Over the past year, the OFA Board of Directors has carefully considered the structure and governance of our organization and ensuring that our policies and procedures are in compliance with The Corporations Act, the Act under which OFA is incorporated. We’ve also undertaken a review of agricultural organizations incorporated in Ontario under various pieces of legislation, including The Corporations Act, the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act and the Farm Products Marketing Act.
This review, while part of good governance and oversight, was driven by our membership as a result of the 2019 Annual General Meeting and questions about the election process for our two Vice President positions. Following an in-depth review at the committee and board levels, as well as clarification and recommendations from legal counsel, the OFA Board of Directors has unanimously passed an amendment to the OFA bylaws regarding the election process for Executive Officers. This amendment now requires the ratification of two-thirds of our OFA member delegates at our 2020 Annual General Meeting in November.
A copy of the proposed bylaw amendments is enclosed with this letter. Before I go any further, I want to stress that your voice in the OFA will not change. You continue to have a vote towards the 18 directors who sit around the table. Your ability to have a voice in your representation and set the direction of the OFA is unchanged.
The proposed bylaw enables the Board of Directors to elect the Executive Committee at the board meeting immediately following the Annual General Meeting. These proposed changes are taken on the advice and recommendation of legal counsel to be in compliance with the Corporations Act. In addition, a further bylaw change will also allow provincial directors the ability to vote on resolutions and elections during the Annual General Meeting, which brings OFA in line with how other agricultural organizations conduct business.
In addition to enclosing the proposed bylaw amendments with this letter, we are including a Frequently Asked Questions document which has answered common questions from our membership over the past several months as we’ve presented the proposed changes across the province at member meetings starting in May of this year.
Delegates attending OFA’s 2020 Virtual Annual General Meeting will vote on the proposed bylaw change. If passed, the bylaw change would come into effect immediately. Again, this change will not impact the ability for grassroots members to continue to vote for and elect 18 directors across the province, which ensures a strong connection between our grassroots and the Board of Directors.
Please note a hard copy of the information package will be delivered in the mail to all OFA members across the province. It is expected to hit mailboxes the week of October 5, 2020.
For easy access, please click on the links below to view the documents enclosed in the member package:
If you have any questions or wish to discuss the proposed changes in any further detail, please don’t hesitate to contact your Provincial Director for more information, or consider attending any of our upcoming OFA regional meetings, which are taking place across the province in advance of our Virtual Annual General Meeting. Details of the meetings in your area can be found on our website at ofa.on.ca/regional-meeting.