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Letter to National Board of Directors

by on May 20, 2010

Girl Guides of Canada,

National Board of Directors

50 Merton Street

Toronto ON  M4S 1A3

Dear members of the Board:

We are writing as a members of a grassroots movement within Ontario Girl Guides that is growing daily, in protest of the direction Transformation has taken us.  The name of our movement is “On My Honour” (www.onmyhonour.ca).

You are one of only twelve who legally control, and are responsible for, all Girl Guiding in Canada. This includes the direction of Girl Guiding in the Province of Ontario.

There are many reasons Guiders felt it necessary to unite in this way, and to share our discontent publicly.   The root cause is undeniably the secrecy and lack of transparency that Ontario Guiding now operates under, and the lack of acknowledgement of our voices.  There is no longer representation that is not controlled, so that the lack of democracy is deflating to us all.  In many instances our voices have also reached up to the National Commissioner’s office, but simply been referred back to the Province.  We are no longer content to be treated as unimportant.

In the last several years, there have been many statements made by the Provincial leadership which later they denied, or qualified.  At the grassroots level, we consider that we were openly deceived.  Some of these untruths had to do with finances, some with property, and some with how transformation would roll out.

We understand that a survey was taken by Ontario Guiding last summer, and from a 20% response, a 100 page self-evaluation of Transformation was submitted to the National Board in October 2009.  The survey did not reach a huge segment of Guiding – it only went to those working in Units.  Those in Trefoil Guilds, Specialty Committees and others did not receive the survey.  The self-evaluation, then, does not represent a majority opinion in any way.  It is a manipulated opinion at best.  Our concern is that Ontario Guiding did a review/evaluation of its own transformation.  To correctly evaluate transformation, an independent review is required including grass roots meetings, face to face, with all members.

The changes that are being implemented due to transformation include proposed closures and sales of locally very valuable properties that have been paid for, run and developed locally. Many of these involve camps, which for many years have operated very well without previous need of aid from the province. The proposed closures seem to us not only to be completely unfair, and without our informed consent, they may well  be illegal.  These proposed sales and dispersals of properties and equipment must be stopped at least until an all-inclusive evaluation is done on the effects to Guiding in Ontario of the transformation.

We urge National Council to repudiate the Ontario Council evaluation of its Transformation Policy and put an immediate hold on their move to sell off properties until an in-depth review has been done, one that gives as much weight to the voices of the grass roots as it does to those making the decisions.  We also urge National Council to implement an appeal procedure whereby decisions made at a Provincial level can be spoken to by those affected, and a tribunal can make final decisions.

Yours in Guiding,

On My Honour Guiders

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3 Comments
  1. Maggie Van Dusen permalink

    Yes, very well said, Marg. And I agree with you. Transformation could have been for the betterment of Guiding and the Girls but when it came to implementation it was not planned and prepared for properly. Hard core questions were not asked and the proof of this is in the property sales that will be happening soon. And the criteria they have used to make their decisions is a joke because if they had followed their own criteria Doe Lake would be one of the camps for sale. It is one of the two largest deficits in Ontario; the other being the salaries paid to staff. Remove both of these and return to where the province can work properly and the current deficit would be non-existant. I am sorry to say that Guiding in Ontario is no longer what Lord and Lady Baden Powell envisioned, nor is it the organization I grew in and loved.
    Maggie Van Dusen
    immediate past Provincial Commissioner

  2. Margaret Seal permalink

    Onatrio Guiding appears to have gone down the tubes.
    They have ignored the volunteer during all the “transformation” , they are in deficit but pay wages beyond what is required, I believe this applies not just to Ontario but to National also. Both are overstaffed and have been for some time, how can you be in deficit but do not cut staff or wages?
    Transformation was the poorest system transfer I have ever seen, nothing was done slowly and securely. The volunteer was never thought of or considered at any time. Interesting that the basis for the camps being kept appears to have no rational whatsoever. Doe Lake which has been draining funds for years still gets more than it’s quota of support, where is the the sense in this?
    I do suggest that before Guiding goes totally down the tubes that you look at what you are doing and try to recover some semblence of what Guiding is all about.
    Sincerely
    Margaret Seal
    Ex Ontario Council Employee

  3. Debbie McDonnell permalink

    Well Said!!

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