“Supporting the English-speaking community in West Quebec”

Action Plan 2017

October 2017


The Board of Directors of RAWQ met for a retreat September 23rd, 2017 and decided on priorities for 2017 – 2018. The priorities were established after going through a series of exercises examining what has occurred in the past, where we are presently and where we would like to go in the coming year.

The very first element discussed focussed on clarifying our message. That is making sure the public understands our role and what we provide for the community. Some members felt we have not gotten our message across and the public is uncertain about what we do. Board members also admitted they sometimes feel hard pressed to answer that question when asked by individuals in the community. The Board feels it can not allow the status quo to persist and we must change how and what we do in the community.

To that end, the Board identified the following areas for action:

  1. Restructuring of Committees
  2. Diversification of Funding
  3. Partnership Development
  4. Outreach and Volunteer Recruitment
  5. Program/Project Development
  6. Increase Fundraising Activities/Events
  7. Increase Presence and Awareness of RAWQ
  8. Develop an Effective Communications Plan

The Elements

One of the first priorities identified by the Board is the need to restructure our committees. It was felt the committees as presently constituted did not function well internally and therefore had very little impact on the overall functioning of the organization.

It was also felt that members were left to do the tasks by themselves due to lack of participation by other Board members and members in general. Many committee chairs felt isolated and overwhelmed and powerless to advance their respective dossiers.

Through the restructuring of the committees it was felt we could improve the overall strength of the association, involve members at large within the organization and advance the dossiers in a timely, efficient and impactful manner. All the Board members felt it essential that we revitalize the committees and subsequently through their activities increase the presence and the impact of the organization in the Outaouais region.

1. The Committees

Each of the committees will feature at least two (2) Board members and two(2) non- Board members. One Board member will be Chair and is responsible for the management of the committee and both members will be responsible for recruiting new people to the committee.

Each Chair will be given a list of the membership from which to recruit new members. One of the issues in the past is that no one knew who in the community are actual members. Each committee will meet at least once (1) every six weeks or as required by the circumstances

  1. Finance
  2. Membership
  3. Fundraising
  4. Personnel
  5. TV & Communications

2. Diversification of Funding

The issue of funding has long been a concern amongst the various incarnations of the Board for many years. The present Board wants to put an end to our sole dependency on Canadian Heritage funding. In the past we the organization has experienced financial management difficulties in part because of PCH being our sole provider. To that end, the organization will now concentrate on developing other funding sources to help with the difficulties of the past and move the organization towards more project development and service provision.

Along with our efforts to increase the participation of members at the committee level, it was felt we could increase the number and nature of fundraising efforts for the organization. It was felt we need to drop those which have not worked and develop new efforts for the coming year. Increased member participation will help the Board do its job of governance and free them at both the committee and activity level from having to do all the work and thus decrease their sense of frustration and isolation. New energy from increased member participation will also ensure new points of view and new directions for the organization will ensue.

The following actions were identified:

  1. Develop 3 – 5 annual fundraising activities as determined by the Fundraising Committee
  2. Solicit Corporate Sponsorship for the Trivia Game and other activities
  3. Increase efforts to acquire donations to supplement planned activities and events
  4. Recruit new members for the Fundraising Committee
  5. Integrate fundraising activities into the organizations annual priorities.

3. Partnership Development

The Board identified partnership development as one of the major priorities because it feels we have not been as proactive as we could in working with the municipal government or local community organizations. The Board views it as vitally important to work with the City of Gatineau and other municipal authorities to assure that their services and resources are also available in English. Where that is not possible we will work with the municipal authorities to find resources in the community that can assist in providing those services. As such we can be proactive in developing partnerships that will better serve the needs of the community, and, will enable RAWQ to be directly delivering more services to the English-speaking community.

Examples of partners and the services envisioned but may not be exclusive to, are as follows:

  1. Municipal and Provincial

    1. Newcomers Program – We met with the City of Gatineau to discuss various partnership scenarios and we will now be included in the City’s resource guide. Secondly, we will join the Table de concertation on Integration of Ethnocultural Communities and new Immigrants and we will provide settlement service for the English-speaking persons amongst them. As such, for those communities and the English-speaking community at large, we will act as an information and referral service.
  2. Community

    1. The new RAWQ TV show (City Life), is a collaboration between MAtv Outaouais and our association which we will use to profile and promote the activities, events and individuals within the English-speaking community in the region. We will also take an in depth look at the issues, needs, concerns and aspirations of the community. We will partner with community organizations, businesses and institutions to assist them in carrying out their mandates and to inform the community of their services.
    2. Through the programming we are also providing a look at the ESC for the French-speaking community (FSC). The FSC is not aware of the number of organizations, businesses, churches and clubs providing services to both language groups. The FSC is also unaware of our history nor of our contributions to the development of the region and the rest of Quebec.
    3. The TV program will greatly improve our profile and presence in the community and enable us to recruit new members, profile our services and provide us with a platform for the community to see what we are about and how we can possibly serve their needs. City will be an effective communication tool for us and the entire community and hopefully bring the community together around common issues.
    4. City Life will also provide a conduit for reaching or connecting with the English-speaking community for all levels of government. It will give them an opportunity to connect directly with the community about the community’s concerns and the governments initiatives.

4. Outreach and Volunteer Recruitment

Outreach is an activity of providing services to any population who might not otherwise have access to those services. In addition to delivering services, outreach has an educational role, raising the awareness of existing services. Outreach is often meant to fill in the gap in the services provided by mainstream (often, governmental) services. This is a major element differentiating outreach from public relations. A key component of outreach is that the groups providing it are meeting those in need of outreach services at the locations where those in need are.

This is the role of organizations like RAWQ. We now need to reach into other communities outside of Gatineau and develop stronger ties with those communities. We started with recruiting Board members from municipalities outside of Gatineau and we now have participants from Shawville, Otter Lake and Norway Bay (Bristol). The Board has targeted the following activities and programs to further the Outreach

  1. Hold at least two Board meetings/consultations in municipalities outside of Gatineau
  2. Include topics of interest to the rural part of the region on City Life TV program
  3. Invite guests from the Youth of our community to reflect their concerns on City Life
  4. Organize activities in communities other than Gatineau other than meetings.
  5. Recruit more members from outside Gatineau proper
  6. Collaborate with local organizations like CEDEC (Shawville) and Theatre Wakefield (Wakefield) to provide services for the entire region

5. Program and Project Development

The major thrust behind this category is two-fold: 1) To diversify funding sources and, 2) To provide needed services to the community. The Regional Association of West Quebec wants to increase its core services beyond information and referral and activities and events. We have focussed on projects involving education, economic development, seniors, youth and employment, lifelong learning, action research and art and culture.

Project Funding - We have applied for funding or are scheduled to submit proposals in the following domains:

  1. Education – Applying for a project with the Outaouais Education Committee to work with elementary school children in grades 3 to 6 to utilizing early childhood education students from Heritage College. The project will be run in schools in the Western Quebec School Board
  2. Youth and Employment – Applied for a program with Service Canada to work with Youth at Risk from ages 16 to 22 who have dropped out of school, are unemployed and need assistance in either returning to school or to upgrade their skills to become employable and find jobs.
  3. New Horizons Seniors Program – Applied for funding to Canadian Heritage to work with Seniors in our community in which high school students will teach Seniors to use iPads and Tablets and Seniors will be the subject of their Oral History projects for their respective schools. The project will focus on schools from different regions of the Outaouais: St Michaels in Low, Pontiac High in Shawville and Symmes-D’Arcy Magee High School in Hull.
  4. Lifelong Learning – We have applied for a project with the Ministere des Affaires Municipal Regional Priorities Program to deliver French Second Language Training for the English-speaking community for adults who are looking to improve their French skills either for professional reasons or personal interest.
  5. Applying for funding with Canadian Economic Development under their non-profit minority language organizations to 1) develop an Intern Program at MAtv to develop youth in management and governance trainee roles with not-for-profit industries (e.g., radio, television, theatre) and 2) work with Theatre Wakefield to support regional initiatives to help arts and cultural sectors (e.g. festivals and events) to become stronger generators of economic impacts for English language arts and culture in the region and 3) a research project to work with the CEDEC to support the development of an Outaouais Business Association to enhance the economic base and competitiveness of English-speaking business owners and entrepreneurs.

6. Develop an Effective Communication Plan

The television program City Life has propelled RAWQ in the public eye and therefor requires us to develop a communication plan that is adequate to respond to our increased exposure and likely an increased demand for information and referrals.

Vehicle Purpose Frequency Accountable
E-bulletins Inform As needed no more than 1 per month Administration and Communications Director
Newsletter Educate and inform Sent electronically and by mail every 3 months Administration and Communications Director
Ad-hoc E-Shots Points of information Sent electronically as warranted by events, activities or news relevant to our members Administration and Communications Director
Event Promotional Material Promote participation at our events At least one month prior to event Fundraising and Events Committee
Calendar of Events To encourage members to schedule their attendance at our events Monthly Executive Director
Web Site To provide a repository of information members can access at their convenience Daily update Administration and Communications Director
Social Media (Facebook, Twitter) Information as it happens Daily update Administration and Communications Director
Special Reports To provide an in-depth examination of an issue As required by the issue Executive Director
City Life on MAtv Broadcast about the English-speaking community in the Outaouais Shot once a week and diffused on MAtv between 5 and 10 times a week Executive Director and Researcher (Board member)
Press Releases Specific news pertaining to the organization As required Administration and Communications Director

Every two to three years, we will conduct a "Member Needs Survey" to probe what issues or services they would like our organization to offer and evaluate if we are responding adequately. We will repeat the exercise of setting out a schedule of communications to our target audience. These would include:

  • Prospective members/donors;
  • Governments (municipal, regional, provincial, federal);
  • Media (public and sector-specific);
  • Suppliers, sponsors and strategic partners;
  • Other associations or stakeholders.