According to Statistics Canada, Canadian businesses are becoming much more innovative and as a result are increasing competitiveness, economic growth and social wellbeing. However they say, there must be sufficient data available to advocate for the creation of policies that support innovation. Sufficient data is gathered by the Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy (SIBS) which is the primary source for innovation data in Canada. The measurement of innovation is the performance of the business enterprise sector, looking at strategic decisions, innovation, activities and operational tactics. Continue reading Statistics Canada Releases the Results from the Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy
Annual General Meetings (AGM) are meetings that are held annually for the members or ‘owners’ of an organization. The meeting allows the board of directors to demonstrate how they have governed the organization over the past year and an opportunity for members and directors to talk with each other.
All AGMs should cover the following topics:
- Present the activities of the board for the previous year
- Present the audited financial statements
- Run elections for the board of directors
- Appoint the financial reviewer for the next fiscal year
There are three key steps to a successful AGM
- Planning & preparation
- Successful execution of the AGM
Notice of Annual Meeting
Make sure you give plenty of advanced notice of the Annual General Meeting. The notice should include a draft agenda and other supplementary information that may be needed during the meeting. Notices can be sent by traditional mail or sent by email. Be sure you have permission from the member before sending email notifications.
Other ways to promote your AGM to a broader audience include:
- Social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc
- Unpaid media
- Other organizations
- Special invitations to sponsors, vendors, exhibitors, community groups, local dignitaries
The annual report gives members, volunteers and sponsors reasons to support your organization based on important facts, changes that have been made, or new policies. The report includes:
- Achievements and challenges
- Vision and mission
- Audited financial statement
- Board of Directors and staff list and contact information
- Performance measurements
Make your annual report interesting and have hard copies available as well as a digital version on your website.
Examples of Annual reports
- Canadian National Exhibition: https://com/assets/pdf/documents/Annual%20Report/2017_CNE_annual_report_online_final.pdf
- Norfolk Agricultural Society https://norfolkcountyfair.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Annual-Report-2017-2018-FINALa.pdf
- Canadian Association of Fairs & Exhibitions https://www.canadian-fairs.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Annual-Report-2016-17.pdf
Audited Financial Statement
An audited financial statement is a review of the organization’s financial statements such as income statement, cash flow statement or balance sheet, that have been audited.
- Balance Sheet: Assets and Liabilities of the organization (including land and buildings)
- Income Statement: Profit/Loss for the current fiscal year
- Cash Flow Statement: shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents
Be prepared for potential questions that may be asked during your AGM by having a discussion with your board of directors: Are there any issues that the membership will want to know about? Are there any significant changes in the financial position of the organization? Have there been new or updated policies or procedures?
Have the information you need at hand and have trained staff in place to answer the questions. Make sure everyone on the board knows the answers to financial questions; the Treasurer is not the only one accountable for the finances. Furthermore, be honest and transparent when addressing major issues and explain the actions the board will take to remedy the situation.
Prepare a very detailed agenda for your AGM. Consider the length of the meeting, anticipated discussion time, motions to be made etc to minimize potential omissions and errors.
Sample AGM Agenda
- Call to order
- Establish quorum
- Approval of minutes of previous AGM
- President’s Report or Report of Board Activities
- Financial Statements: Treasurer’s report, Auditor’s report
- Executive Director or General Manager report
- Election of directors
- Resolutions/Motions requiring approval by the membership (constitution or by-laws)
- Optional – Guest Speaker
- Meeting Adjournment
Determine the meeting logistics in advance: setting the date, time and location. Also, look for sponsorships for speakers, refreshments and door prizes. Know who is chairing the meeting in advance; note that the president does not have to chair the meeting. Create a member sign in to help confirm quorum, also have a member package that includes minutes, ballots, annual report etc. Have someone assigned to be the parliamentarian for the meeting, to answer question on the constitution or procedures of the meeting.
AGM’s are a great opportunity to engage members. Create name tags for everyone attending and set up the room with round or rectangular tables, and have the chairs face each other to encourage friendly conversation. Include refreshments as well as having a break for networking.
Have your nomination process planned out in your constitution or by laws, whether you allow nominations on the floor or in advance. Include written policies/procedures, term for directors and an application process.
Always prepare in advance for an election, have the written policy/procedures ready and have the ballots prepared. Create an opportunity for nominees to address their membership either written or verbally. There are two different ways to give nominees an opportunity to address membership.
- If you have a nomination form, use this information as the bio for each nominee.
- If there are nominations on the floor, have each nominee speak for a few minutes.
An AGM is about motivation and celebration; remember to give recognition to volunteers, sponsors, leadership and youth. Also, celebrate the achievements and milestones and conclude with a meaningful motivational speaker.
After the AGM remember to evaluate the event with a short write up. Send out a survey to your members or have them complete one before they leave to give you some feedback for your next AGM.
Asking people to volunteer is not an easy task, but by recruiting volunteers it can provide benefits such as: helping spread the work among members of the organization, keep the organization alive, bring in new ideas and get work done.
By following these five steps, recruiting volunteers does not have to be a problem!
Step One: Define the Job
Meetings are an essential part of conducting the business of any board or organization. Meetings provide the forum for discussion and making decisions on programs and initiatives. Having a structure for running meetings will minimize distractions (i.e. participants talk off topic, monopolize discussion time, have difficulty making decisions or fail to respect the contributions of others).
It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that: Continue reading Chairing Effective Board Meetings
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) is a unique non-profit farm organization that represents all commodity groups across the province. They are leaders in producer education, local association development, program delivery and consumer outreach.
On February 7th, 2017, OSCIA held a “How to Run a Successful Meeting” session in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
The purpose of this session was to learn:
- Ways to work with different personality types at meetings
- How to make meetings more effective
Anyone can become an effective leader with the willingness to learn and practice the necessary skills. Everyone has a unique set of competencies, life experiences, and values that they bring to any situation. These competencies are the building blocks for making a good leader. The role of a leader is to inspire and guide people to reach solutions, not manage them.
Supporting, engaging, attracting and retaining youth in rural communities is increasingly the “talk of the town” amongst governments, communities, and concerned citizens across Ontario.
Rural communities across Ontario have been seeing a net outmigration of youth (between the ages of 15-29) for years. Much of the outmigration of youth from these communities can be attributed to a number of factors, from opportunities for post-secondary education, to finding employment, to the variety of amenities offered in larger urban centres. Many of these same rural communities face challenges in providing comparable opportunities for their youth to grow and develop relative to more prosperous urban communities. Continue reading The Importance of Supporting and Attracting Youth in Rural Ontario
Need Help to Start, Manage or Grow a Food Business? If so, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) offers many resources to individuals and businesses starting or growing a food processing business.
A good place to start is with the 2015 Guide To Food And Beverage Manufacturing in Ontario. Whether you are new to the food industry and working on a business start-up or need assistance with the expansion of an existing operation, you will find the information in this guide and its easy-to-follow tools and templates will help you: Continue reading Need Help to Start, Manage or Grow a Food Business?
Conflict is a normal and healthy part of our lives, when properly managed. We all need conflict in our lives, as it is an opportunity for us to test limits and set new boundaries. But when differences of opinion are not constructively managed, they can escalate into big problems around boardroom tables. Conflict can cause heightened emotions and board members to take sides, and a disagreement can grow into something much more difficult to resolve. Successful conflict resolution can build trust and strengthen interpersonal relationships.
LaunchPad, a new Youth Activity and Technology Centre in Hanover, is a place where young people between the ages of 12 and 18 can explore the world through a wide range of activities – art, digital media, software, music, entrepreneurship, computer hardware, hands-on and just plain fun. Staff at the centre encourage the young people to see how their talents and innovative ideas can help them and their communities grow.
At LaunchPad, young people learn important skills that can improve their employability, and make new connections with employers and local leaders in their communities. The hope is that they’ll stay and work in the area after they graduate high school.