1. The seal, an impression of which is stamped in the margin hereof, shall be the seal of the CANADIAN BOTANICAL ASSOCIATION - L'ASSOCIATION BOTANIQUE DU CANADA.
2. Membership in the corporation shall be limited to persons having a scientific interest in Botany and shall consist of anyone whose application for admission has been accepted by the Board of Directors on behalf of the Association.
3. There shall be the following classes of membership:
4. Regular members shall consist of persons who pay full annual dues. Regular members shall have full privileges of the Association.
5 Student members shall consist of persons registered in undergraduate or post-graduate programs in botany, plant science or biology at a recognized institution of higher learning. Student members shall pay reduced annual dues and shall have full privileges of the Association except eligibility for nomination and election to the Board of Directors of the Association. Student members shall be automatically eligible for regular membership at the end of the Association's fiscal year in which the individual ceases to be a registered student. Applications for student membership must be sponsored by a supervising professor.
6. Retired members shall consist of those who have been regular members for five (5) years or longer and have retired from formal professional employment. Retired members retain all privileges of a regular member but shall pay reduced annual dues. Regular members shall be automatically eligible for retired membership at the end of the Association's fiscal year in which they become qualified.
7. Life members shall consist of those regular members who have elected to pay a one-time fee. Life members retain all the privileges of a regular member but are released from the payment of annual dues.
8. All applications for membership, change of membership class, or reinstatement of membership shall be submitted to the Treasurer of the Association. Applications for regular membership must be sponsored by a member in good standing.
9. Any member may withdraw from the Association by transmitting his resignation in writing to the Secretary of the Association. Any regular, student or retired member who has resigned is eligible for reinstatement upon payment of the current year's annual dues.
10. Members who are six months in arrears in payment of their dues shall be removed from the membership but may be reinstated upon payment of current dues.
11. Any member may be required to resign for just cause by a resolution signed by two (2) members and approved by a vote of three-quarters of the members at an annual meeting or a special general meeting of the Association.
13. Head Office of the Association shall be as follows: c/o Department of Botany, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
13. The affairs of the Association shall be governed by the Board of Directors of the Association.
14. The following shall be members of the Board of Directors: The President, the immediate Past-President, the President-Elect, the Vice-President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Editor of the Association's Bulletin (ex officio) and six (6) Directors, at least two (2) of whom shall reside west and two (2) east of the Ontario-Manitoba provincial boundary.
15. The Applicants for incorporation shall become the first Directors of the Association whose term of office on the Board of Directors shall be until one month after final approval is received of the application for incorporation and the by-laws of the Association, at which time they will be replaced by their successors who were elected subsequent to the Annual Meeting of the Association held June 20, 1979.
16. Membership in the Board of Directors automatically terminates if a member of the Board:
(ii) resigns his office by delivering a written resignation to the Secretary of the Association;
(iii) is declared a lunatic or becomes of unsound mind;
(iv) becomes bankrupt or suspends payment of accounts with his creditors; or
(v) is removed from office by a resolution signed by two (2) members and passed by three-quarters of the members present at an annual meeting or a special general meeting of the Association.
If any vacancy in the Board of Directors shall occur for any reason contained in this paragraph, the Board may, by appointment, fill the vacancy with a regular, retired or life member of the Association. The Appointee to fill the vacancy of an elected member of the Board of Directors shall hold office until the next annual meeting of the Association, when any unexpired term shall then be filled by election.
17. A retiring Director shall remain in office until the dissolution or adjournment of the meeting at which his retirement takes effect.
18. Directors shall not receive any stated remuneration for their services nor directly or indirectly receive any profit from their position as Directors, but may be paid reasonable expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duty. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall be construed as precluding any Director from serving the Association in any other capacity that creates no conflict of interest and receiving compensation for so doing.
19. The Board of Directors may appoint such agents and engage such employees as it shall deem necessary from time to time and such persons shall have such authority, perform such duties and receive such remuneration as shall be prescribed by the Board of Directors at the time of such appointment.
20. The remuneration of all officers, agents and employees shall be fixed by the Board of Directors by resolution. Such resolution shall have force and effect only until the next annual or special general meeting of the Association when such resolution shall be confirmed by a resolution of the members, or in the absence of such confirmation by the members, then the remuneration to such officers, agents or employees shall cease to be payable from the date of such annual or special general meeting of the Association.
MEETINGS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
21. Meetings of the Board of Directors may be held at any time and place to be determined by the Directors provided that two (2) full days notice of such meeting shall be given to each Director by the Secretary of the Association. Meetings of the Board of Directors may also be held by conference telephone calls.
22. No error or omission in giving notice of any meeting of the Board of Directors, or any adjourned meeting of the Board of Directors, shall invalidate such meeting or make void any proceedings taken thereat and any Director may at any time waive notice of any such meeting and may ratify, approve and confirm any or all proceedings taken thereat.
23. There shall be at least one meeting of the Board of Directors each year.
24. A quorum of the Board of Directors shall be six (6) members of the Board or one-half of the members, whichever is the lesser.
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
25. The Minutes of the Board of Directors shall, ordinarily, not be available to the general membership of the Association but shall be available to the Directors, each of whom shall receive a copy of such minutes. However, a member may obtain the minutes of a particular meeting or meetings of the Board of Directors by written request to the Secretary.
POWERS OF MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
26. The Directors of the Association may administer the affairs of the Association in all things and may make, or cause to be made for the Association, in its name, any kind of contract which it may lawfully enter into and, save as hereinafter provided, may exercise all such other powers and do all such other acts and things as the Association is, by its letters patent or otherwise, authorized to exercise and do.
27. The Directors shall have power to authorize expenditures on behalf of the Association from time to time and may delegate by resolution to an officer or officers of the Association the right to employ and pay salaries to employees. the Directors shall have the power to enter into a trust arrangement with a Trust Company for the purpose of creating a trust fund in which the capital and interest may be made available for the benefit of promoting the interest of the Association in accordance with such terms as the Board of Directors may prescribe.
28. The Board of Directors shall take such steps they deem advisable to enable the Association to acquire, accept, solicit or receive legacies, gifts, grants, settlements, bequests, endowments and donations of any kind whatsoever for the purpose of furthering the objects of the Association.
INDEMNITIES TO DIRECTORS AND OTHERS
29. Every Director or officer of the Association or other person who has undertaken or is about to undertake any liability on behalf of the Association and his heirs, executors and administrators, and estate and effects, respectively, shall from time to time and at all times be indemnified and saved harmless out of the funds of the Association, from and against:
(i) all costs, charges and expenses whatsoever which such Director, officer or other person sustains or incurs in or about any action, suit or proceedings which is brought, commenced or prosecuted against himor in respect of any act, deed, matter or thing whatsoever made, done or permitted by him, in or about the execution of the duties of his office or in respect of any such liability;
(ii) all other costs, charges and expenses which he sustains or incurs in or about or in relation to the affairs thereof, except such costs, charges or expenses as are occasioned by his own wilful neglect or default.
30. The Officers of the Association shall be a President, Past-President, President-Elect, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Editor of the Association's Bulletin, and an Archivist.
31. The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Association; shall preside at all meetings of the Association and of the Board of Directors; shall have the general and active management of the affairs of the Association; and shall see that all orders and resolutions of the Board of Directors are carried into effect.
32. The immediate Past-President shall be the Chairman of the Nominating Committee and shall perform such other duties as shall from time to time be directed by the Board of Directors.
33. The President-Elect shall, in the absence or disability of the President, perform the duties and exercise the powers of the President and shall perform such other duties as shall from time to time be requested by the President or directed by the Board of Directors. He shall ordinarily have served a term as a Director or have given equivalent service elsewhere in the Association (e.g. as an officer of a section).
34 The Vice-President shall be the Chairman of the Programme and Local Arrangements Committee for the annual meeting. He shall be appointed by the Board of Directors not later than ten (10) months prior to the annual meeting for which he is responsible. He shall perform such other duties as shall from time to time be directed by the Board of Directors.
35. The Treasurer shall have the custody of the funds and securities of the Association and shall keep full and accurate accounts of all assets, liabilities, receipts and disbursements of the Association in the books belonging to the Association. He shall collect and disburse all funds of the Association except for those which other provisions shall have been made in the By-laws.
He shall deposit all monies, securities and other valuable effects in the name and to the credit of the Association in such chartered bank or trust company, or, in the case of securities, with such registered dealer in securities as may be designated by the Board of Directors from time to time. He shall disburse the funds of the Association as may be directed by the President or Board of Directors, taking proper vouchers for such disbursements, and shall render to the President and Directors at any meeting of the Board of Directors, or whenever they may require it, an accounting of all transactions and a statement of the financial position of the Association. The Treasurer shall maintain a list of the names in good standing. He shall also perform such other duties as may from time to time be directed by the Board of Directors.
36. The Secretary shall keep the records of the Association and shall attend all meetings and act as clerk thereof and record all votes and minutes of all proceedings of the Board of Directors and of the Association in the books to be kept for that purpose. He shall give, or cause to be given, notice of all meetings and shall perform other such duties as may be prescribed by the Board of Directors or President, under whose supervision he shall be. He shall be custodian of the seal of the Association, which he shall deliver only when authorized by resolution of the Board of Directors to do so and to such person or persons as may be named in the resolution.
37. The duties of all other officers of the Association shall be such as the terms of their engagement call for or the Board of Directors requires of them.
37a. An elected or appointed officer shall automatically cease to hold office if he:
(ii)resigns his office by delivering a written resignation to the Secretary of the Association;
(iii)is declared a lunatic or becomes of unsound mind;
(iv)becomes bankrupt or suspends payment of accounts with his creditors; or (v)is removed from office by a resolution signed by two (2) members and passed by three-quarters of the members present at an annual meeting or a special general meeting of the Association.
ELECTION AND APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS
38. The Archivist and the Editor of the Association's Bulletin shall be appointed by the Board of Directors in accordance with paragraphs 65 and 67 of these By-laws.
39. All other Officers and Directors shall be elected by the members of the Association in accordance with these By-laws.
39a. The President, Past-President and President-Elect shall hold office for two (2) years. The President shall be ineligible for election to a second term.
39b. The Secretary, Treasurer and other Directors shall hold office for two (2) years and shall be eligible for election to one successive term.
39c. The Vice-President shall hold office for one year.
40. The Secretary and three (3) Directors shall be elected in any one year; the Treasurer and other three (3) Directors shall be elected the following year. The Editor of the Association's Bulletin shall hold office for three (3) years, renewable for successive terms by mutual agreement.
NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
41. A call for nominations shall be made at the annual meeting of the Association for the year prior to that in which the nominees will serve. A call for nominations shall also appear in the Association's Bulletin immediately following this annual meeting of the Association. All nominations must be delivered in writing to the Secretary of the Association by December 31st. Nominations must be signed by not less than three (3) members of good standing. If the membership does not provide a sufficient number of nominations by the deadline of December 31st, then it shall be the duty of the Nominating Committee to complete the slate of nominations.
42. The Nominating Committee shall be composed of the immediate Past-President as Chairman and three (3) regular, retired or life members in good standing. The term of appointment for each member of this Committee other than the Chairman shall be for three (3) years. Their appointments shall be made by the Board of Directors in such a way that only one member of the Nominating Committee will be retired each year. In a given year, one member will be appointed by the Board of Directors for a three (3)-year term. This appointment is to be made within four (4) weeks following the annual meeting of the Association.
43. All nominations must be accompanied by the consent of the nominee.
44. A ballot bearing the names of the nominees listed in alphabetical order by office with their addresses shall be mailed to each member in good standing not less than four (4) weeks in advance of the annual meeting of the Association. Ballots must be returned to the Secretary of the Association prior to the closing date which will be established fourteen (14) days before the date of the annual meeting of the Association. If the Secretary is a nominee, the President shall appoint a returning officer who is not a current nominee.
MEETINGS OF THE ASSOCIATION
45. Thirty (30) members present at a meeting shall constitute a quorum. Each member present at a meeting shall have the right to exercise one vote.
46. Meetings of the Association shall be held at any place and at such time as the Directors shall determine after due consideration of any advice given by the members at previous meetings.
47. There shall be three (3) types of meetings of members:
(i) Annual meetings;
(ii) Special Scientific meetings;
(iii)Special General meettings.
47 (i) Annual meetings
(a) Notice of the annual meeting of members, with general program details and the call for papers for scientific sessions, shall be mailed to all members at least sixteen (16) weeks in advance of the annual meeting.
(b) At every annual meeting, in addition to any business that may be transacted, the report of the Directors, the financial statement and the report of the auditors shall be presented and a Board of Directors elected and auditors appointed for the ensuing year.
(c) A paper shall be eligible for presentation at a scientific session of the Association if at least one author is a member of the Association. A paper submitted by one or nore non-members may be accepted for presentation, at the discretion of the Board of Directors, if the authors are introduced in writing by a member when the paper is submitted. The name of the member who is sponsoring the paper must appear in the program and on the abstract.
(d) A Chairman of a Program and Local Arrangements Committee shall be appointed by the Board of Directors as long in advance as possible but not later than ten (10) months prior to each annual meeting after consultation with local members of the Association. The Chairman shall appoint the members of the Program and Local Arrangements Committee. The Chairman shall be appointed as Vice-President for the year of the Annual Meeting.
47 (ii) Special Scientific Meetings
(a) Notice of Special Scientific meetings shall be mailed to all members at least thirty-two (32) weeks in advance of the meetings.
(b) A Chairman for a committee to look after the Program and local meeting arrangements shall be appointed by the Board of Directors as long in advance as possible but not later than ten (10) months prior to each Special Scientific meeting after consultation with the local members of the Association. The Chairman shall appoint the members of the Program and Local Arrangements Committee.
47 (iii) Special General Meetings
(a) The Board of Directors shall have the power to call, at any time, a Special General Meeting of the Association.
(b) Fourteen (14) days prior written notice shall be given to each member of any Special General Meeting of members.
48. No error or omission in giving notice of any meeting of the Association shall invalidate such meeting or make void any proceeding taken thereat and any member may at any time waive notice of any such meeting and may ratify, approve and confirm any or all proceedings take or had thereat. For the purpose of sending notice to any member, Director or Officer for any meeting or otherwise, the address of the member, Director or Officer shall be his last address recorded on the books of the Association.
VOTING AT MEETINGS
49. At all meetings of the Association every question shall be determined by a majority of votes unless otherwise specifically provided by statute or these By-laws.
50. Unless otherwise ordered by the Board of Directors, the fiscal year end of the Association shall be May 31st.
51. The annual dues for regular, student and retired members and the one-time fee for life members shall be set from time to time by the Board of Directors and ratified by a majority of returned ballots sent by mail to all members in good standing. Dues for the calendar year are payable on or before the 1st day of each year. The annual dues shall include identified assessments occasioned by cooperative affiliation agreements with or corporate membership in other organizations as approved from time to time by the Association.
52. When the Treasurer is unable to sign cheques and pay all accounts, the President shall perform the duties.
53. The members shall, at each annual meeting, appoint two (2) members as auditors or retain a firm of chartered accountants to audit the accounts of the Association. The auditors shall hold office until the next annual meeting of the Association provided that the Board of Directors may fill any casual vacancy in the office of auditor. The remuneration of professional auditors shall be fixed by the Board of Directors at the time of appointment.
54. An annual audit shall be made at the end of the fiscal year and reported at the next annual meeting of the Association.
55. At the annual meeting of the Association, the Treasurer shall present a report on the current status of the Association's finances.
56. An out-going Treasurer shall have thirty (30) days grace in which to close the books, have them audited and transfer all financial business to the in-coming Treasurer.
EXECUTION OF DOCUMENTS
57. Contracts, documents or any instruments in writing requiring the signature of the Association shall be signed by the President and Secretary or by any two other Officers authorized by specific resolution of the Board of Directors and all contracts, documents and instruments in writing so signed shall be binding upon the Association without further authorization or formality. The Board of Directors by resolution may give or revoke the Association's power of attorney to any registered dealer in securities for the purpose of the transferring of and dealing with any stocks, bonds and other securities of the Association. The seal of the Association when required may be affixed to contracts, documents and instruments in writing and signed as aforesaid.
59. The organization of groups to be known as Sections may be authorized by the Board of Directors. The Sections may be dissolved by the Board of Directors at such time as the Section becomes inactive or for sufficient reason at any other time with the consent of two-thirds of the members of the Section.
60. A member may belong to any number of Sections.
61. The members and duly elected officers of such section shall be responsible to the Board of Directors for the conduct of the affairs of their Section and shall render to the Board of Directors an annual report from their Section. Each Section shall be known as "The .......... Section of the Canadian Botanical Association/l'Association Botanique du Canada".
62. Although the Board of Directors, at its discretion, may contribute Association's funds to a Section, the Sections shall not commit any Association funds for any purposes without the authorization of the Board of Directors.
63. Each Section may, with the approval of the Board of Directors, make its own arrangements for the raising of the necessary funds for the proper conduct of its operations. Accounting of all such funds shall be rendered to the Treasurer of the Association at the end of each fiscal year.
COOPERATION WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
64. The Board of Directors may arrange for cooperation, not inconsistent with the Letters Patent and By-laws of the Association, with other organizations having similar interests for mutual benefit and for the further advancement of Botany and Biology.
THE ASSOCIATION'S ARCHIVES
65. The Association will maintain archives. The Board of Directors shall appoint a member to serve as the Archivist to receive, catalogue and maintain records and correspondence of the Officers, Board of Directors, annual and special meetings, programs, abstracts, histories, photographs and any other form of archival material about the Association. The Archivist's term of office shall be three (3) year, renewable by mutual agreement.
AMENDMENT OF BY-LAWS
66. The By-laws of the Association may be repealed or amended by By-law approved by at least two-thirds of the Directors and ratified by a majority vote of the returned ballots sent by mail to all members of the Association. Any repeal or amendment of the By-laws shall not be enforced or acted upon until the approval of the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs is obtained.
THE ASSOCIATION'S BULLETIN
67. The Association will maintain a publication, to be called the C.B.A./A.B.C. Bulletin. The Bulletin will publish timely articles and news of interest to the membership. The Board of Directors shall appoint a member to serve as Editor in charge of the publication. The Editor shall serve as an ex officio member of the Board of Directors. The Editor shall be appointed for one three (3) year term, renewable for one three (3) year period.
68. With the exception of the "housekeeping" resolutions (such as the expression of thanks to the host institution of the Association), a resolution declares the policy of the Association on a matter or matters that shall be forwarded outside the organization, i.e., to the public or to responsible government departments, agencies or individuals.
69. Resolutions should be carefully and precisely worded since, when passed, they represent an expression of the collective opinion of the Association. They should, as a general guideline, deal primarily with subjects of obvious relevance to the objectives of the Association as stated in the Letters Patent, or to the reasonable professional concerns of the members.
70. Resolutions shall be called for each year in an issue of the Bulletin at least four (4) months prior to the annual meeting of the Association.
71. Resolutions require a mover and four (4) seconders, all of whom shall be members in good standing.
72. Resolutions must be accepted by the Board of Directors before they can be submitted to the agenda for the annual meeting of the Association.
73. Resolutions shall be submitted to the Secretary at least ten (10) weeks prior to the annual meeting of the Association. To be admitted to the agenda, each resolution must specify to whom it will be addressed, and must be accompanied by a supporting brief. The Board of Directors will decide whether a resolution conforms to the general guidelines for resolutions. If so, it will be admitted to the agenda; if not, it will be returned to its sponsors with a request that specific revisions be made. Such specifically revised resolutions must be submitted to the Secretary for acceptance by the Board of Directors and admission to the agenda for the annual meeting six (6) weeks prior to the annual meeting of the Association.
74. Resolutions acceptable to the Board of Directors, together with abstracts of their supporting brief, should be mailed to all members of the Association before the annual meeting, preferably along with the program and other information about the meeting.
75. Each resolution must be presented at the annual meeting by at least one person from among its sponsors.
76. Recognizing that an emergency situation may occur, however, from time to time, "emergency resolutions" may be submitted to the Board of Directors at any time prior to their meeting immediately before the annual meeting. The Board of Directors will then decide whether or not they conform to the general guidelines for resolutions sufficiently well to admit them to the agenda of the annual meeting.
77. All resolutions require the approval of a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting at the annual meeting.
78 The Association may establish and maintain awards for the purpose of fostering botanical excellence in Canada and/or providing a collective, formal expression of the admiration and respect of the members of the Association and, therefore, of botanists in Canada for the meritorious contribution of an individual to Canadian botany.
79. The awards made by the Association are:
(i)The George Lawson Award
(ii)The Mary E. Elliott Award
(iii)The Lionel Cinq-Mars Award
(iv)The John Macoun Travel Bursary
80. Possible categories of botanical excellence or meritorious contribution to Canadian botany are set out below:
(a) A single contribution to botanical knowledge of outstanding distinction. Commonly this would take the form of a published paper, monograph or book, reporting a contribution to knowledge of singular significance to the discipline at large.
(b) (i) The cumulative, distinguished contributions of a senior investigator who has worked in Canada for the greater part of his career.
(ii) An academic career of distinction in teaching and inspiring students in a Canadian institution at the undergraduate and/or graduate levels, and in training scientists to meet the basic and applied needs of botany in Canada.
(iii) Significant contributions to the growth and development of botany in Canada by administrative, policy-making initiative in government or other agencies.
(c) Outstanding service to the Association.
(d) Talks or other presentations delivered at the annual meeting of the Association.
(e) Outstanding potential as a graduate student that merits support to attend the Annual Meeting to present a paper.
81. Any person resident in Canada during the greater period of his (her) contribution, as set out in By-law 80, is eligible for any appropriate award of the Association.
82. The George Lawson Award, Mary E. Elliott Award and John Macoun Travel Bursary will be adjudicated annually by an Awards Committee. The Board of Directors shall assume responsibility for adjudicating the Lionel Cinq-Mars Award.
83. An Awards Committee shall be responsible on an annual basis for receiving nominations from the membership -at-large, for proposing candidates and for recommending candidates for awards established by the Association. The Awards Committee will consist of:
- The President of the Association, Chairman,
- The President-Elect of the Association,
- Three (3) members chosen from the community of Canadian botanists, named by the Board of Directors annually. These should include as closely as possible a range of age, specialization and professional affiliation of the membership as a whole,
- One senior scientist from a discipline related to botany, named by the Board of Directors annually (to be involved in recommending awards for categories described in 80 (a) and (b) only).
84. The Awards Committee will consider the lists of nominees for the established awards, each supported by a concise statement of meritorious contribution. From each list, from one to three candidates will be selected on the basis of merit of the contribution. The Chairman will then obtain and circulate the following documentation on each of the candidates to the Committee along with suitable mail ballots:
-The published contribution(s), where appropriate;
-A condensed curriculum vitae;
-An assessment of the merit of the contribution by an established, internationally recognized authority, where appropriate (categories (a) and (b), By-law 80).
85. The Awards Committee shall recommend which candidates merit awards to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall approve the recommendations. The President will announce the recipients of the awards, usually at the annual meeting.
86. For the George Lawson Award established for botanical excellence, two awards can be made annually, one in each of categories (a) and (b), By-law 80, but the Awards Committee may recommend at its discretion that one award or no awards be made in any year. For the Mary E. Elliott Award established for outstanding service to the Association one award can be made from time to time as the Awards Committee may recommend at its discretion. An award will consist of a medal or other memorial to be presented at the annual meeting of the Association. A recipient, where appropriate, may be invited to give a special lecture at the annual meeting.
BOOKS AND RECORDS
87. The Directors shall see that all necessary books and records of the Association required by its By-laws and by any applicable statute or law are regularly and properly kept.
RULES AND REGULATIONS
88. The Board of Directors may prescribe such rules and regulations not inconsistent with these By-laws relating to the management and operation of the Association as they deem expedient, provided that such rules and regulations shall have force and effect ony until the next annual meeting of the members of the Association when they shall be confirmed or failing such confirmation at such annual meeting of members, shall at and from that time cease to have any force and effect.
89. Upon the dissolution of the Association any assets remaining after the payment and satisfaction of the debts and liabilities shall be transferred to an organization or organizations having cognate or similar objects which carry on their work solely in Canada.
90. In these By-laws and in all other By-laws of the Association here-after passed unless the context otherwise requires, words importing the singular number or the masculine gender shall include the plural number or the feminine gender, as the case may be, and vice versa, and references to persons shall include firms and corporations.