To: Club and Association Presidents, Ontario-East Section
From: Michael Hickey, Section Manager, Ontario East Section
Glenn MacDonell, Deputy Director Ontario North/East
November 14th 2012
ONTARIO-EAST – Strengthening Amateur Radio in the Ontario East Section
As you know the new Ontario-East Section of RAC came into existence on 1 September this year. This structural change gives us the tools to strengthen amateur radio in our area. Not everything is changing at once and several activities of the previous Ontario Section will continue as before for the immediate future. For example, the Ontario Bulletin and ARES Services will continue Ontario-wide as before.
In this message we are more interested in what will change and how we can use that to strengthen organizations associated with amateur radio. As we noted in an email sent out in late August, the Ontario restructuring aims to establish stronger two way communications between the national organization of radio amateurs, Radio Amateurs of Canada, and radio amateur clubs and organizations. Ontario is Canada’s largest province and home to 60% of Canadian radio amateurs.
Dividing the province into 4 sections will allow closer contact between senior RAC officers and radio amateurs and their clubs’ and organizations’ executives across the province. The benefits to begin with would be better information – for RAC on the needs, concerns and interests of radio amateurs and for the clubs regarding RAC programs and activities. The longer term payoff will be adjusting those programs and activities to do a better job meeting the needs, concerns and interests of the clubs and their members. It is our expectation that this will help facilitate new opportunities through better communications for clubs to share with their club counterparts within the section on what has worked for them to bring in new members and strengthen our hobby in their locality.
In the past, when Ontario was only one section, the RAC Field Service (and by extension the Section Manager) interacted only incidentally with a club or association if it sponsored an ARES group or had an Official Bulletin Station participating in a local net.
The objective of the renewal project is two-fold: to reduce the size of sections to more manageable proportions; and, to add new functions to the section management team that broaden the range of activities with clubs and associations and build our ability to influence provincial government decisions affecting amateur radio. Three new activities are directly relevant to clubs: improved two way communication with RAC, strengthened communications about amateur radio to the public and technical development.
Earlier communications from RAC have detailed the process that led to the creation of the new sections and their broadened mandate. We don’t need to repeat them here, but would be happy to provide the information for anyone wishing a copy. Key documents are RAC Bulletin 2012-006E (2012-02-05) - Ontario Section Restructuring Update (https://www.rac.ca/en/news/bulletins/2012/6-0/) and RAC Bulletin 2012-048E (2012-08-12)- New Ontario Section Managers announced (https://www.rac.ca/en/news/bulletins/2012/48-0/)
Our immediate challenge is facilitating easier communication between us, and establishing a mutually agreeable format for ongoing communications. Before our email to you that preceded the Ottawa Hamfest there was no list of Amateur Radio Clubs in Ontario East Section (from Peterborough to Eastern Ontario & Deep River to Eastern Ontario). Many clubs and organizations have a website, but even the publically available information on clubs had not been put together. We created a club contact list (which may be incomplete) for that email and are now using it again for this message and we need your help in maintaining an accurate listing of clubs, and their main contact people. We are also very interested in knowing when & where you hold your club or group exec and general meetings.
Print and electronic communication are important tools and we will us them. RAC has acquired an excellent webinar software that we could use for meetings or discussions. We can also use a free teleconferencing phone number and create our own ‘club liaison’ password, but it may be more productive to have some ‘one on one’ meetings first to agree on what we would like to discuss together and by which means. In person meetings allow greater flexibility on topics and a chance to begin to get to know the person on the other end of the email or phone call. We are willing to meet with you, your club executive or your membership if you wish. Some of this began at the Ottawa Hamfest and we are eager to continue this with those who could not attend that event and of course with those that could attend.
The RAC Board of Directors, elected from regions across Canada, sets the general direction for the organization and makes major decisions for the future, including the selection of the President. The President, assisted by Executive members oversees the day-to-day operation of the organization. One of these executive members is the Chief of the Field Services Organization (CFSO) and it is in this area that changes have been made. The specific changes affecting us are the division of the Ontario Section into 4 new sections and the new functions associated with support to clubs shown below.
The concept has been developed, but many details remain to be spelled out. At some point we will need to have people from clubs and AR groups filling the positions shown on the chart, but it makes sense for us to begin with discussing what we would want done in areas such as club liaison, public information and technical coordination. As we develop ways to increase helpful communications we can explore these topics and any other that you find relevant to improving the communications between RAC and clubs or among clubs and to strengthening amateur radio in our section.
Michael Hickey VE3IPC Glenn MacDonell VE3XRA
Ontario-South Section Manager Deputy Regional Director, Ontario North/East
Cc Bill Unger, Regional Director, Ontario North/East