2016 Annual Report – National Chairperson of Resolutions

August 16, 2017

Joan Bona
National Chairperson of Resolutions
2016 Annual Report

Breaking Barriers
The online reporting mechanism provided varied responses and a realization that members persevered despite some challenges in data submission. A total of 527 responses were garnered from parish councils. While this was the first year for many members to experience a new way of reporting, it provided important information in many aspects of the standing committee mandate. The data will be used to complement and inspire the important work of this commit-tee at all levels for the future.

Research and Preparation of Resolutions and Briefs
Five resolutions were adopted at the 96th annual national convention in Halifax:

Resolution 2016.01 Equal Access to Permanent Resident Status, an Amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Resolution 2016.02 Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide
Resolution 2016.03 Warning Labels on Food and Drug Products for all Inactive Substances and Additives
Resolution 2016.04 Amend the Canada Health Act to Identify Palliative Care as an Insured Health Service
Resolution 2016.05 Amend the Canada Health Act to Include Home Care as an Insured Health Service

Members were most passionate about medical assistance in dying and conscience rights, hospice and palliative care, home care and mental health especially in youth and aboriginal communities. Additional common themes reported included child poverty, the plight of refugees, pro-life, medication labeling, and gender identity and expression. Continued efforts to work on previous resolutions adopted at national and provincial levels comprised:

Resolution 2015.04 Invoke Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the case of Carter v. Canada
Resolution 2015.01 Increased Early Intervention and Access to Children and Youth Mental Health Services
Resolution 2013.01 Building Relationships and Partnerships with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples
Resolution 2011.02 Children of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women
Resolution 2004.01 Protection of Human Life

Many councils reported that resolutions were discussed at meetings, while others felt ill-equipped to work on resolutions. One provincial council commented “that the starting point and most important part of the resolutions process is the idea. Once that is ascertained, assistance is available each step of the way to navigate the manuals and procedures of the process.” It was also suggested that parish councils would benefit from provincial and diocesan chairpersons’ visits for those members who are unable to attend workshops or conventions.

Study and Implementation of Resolutions Adopted at Other Levels

Responses to the study and implementation of resolutions adopted at other levels were wide and varied. Members continued to work through a number of pertinent topics for 2016 and preceding years which included:

• B.C. & Yukon – New registration process for organ and tissue donation, physician’s institutions and right of conscience.
• Manitoba – Extending coverage of insulin pumps and supplies to Manitobans of all ages.
• New Brunswick – Women living in poverty.
• Nova Scotia – Coverage for psychologists under the Nova Scotia Medical Services Insurance Program for initial assessment, diagnosis and therapy for adolescents with psychological and emotional disorders, as well as improved access to oral health care for Nova Scotia seniors.
• Ontario – Expand the Nutrition North Canada Program, “Feathers of Hope” First Nations youth action program, safe potable water for First Nations, training for safe operation of all-terrain vehicles by youth under the age of 16, and provision on regulated housing for the chronic/severely mentally ill.

Letter Writing
Many types of advocacy were used by members to lobby government at both federal and provincial levels. While most councils wrote letters, some signed petitions or wrote council or individual pledge cards. One provincial council reported the preparation of a comprehensive letter writing kit for distribution to members at the diocesan convention. The letters were directed to the prime minister and ministers of justice and health on the issue of medical assistance in dying.

Provincial and National Levels, Presentation of Resolutions to Government
The League’s long-standing tradition of meeting annually with the federal government continued, with meetings taking place from November 28-30, 2016. Much preparatory work was made by national office staff leading up to these meetings. It is not always an easy feat to meet with policymakers and organize schedules within a three-day time frame, however, the national delegation met on all of the adopted 2016 and several other previously identified resolutions.

A number of provincial councils met with provincial government representatives to present the year’s current resolutions. One council continued to work toward securing a full delegation meeting date with provincial cabinet members to present outstanding and unresolved resolutions.

The reports noted the following challenges:
• 386 of respondents did not attend a resolutions workshop
• Recruitment of a resolutions chairperson at the parish level
• Resolutions not prepared due to vacancies at the parish level, small councils
• Lack of interest/confidence/time in presenting issues; expertise/experience and depth of research and knowledge required to prepare resolutions
• Disappointment with the process when resolutions were returned

The courageous efforts of members to persevere are the core of what resolutions are about. Innovative ways to gather interest in resolutions included:

• Inviting members of parliament/legislative assemblies to speak to the parish council.
• Hosting presentations, workshops and education sessions for members, students/youth, parishioners and community.
• Working with students on a resolution topic of personal importance.

Members who attended the national resolutions dialogue and business sessions have benefited greatly in thought process and understanding. Some provincial councils have already adopted this process, whereas similar processes at diocesan and provincial levels may spark greater interest.

A recurring theme within the reports encouraged respect and understanding. As we mentor each other with gentleness and compassion, we are guided in the knowledge that the gift of membership continues to strengthen the resolve and important and courageous work “For God and Canada.” Pray that members continue to be encouraged and inspired to advocate in some form, so that the integrity of our work is upheld to serve others through the resolutions process.