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CCA President’s Blog – Time for Change!

Kathleen Sharpe

As I indicated in my report to the June 18th Annual General Meeting, the last year has been a very busy one for all of us and now, the CCA has entered what is probably the most critical phase of it re-birth process. We are facing a period of radical change as we reinvent the business and governance models of the CCA to make it a strong and independent voice.

In our efforts to transform this unique instrument serving the Canadian arts, cultural and heritage sectors, we can build on an impressive list of strengths. We have a challenging but realistic plan, put together in response to your expressed needs and priorities. We have a financial base to operate from: we have just received $175,000 from the Department of Canadian Heritage and we have projects under way to complete the transition funding needed to shift gears to the new business model.

The CCA is the largest network of cultural institutions in the country and its potential is greater still. The CCA is an established brand and it can point to a long-list of accomplishments over its 67 year history. This national forum not only connects the vast array of stakeholders in the cultural sector, it also links them to the academic communities though its partnerships for research and analysis. Another asset is the determination and loyalty of the Board and of the staff, both fully dedicated to reshaping this unique collective instrument to suit the new realities: some element of continuity will be essential in the next year or two as we set the stage for a series of major changes. In the coming months, we will be reviewing the Board structure and composition; we will be setting up strategic steering committee;s and preparing a succession plan.

But the main source of strength is to be found in you the members, who support and participate in shaping CCA’s future; who tell us that the CCA is needed and who are backing the plan put forward.  When we found out, on April 11, that the government would give us only a fraction of what had been identified as necessary, we checked if our membership was still with us in this venture. Renewal date for the majority of our members is April 1, and I am glad to say that given what people know about the challenges ahead, the response has been nothing short of amazing: over the past six weeks, we have received over half of what was collected in fees last year. Not only have renewals come in at a regular pace, but ten organizations increased their contributions voluntarily. Some old members have come back, and I have every reason to expect that more will as the movement picks up steam. Membership support is the cornerstone upon which we can build this new organization.

Let me say it again: we cannot reinvent the CCA alone. We cannot do it for you, we can only do it with you. If you believe in the need for a collective and independent voice for Canadian culture, if you believe that working together makes us more efficient and stronger, come participate actively in the re-invention of the CCA. There is a variety of ways to express your support, the first one being of course to renew your membership if you have not already done so. Help us recruit new members. Respond to invitations that we will make to you to participate in committees and forums. This is the only way we will be able to do it:  because together, we’re stronger!


Kathleen Sharpe