In 2018, we are celebrating fourteen years since our national union was founded. In many ways we have come a long way since declaring our independence from that international union in Florida, but in many ways we’re still the same organization as we were all those years ago.
We recently held our national mid-term conference: an educational conference that happens every three years in place of the smaller national committee that previously met once a year. Our three mid-term conferences have been great successes with representatives of locals across the country joining us in Ottawa in 2012, Montreal in 2015, and Victoria in 2018. Our next mid-term conference will be held between our 2019 and 2022 conventions somewhere in Saskatchewan, Manitoba or Alberta. Stay tuned for an announcement regarding the location and dates sometime next year.
The next big event is our national convention in 2019 in Gatineau, Quebec, from June 7th to 9th. Planning is already underway for this event, and hopefully you’ll be able to attend! Our past conventions have been held across the country: Toronto in 2004, Quebec City in 2007, Whistler in 2010, Winnipeg in 2013 and Toronto in 2016.
I am proud to say that our national union has been busy making organizing new members a priority. The national organizing fund subsidizes organizing efforts across the country. Last year the subsidies were increased to support our councils and regions.
Our growth and wisdom are showing as we reach our “adolescent years” by celebrating our 14th year in June 2018. As a result, our last national convention felt it was the right time to review our structure and our processes and our national executive has begun a national consultation process. We asked a group of eminent leaders in our union to form an advisory committee (this includes: Simon Berlin, Liz Fong, Serge Cadieux, Jerri New, Colleen Malley and Andy Ross). The advisory committee provides advice on our direction and processes for review by the national executive. The national executive has also been assisted by a “technical committee” made up of our current legal counsel, Pierrick Choinière-Lapointe, assisted by our previous legal counsel, Pierre Gingras.
We have already started this process of outreach and review in 2017 by sending out a questionnaire about our national union to all locals and councils. The questionnaire asked our locals and councils to consider any changes that they might like to see, and if the decentralized and autonomous nature of our national union should be examined.
The preliminary results of that survey were presented to the mid-term conference in Victoria in February 2018. The national executive will take that report and develop recommendations for the national convention next year. Of course none of this precludes the right of councils or locals from presenting their own suggestions for change or improvements to the national convention in Gatineau.
I can’t tell you how proud I am to be your national president. I was there in Florida while our national union was born and am so happy to see how far we’ve come since then. I can’t wait to see where the future is going to take our national union.