Council Connect - June 2020
Here we are, coming up on three months of our industry shutdown. Council is heartened to see how many of you joined the Extend the CERB grassroots letter writing campaign, are finding new ways to engage with our craft, and are taking care of each other during this downtime.

Our member-to-member phone outreach program has given us real insight into your fears, feelings, and actions. Big thank yous go to the Mental Health & Wellness Committee (headed up by Councillor Co-Chairs Deena Aziz and Richard Lam, Co-Chair Nathan Carroll, as well as phone volunteers) for their efforts in making this initiative happen.
Council happily welcomes BC/Yukon Councillor Kerry Davidson as First Vice-President (a position she has held prior). I look forward to working with Kerry as we keep Equity working for you. She may be reached at Council gratefully thanks Peter McGillivray for his prior service in the role. Peter will continue as Eastern Opera Councillor, and Kerry re-joins Council’s executive at a unique time.

Much conversation and action has been happening as we see the waves of world-wide protest around racial inequity. The labour movement has a central tenet that everyone is equal and deserving of respect and fair treatment. Equity believes this is applicable in every aspect of our industry and our organization. We believe #BlackLivesMatter in our communities, our homes, and our workplaces. We acknowledge the ongoing, shifting conversation is a difficult but overdue and necessary one for our industry. While this dialogue is complicated by the current work shutdown, I have been personally moved to see how Equity members have been called to effect change; our world is changing and it’s exciting to see! This downtime tells us that the way we were all working was not healthy or sustainable, and I look forward to helping evolve a healthier, more equitable industry for Equity members. About that!
Staff and Council are tasked with looking out for the well-being of Equity and its membership in addition to the smooth operation of the Association. At this time, it’s important to remember how staff and Councils past made sure we were as financially well-prepared as possible for the moment we now find ourselves in. In the early 80s, then-Executive Director Graham Spicer conceived of the Stabilization Fund in case of job action. Eventually, growing to over $2,000,000, the Stabilization Fund ensured the continuation of services in the case of a sudden drop in revenue. Former Treasurer John Mac Master remembers: “Over the years, some Councillors and other members would propose that we should spend down the Fund to provide more service to the members. There were always excellent ideas on ways to provide service or assistance to the members with the Fund. But ultimately, for the years I was involved on Council, we always found ways to fund new initiatives without depleting the Stabilization Fund.”
Given Equity's recent understandable but severe loss of income (revenues are down 75%) - when we don't work Equity doesn't receive any dues - the Stabilization Fund is what is keeping Equity open and able to provide service to members. Read Council President Scott Bellis and Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan's Financial Update for more information.
Throughout the years, there have been excellent treasurers and staff maintaining this incredible fund… including current Secretary-Treasurer Erika Morey. In these difficult days where so much is fluid and unpredictable, I’m grateful for their foresight and planning on behalf of the rest of us. As we continue on into an uncertain future, Equity will continue to respond as best we can with member meetings and outreach; in addition to #EquityStrong we are also #EquityCares. At any time, you can reach out to me at; email your Councillor(s) here or interact with us on our facebook, twitter, or instagram.

More than ever, I invite you to stay in touch.
Ryan G. Hinds
Ontario Councillor
Second Vice-President
Visit and the COVID-19 Advocacy and Resources page for Equity's current updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.