Recapping the Virtual AGM
On August 6, OAA President Kathleen Kurtin hosted the Association’s first virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) of members, attended by more than 240 individuals. (The OAA has posted the event to its YouTube Channel for those who missed it.)
Just prior to the start of the meeting and at the close of the meeting, attendees were able to view the scrolling list of newly licensed members since the last AGM. President Kurtin welcomed those individuals into the profession and offered congratulations for their hard work and achievement.
The AGM itself kicked off with the short film The Headdress, by JJ Neepin, to recognize and acknowledge traditional lands as well as to reconfirm the OAA’s commitment to truth and reconciliation in Canada. After introducing her fellow Council members, President Kurtin helped celebrate several individuals in recognition of having been licensed for 50 years! A short bio and visual presentation for each was shared, with congratulations offered to the following Members of Long Standing for their perseverance, dedication, and contributions to the profession:
• Brian Awde;
• Robin Clarke;
• Leonard Dickson;
• John Anthony Jackson; and
• Peter Moy.
Past members of OAA Council who recently completed their term were also recognized, receiving Certificates of Appreciation as thanks for their considerable effort, hard work, and commitment to serving the profession and the public interest:
• Mazen Alkhaddam (posthumously);
• Melisa Audet;
• Walter Derhak;
• Wayne Medford;
• David Sin;
• John Stephenson;
• Alberto Temprano; and
• Magid Youssef.
Under the business section of the meeting, motions were approved accepting the Synopsis of last year’s meeting, the appointment of Grant Thornton LLP as the OAA’s auditor, and the adoption of the amendments to Schedule A of the bylaw.
Additionally, a member’s resolution to rescind the mandatory implementation of electronic seals by the OAA was also voted on and approved. As per the OAA By-laws, the motion is not binding on the Council—however, the issue must be considered by Council within three months of the meeting. Therefore, the motion will be brought forward to Council’s September 24 meeting. During this agenda item, President Kurtin reported that OAA Council has been reviewing and evaluating the implementation of the electronic seals prior to the AGM, and will be including this motion within the review and evaluation process already under discussion.
The president spoke to the 2019 Annual Report, noting that the document had been redesigned and refreshed.
“This year’s edition reflects the OAA’s new approach to communications, focusing on the most important information, while providing easy access to content,” she said. “This is your profession and your Association, and we really do want you to be able to read through the report and know about the initiatives and actions that take place.”
OAA Senior Vice President & Treasurer Susan Speigel then presented the 2019 Audited Financial statements and Auditor’s Report, highlighting that the OAA “continued to focus on internal budgeting and organizational efficiencies in order to maximize the value derived from fee revenue.”
The SVP & Treasurer also spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the profession, and shared some of the actions taken by the OAA to try to address challenges being faced by members as a result. This includes resources and practice advice, extended deadlines for payment and relief under the OAA’s financial hardship policy, the extension of the Continuing Education cycle, and adapting learning opportunities to virtual platforms like webinars.
Speigel summarized the 2019 financial situation.
“I am pleased to report that, with the congoing careful management of the fees you pay to the Association, the OAA finances at the close of 2019 were well-positioned for the future,” she said.
Speigel also noted the important role that the SVP & Treasurer plays as an interlocking director on the Pro-Demnity Insurance Co.’s Board of Directors, which is instrumental in aiding a better understanding between the two entities and enhanced communication.
“The oversight that comes from this can be used to our mutual advantage to define a new picture of the profession,” Speigel said.
The AGM next provided an opportunity to meet the new Chair of the Pro-Demnity Board, Joanne McCallum, who provided a brief overview of Pro-Demnity Insurance Company’s activities over the past year. President Kurtin also took a moment to recognize and thank Pro-Demnity’s past Chair, Hari Panday, whose tenure as Chair spanned an important transition period for Pro-Demnity Insurance Company.
Just prior to the open forum for Q&A at the end of the meeting, the president delivered her annual address to the membership. Kurtin noted Council’s work in early February during its annual planning session, and how it had added Climate Stability to its existing priorities of Education, Membership Engagement, and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity. Further, Council agreed that this last priority should in fact be better identified as the lens through which all decisions would be made. Climate Stability would serve as a high-level outcome guiding our vision, Education would offer a practical forum for shaping the future of the profession, and Membership Engagement would give teeth to what it means to be self-governing.
“These priorities are inter-connected, and neither Climate Stability nor Equity, Inclusivity, and Diversity are possible without both Education and Membership Engagement,” President Kurtin explained. “Unfortunately, the pandemic pulled the rug out from under all of us… From large practices to sole proprietorships, the profession pivoted—almost instantly—to new ways of working.”
The President also stressed during her address that protecting the public interest continues to be the OAA's primary responsibility. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion about whether the OAA is there to serve architects, and Council would like to facilitate better understanding.
“The Architects Act makes clear that it is the public interest that is most important, and that architecture is first and foremost a means to that end,” said President Kurtin. “Having a strong profession of highly trained, well-informed architects, supported with appropriate tools and resources, leads to our vision of a safe and healthy built environment that performs at the highest levels and elevates the human spirit. Or, more simply put: it helps us make this world a better place.”
The AGM then closed with a 15-minute Q&A period with many members making good use of the “Ask a Question” function under the virtual format. Questions were answered as time permitted, with responses to those who were not answered occurring in the coming week.
“Thank you to all of those who participated and to those who provided feedback during, as well as after, the meeting,” said OAA Executive Director Kristi Doyle. “Positive feedback is always appreciated, but the constructive criticism received will help make improvement for future OAA virtual events. It goes without saying that while the virtual format for this year’s AGM was borne out of necessity, it has opened the doors for a combination of in-person as well as remote access to AGMs for the future.”
The YouTube recording of the event remains available for members and the general public. It includes the full presidential address, the treasurer’s report, as well as questions posed by the members.