CEO Update – October 2020

The new season is officially upon us. And while it looks like we may have a few bumpy months ahead, it appears we are making progress through these challenging times.

Dr. David Fisman joined us, once again, on Friday, October 2 and provided an abundance of information regarding the path of COVID-19. If you couldn’t tune in, the recording is available here.

At CSAE, like many of you, we continue to gauge the impact of the pandemic and the effects of a troubled economy on associations across Canada. Thank you for your continued responses to the regular Pulse surveys – your input is important. You can access the findings here.

Thanks to your participation, the most recent survey supplied valuable data for our discussions with government and the pre-budget recommendation submitted in August. CSAE urged the government to establish a not-for-profit stability fund that invests in associations and their important role in supporting communities, growing industries and advancing professions in Canada. Many organizations have joined in lending your voices to this and other advocacy efforts on behalf of our sector. Thank you. 

There were a few optimistic mentions in the recent Throne Speech, including the continuation of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through next summer – which may help many associations experiencing financial challenges. The government also proposed a “one million jobs” campaign focused on infrastructure and the social sector, which we believe we can leverage over the next few months before the fall economic statement. On this front, CSAE will discuss the employment benefits and opportunities of the association and NFP sectors and how we can help create jobs. This, and the stability fund, was largely the focus of my recent discussions with the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, other government officials and members of the opposition.

By now, members have received invitations to the CSAE Annual General Meeting (AGM), taking place virtually on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, at 12:00 p.m., EDT. I encourage you to register and confirm your attendance today. Your voice and participation are important. Please send your questions in advance of the AGM to If you are a voting member unable to attend, I encourage you to select a proxy. You can find the AGM meeting materials on Associations Connect – and also on the CSAE website here.

Many of you have been participating in our ongoing programming – from pan-Canadian events like the Unprecedented virtual conference, to network-hosted chats. Connections within our community remain strong as we’ve adapted through change. I encourage everyone to check out the events calendar to make the most of what’s on offer. Members can also drop in for a virtual chat hosted by yours truly every other Tuesday. The next Talk Tuesday is scheduled for Tuesday, October 20 at 2 pm (EDT); send your topics and questions in advance, grab a cup of your choice, and we will see you there. 

While the seven CSAE networks continue to connect with members, new pan-Canadian working groups have recently been established to make strides in various areas that are critical to our mission and how we deliver value to you. This includes working groups on diversity and inclusion, communications, membership and learning. My thanks to the cross-sectoral volunteers who are contributing their time and knowledge to these endeavours.

CSAE remains committed to delivering long-standing traditional events – often with a new vision for the immediate future:

  • You will find myriad opportunities to learn, connect and be inspired in the Unprecedented conference program. It’s just a few weeks away, so don’t miss out!
  • Watch for details to come on CSAE network and national awards, which will be celebrated during National Volunteer Week, April 18-24, 2021. Thanks to Krista Cameron, Encore’s director of business development, for chairing both the pan-Canadian group as well as the Trillium network committee to ensure consistency.   
  • Member feedback is being collected to inform the vision for Tête-A-Tête 2021, which may be held a little later than in previous years. The Ottawa-Gatineau network special events committee is working on these plans.

Last month, I had the pleasure of participating on a Meetings Mean Business Canada panel with several of our industry partners. It was the second act from the GMID event held in April. While challenges still lie ahead, I continue to be impressed and inspired by the resiliency of association leaders and the business and industry partners that support the sector. Through collaboration and connectedness, we will advance the association sector into a successful future.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Tracy Folkes-Hanson, CAE
President & CEO

Our Partners

Our partners are best in class companies that deliver quality products and/or services to the association sector – click below to see for yourself!