associate Member
Any association, institute, society, business or individual that provides funeral or thanatopraxy services or is otherwise interested in funeral or thanatopraxy, crematory and/or cemetery services and the activities of the Federation may apply to become an Associate Member of the Federation.

D. Student Member
Any student who is enrolled in an institution of higher learning related to funeral or thanatopraxy services or who is otherwise interested in the activities of the Federation may apply to become a Student Member of the Federation.

E. Benefactor Member
On proposal of the Board of Officers the I.C.D. may designate any National Member, Active Member, or Associate Member to be a Benefactor Member in consideration of that member’s special contribution to the resources of the Federation.

F. Members of Honor: Honorary Member, Honorary President
On proposal of the President of the Federation seconded by the Board of Officers the I.C.D. may designate individuals of any nationality who are particularly qualified in the funeral or thanatopraxy professions or who have otherwise rendered important services to the Federation as Honorary Member or Honorary President.

Article VIII

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION
Applicants seeking to become a National Member, Active Member, Associate Member or Student Member of the Federation must submit a membership application to the I.C.D. via the Secretary. The Secretary will forward the application to the Board of Officers after consultation with the National Member of the application’s country. The Board of Officers forwards the application to the I.C.D. with arecommendation.  After the I.C.D. has ratified the application, the Secretary shall notify the applicant of whether the membership application has been granted. The I.C.D. need not provide explanations for its decision to grant or deny membership. All membership decisions of the I.C.D. may be reviewed, ratified or reversed by the membership at a General Assembly. Prior to being awarded membership in the Federation, the applicant must have paid annual dues.

Article IX

CANCELLATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Cancellation of membership of FIAT-IFTA must be notified to the Secretary during the year, but no later than one month before the end of the calendar year. Cancellation after this period obligates payment of the annual subscription for the following year.

Article X

ENTITIES OF THE FEDERATION
The entities of the Federation are:

1. General Assembly

2. International Council of Direction (I.C.D.)

3. Board of Officers.

Article XI

GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The Membership of the Federation, acting through the General Assembly, shall be the sovereign power of the Federation and, as such, shall, vote by a show of hands:

1. approve amendments of the Constitution,

2. nominate members to the I.C.D.,

3. approve the reports and resolutions of the I.C.D.,

4. bring in proposals of actions to be undertaken in carrying out the mission and the objectives of the Federation.

The General Assembly shall be a meeting of all the members and shall serve as the representative body of the membership of FIAT- IFTA.

A. Biennial Meeting
A General Assembly of the membership of the Federation shall be held biennially (every two years). Written notice of the time, place and date of the General Assembly, the Agenda and all required documents shall be sent to all members at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of the biennial General Assembly.

B. Agenda of the General Assembly
At any General Assembly, the agenda shall include the following matters:

1.              Minutes of the last meeting of the General Assembly

2.              Reports of the Officers and Departments;

3.              Review of the budget and accounts of the Federation;

4.              Review of revenue and dues income to the Federation;

5.              Report of the auditors;

6.              Report and consideration of all actions of the I.C.D.;

7.              Reports of the National Members;

8.              Policies and the Strategic Planning

9.              Ascertainment of the nominations that are required by this Constitution;

10.           Agreeing a date and place for the next General Assembly;

11.           Agreeing a date and place for the International Convention to be held.

C. Extraordinary General Assembly
Extraordinary General Assemblies of the membership may be called by the I.C.D. or by a written request delivered to the President and signed by at least one-third (1/3) of the National Members of the Federation. Written notice of the date and place of the extraordinary General Assembly, the Agenda and all required documents shall be sent to all the members at least thirty (30) days prior to the Meeting.

D. Conduct of the Meeting of the General Assembly
All General Assemblies of the membership shall be conducted in accordance with the following terms and conditions:

1. Quorum
At least one-half (1/2) of the National Members must be represented by their delegateor by proxy to establish a quorum. In the absence of a quorum, any General Assembly may be adjourned or recessed, but no other business may be transacted except for motions designed to establish the means of obtaining a quorum. If a quorum cannot be established, another General Assembly will be convened with the same agenda within three (3) months.

2. Voting
Only delegates ofNational Members are entitled to vote at a General Assembly. Each delegate of a National Member is entitled to one vote.

3. Actions
a. To exercise all of the legislative powers and to transact all the businesses of FIAT-IFTA not otherwise provided for in the Constitution.

b. No action may be adopted by the members at a General Assembly unless it has been approved by a majority vote of the National Members present at the meeting in person or by proxy.

4. Minutes.
All actions taken by the membership at the General Assembly will be recorded in minutes taken by the Secretary. Copies of said minutes will be distributed to each National Member of the Federation prior to the next General Assembly of the membership.

5. Attendance.
Any Member of the Federation may attend a General Assembly of the Membership of the Federation.

6. Inauguration of the Board of Officers
The Handover of the President’s Chain of Office and the inauguration of the Board of Officers shall take place at the General Assembly.

Article XII

INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF DIRECTION – I.C.D.

A. Establishment of the I.C.D.
There shall be an International Council of Direction (I.C.D.) composed of the delegates
of National and Active Members of the Federation. The primary responsibilities of the I.C.D. are as follows:

1. Membership
a. The I.C.D. shall review all applications of those seeking to become National Members, Active Members, Associate Members or Student Members of the Association. Following the review, the I.C.D. shall grant or deny the application and make a report of its actions to the membership at the GeneralAssembly. The I.C.D. advised by the Board of Officers has the right to withdraw membership.

b. The I.C.D. is authorised to designate a Member as a Benefactor Member 

c. The I.C.D. may bestow upon individuals the status of Member of Honor. 

2. Election and nomination of Officers. 
The I.C.D. shall elect: the Third Vice President, the Secretary and the Treasurer at the I.C.D. meeting of the Convention for the term of two (2) years. The election of the Officers shall be by majority secret vote of the I.C.D.  If there are more than two candidates for the same office and no candidate receives a majority of all votes cast, the candidate receiving the lowest number of votes shall be eliminated and another vote taken. The I.C.D. shall approve the nomination of the President, First Vice President and Second Vice President at the I.C.D. Meeting of the Convention.

3. Approval of Budget
The I.C.D. shall review and approve the annual budget which is prepared by the Board of Officers. 

4. Strategic Planning
The I.C.D. shall advise the
Board of Officers on all matters relating to strategic planning andpolicies for the Federation.

5. Legislation
The I.C.D. shall advise the Board of Officers on all matters relating to general legislation, the Constitution and the Bylaws.

6. Review of Department Appointments
The I.C.D. shall review and approve or disapprove all appointments to the Departments in addition to the creation of new Departments or Task Forces.

B. Composition of the I.C.D.
Delegates of National Members and delegates of Active Members constitute the I.C.D. There shall be a minimum of ten (10) delegates of National Members and a maximum of fifty (50) delegates of National Members. Each National Member and each Active Member nominates one delegate to serve on the I.C.D. National Members and Active Members may opt to nominate a delegate to serve successive terms.

C. Annual Meeting of the I.C.D.
The I.C.D. shall hold at least one (1) regular meeting each year. During the year of an International Convention, this meeting will be held in conjunction with the General Assembly of the membership. Written notice of the date and place of the regular meeting of the I.C.D., the Agenda and all required documents shall be sent to each member of the I.C.D. at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of the meeting.

D. Extraordinary Meeting of the I.C.D.
An Extraordinary Meeting of the I.C.D. may be called by the Board of Officers or by written request executed by at least one-third (1/3) of the members of the I.C.D. Written notice of the date, time and place of the special meeting, the Agenda and all required documents shall be sent to each member of the I.C.D. at least thirty (30) days prior to the meeting.

E. Conduct of Meeting of the I.C.D.

1. Quorum
At least one-half (1/2) of the National Members must be represented by their delegateor by proxy to establish a quorum. In the absence of a quorum, any meeting may be adjourned or recessed, but no other business may be transacted except for motions designed to establish the means of obtaining a quorum. If a quorum cannot be established, another meeting will be convened with the same agenda within three (3) months.

2.  Voting
a. Each National Member represented by an individual delegate (Art: XII.B.) shall be entitled to one (1) vote on all matters coming before the I.C.D. In the event a delegate is unable to attend the meeting of the I.C.D., that delegate may assign his or her proxy to any other National Member delegate, with one (1) person to hold no more than two (2) proxy votes. The President or his/her representative may cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie vote.

b. In a contested election for an officer position, the vote shall be cast by secret ballot. One ballot shall be submitted by each delegate of a National Member. If an election is not contested, the voting may be conducted by means other than a secret ballot.

3. Actions
No action may be taken by the I.C.D. unless it is approved by the majority of the delegates of the I.C.D. National Members present and voting. In case of a tie vote, the President of the Federation will cast the deciding vote.

4. Minutes
All actions taken by the I.C.D. will be recorded in minutes taken by the Secretary. Copies of said minutes will be distributed to each National Member of the Federation prior to the next I.C.D. meeting.

5. Attendance
Any member of the Federation may attend the annual meeting of the International Council of Direction.

Article XIII

OFFICERS OF THE FEDERATION

A. Establishment of Officers
The Officers of FIAT- IFTA shall be the President, the First Vice-President, the Second Vice-President, the Third Vice-President,the Secretary and the Treasurer. No person may be elected as an Officer nor continue to serve as an Officer:

a. unless such person is and continues to be endorsed by its National Member he or she is representing as a delegate;

b. or unless such person is and continues to be endorsed byan Active Member of FIAT- IFTA. and is authorised by the Board of Officers.

Active Members may hold only one seat in the Board of Officers.

B. Term of Office of the Officers

The President shall be Past President after the two (2) years term.

The First Vice President shall be President after the two (2) years term.

The Second Vice President shall be First Vice President after the two (2) years term.

The Third Vice President shall be Second Vice President after the two (2) years term.

The Secretary may be re-elected after the two (2) years term.

The Treasurer may be re-elected after the two (2) years term.

Unless completing an unexpired term, the Officers may not succeed themselves with the sole exception of the Secretary and the Treasurer. Officers shall assume office following their inauguration at the General Assembly at which they are nominated.

C. Vacancy
If the office of the First Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, removal or otherwise, the Board of Officers may elect a successor who shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term. Any vacancy in the office of the President shall serve out the remainder of the unexpired term unless the Board of Officers decides otherwise. The Bylaws in force shall provide in all conflicts of interest that are not foreseen in the Constitution.

D. Duties of the Officers
Each officer shall perform the duties set forth below. The Board of Officers can add any other item and assign responsibilities, if necessary.

1. President
The President represents the Federation. The President may assign all or a part of this power to the Vice Presidents. The President shall also preside at any General Assembly, at any meeting of the I.C.D. and at any meeting of the Board of Officers.

2. First Vice President
The First Vice President shall supervise two Departments. The First Vice President shall also preside at any General Assembly, at any meeting of the I.C.D. or at any meeting of the Board of Officers in which the President is unable or unavailable to preside. 

3. Second Vice President
The Second Vice President shall supervise two Departments.                                                                                        

4. Third Vice President
The Third Vice President shall supervise two Departments.

5. Secretary
The Secretary shall oversee and ensure all operations of the Secretariat. The Secretary shall also take minutes of the General Assembly, of the meeting of the I.C.D and of the Board of Officers. The Secretary shall maintain the records and official proceedings of the Federation and distribute notices and minutes as required by this Constitution. He/she shall be responsible for all administrative actions.

6. Treasurer
The Treasurer shall supervise all financial matters of the Federation. He/she is empowered to establish accounts in the name of the Federation in financial institutions and to effect all transactions that are necessary to the good working order of the Federation following the agreed budget.

Article XIV

BOARD OF OFFICERS
A. Establishment of the Board of Officers
There shall be a Board of Officers of the Federation. The primary responsibilities of the Board of Officers are as follows:

1. Administration
a. To carry out and enforce all resolutions adopted by the membership at the General Assembly and by the I.C.D.; the Board of Officers shall also direct the operation and administration of the Federation and represent the Federation when dealing with third parties:

b. To ensure that programs and strategies are developed to implement the positions taken by the I.C.D. and to report on the same;

c. To oversee the operation of all programs and resources of the Federation;

d. To act on behalf of the General Assembly and the I.C.D. when not in session and, in the event the Board of Officers acts on behalf of either sub-group, to report within ten (10) days thereof on

the action taken by the Board of Officers;

e. To review all applications of those seeking to become National Members, Active Members, Associate Members or Student Members of the Association. Following the review, the Board of Officers shall recommend to grant or to deny the application and make a report of its actions to the I.C.D. according to Article VIII of this Constitution;

f. To assume such other responsibilities as may be delegated to it by the I.C.D. in accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws of FIAT- IFTA.

2. Budget Preparation
To develop and implement the annual budget of FIAT- IFTA.
The Board of Officers shall be primarily responsible for presenting the annual budget of the Federation and submitting the budget for approval by the I.C.D.

3. Departments
The Board of Officers, subject to the approval of the I.C.D., shall appoint members to the various Departments of the Federation and shall, in its discretion, create additional Departments when necessary to carry out the objectives of the Federation.

B.  Composition of the Board of Officers
The Board of Officers shall be composed of the following Officers of the Federation: President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Third Vice President, Secretary and the Treasurer. On request from the Board of Officers, the Past President or any former officer can be adviser of the Board of Officers.

C. Executive Working Committee
The Board of Officers may install an Executive Working Committee composed of the President, First Vice President and Secretary. The responsibility of the Executive Working Committee is to facilitate in a timely way decisions and to report to the Board of Officers at the next meeting.

D.  Voting of the Board of Officers
Each Member of theBoard of Officersshall be entitled to one (1) vote on all matters coming before the gathering. The President may cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie.

E. Meeting of the Board of Officers
The Board of Officers must hold at least three (3) meetings a year in person or by any electronic way.

Article XV

EXECUTIVE SECRETARIAT AND TREASURY
The Board of Officers has the option to establish a permanent Executive General Officeto carry out the administration of the Federation or appoint a National Member to perform such services. All procedures of internal and external communications of the Officers of the Federation shall be stated in the Bylaws.

Article XVI

DEPARTMENTS
The Federation shall have the following Standing Departments:

1. Funeral Services Department

2. Transport and Repatriation Department

3. Culture and Funeral Heritage Department

Other departments can be implemented upon approval of the I.C.D. members.

Article XVII

INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION
The Federation shall hold its International Convention every two (2) years at the time and place selected by the President. It takes place in the country of the President under the responsibility of the President and his National Member. The Board of Officers advises the President on the International Convention.

Article XVIII

DUES AND INCOME

A.  Annual Membership Fee
The amount of annual membership fee for each class of member shall be set the Board of Officers and agreed by the I.C.D. members. Fees shall be paid by all members within sixty (60) days after receipt of the written invoice. The Board of Officers may expel any member who fails to pay dues within six (6) months after receiving the dues (subscriptions) invoice.

B.  Other Income
The Federation may receive subsidies, gifts, legacies, receipts from publications and other forms of revenue and income.

C.  Auditors
The Auditing Body shall consist of two (2) Federation members elected as Auditors by the General Assembly. Those auditors shall not be citizens of the same country nor shall they be nationals of the country in which the Federation has its secretariat. Furthermore, they do not serve as I.C.D. members nor have the same nationality as the President of the Federation.

The Auditors shall serve for a two-year term. Outgoing or former Auditors may be re-elected. The Auditors shall examine all revenues and expenditure entered in the accounts of the Federation and verify its annual financial statements with due regard to the provisions stipulated in the Constitution.

The Auditors shall report their findings to the I.C.D. and – every two years – to the General meeting and shall seek approval of the conduct of business by the I.C.D. for the fiscal year under review.

Article XIX

FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year of the Federation shall commence on January 1 of each year and end on December 31 of each year.

Article XX

AMENDMENTS
This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of delegates of National Members at any General Assembly according to Article XI, D.2.

Article XXI

DURATION, DISSOLUTION AND SETTLEMENT
1. The Federation is constituted for an unlimited and perpetual duration. It can be dissolved only by the vote of the membership at a General Assembly or by provisions of law.

2. The General Assembly has the power to dissolve the Federation. In this case the regulations of Article XXare applicable.

3. Should the Federation be dissolved, the General Assembly will decide where any financial surplus will be distributed, namely other Funeral Sector Associations, in accordance with the objectives of the Federation.

4. Distribution of any financial surplus will be the responsibility of the Board of Officers.

5. The Federation will continue to exist until all of the financial surplus has been distributed. During this time all regulations and statutes of the Federation remain effective.

6. All books and documents of the dissolved Federation must be kept in custody for a period of ten (10) years. The custodian will be appointed by the Board of Officers.

 
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