Update on Rugby in Canada - July 2020

July 28 2020

BCRN Let's Rugby

Update on Rugby in Canada: Rugby Canada Report Plus Update on Club Rugby Across the Provinces: UPDATED

[ed. updated the Rugby Canada Report appended below]

Rugby Canada issued an update on their status after they completed their 2019 AGM (virtually) this past weekend, the financials should be out by Wednesday. That report is posted below. Also we'll add a few background notes in a paragraph below.

Also we'll take a brief look at where rugby is returning at the club level across the Provinces.

We saw the Swilers in Newfoundland posted some images and video of their women and U19 players taking part in training, they were using pool noodles to touch players to maintain spacing. Also Nova Scotia had posted some similar photos last week. The pool noodles are about 4' long. In both cases passing and catching a ball and playing a modified game of touch seemed permissable. We heard some clubs in New Brunswick are also returning to training.

Quebec is allowing touch rugby, some clubs are playing touch, others are just doing passing drills. There may be touch tournaments later this summer and in the fall, it's a slow approach as they monitor any potential issues. About a dozen Quebec women have gone to France to play in the French championship with clubs like Bordeaux, Rennes, La Rochelle - so that's an exciting development. It may be the trend that to play contact rugby this fall for an elite player, they may have to find an offshore solution.

From Ontario we heard from one club person saying their club was "a couple of weeks away". So unless we hear otherwise we're assuming Ontario clubs aren't at the training level yet, that is playing touch and passing the ball around.

Manitoba clubs are back training according to one source, no word on Saskatchewan and Alberta are "just working out a few kinks and will hopefully be back out very soon!".

BC still haven't opened training, training considered to be at least passing the ball and playing touch. The BCRU haven't passed any decision making down to the regions so the Island with 143 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of March and only 9 cases in July is treated the same as Fraser Valley with 1,800 cases since the beginning of March and 232 cases in July. The projected scenario is that touch rugby will be allowed by September but that hasn't been confirmed.

So overall Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces seem to be leading the Return to Rugby in Canada along with Manitoba. Alberta and Ontario possibly to come on board in August and BC in September. It still remains to be seen if there will be any contact rugby before 2021 in Canada.

As for Rugby Canada their report is below. They still don't have a staff list posted but their new Marketing and Communications Co-Ordinator is Liam Baxter, welcome Liam. Staff have taken a 10-15% cut in salary, a few people have been let go but we don't have the exact numbers. Some staff are receiving the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy which goes through to the beginning of December so that will, in part, drive the staffing decisions. The OTP funding also determines staffing decisions. There are a lot of variables and Rugby Canada will be monitoring the situation this fall, they still don't have the full picture of how COVID-19 will impact revenue in 2020.


July 27, 2020 (Langford, BC) – The Rugby Canada fiscal 2019 AGM was held via an online conference on Saturday, July 25. The following items were presented or voted upon:

Honouring the Departed

The meeting opened with a reading of honoured members who were lost in 2019 in recognition of their contributions to rugby in Canada.

State of the Union

Presented by Tim Powers (Chair, Rugby Canada Board) and Allen Vansen (CEO, Rugby Canada), highlighted items included:

- Similar to other national sport organizations and businesses, Rugby Canada is facing challenges on both the sport and commercial sides of the organization due to the COVID pandemic. The current situation is the greatest threat to sport in Canada in a generation. A primary focus of Rugby - Canada is to ensure the Union is well positioned for recovery.
- Getting existing and new members back on the pitch being active and/or playing some form of rugby in select regions of the country has been uplifting, and it must continue. Returning to play at all levels of the game in safe, healthy environments is crucial to the recovery process.
- Rugby Canada is moving forward on governance reform to ensure the cultivation, development and empowerment of leaders to take the sport forward while also maintaining strong, consistent management in these turbulent times.
- Further cost cutting measures, including the consolidation of the Rugby Canada head office into the Al Charron National Training Centre were highlighted
- The strong working relationships with Provincial Member Unions was lauded, as items regarding COVID-19/Return to Play, registration/insurance and safe sport initiatives have been addressed and actioned in a collective manner.

Recognition and thanks to Rugby Canada Board members, staff, Provincial Member Unions and all members and supporters.

Presentation of Financial Statements

The audited 2019 financial statements were presented, showing a deficiency of $41,336 for the year ending Dec 31, 2019. When factoring in amortization costs on the Al Charron National Training Centre, it was a second consecutive ‘cash-positive’ year for Rugby Canada. The 2019 financial statements will be posted to the Rugby Canada website on July 29th in conjunction with a full financial update.

By-Law amendments

Following an extensive governance review, several by-law modifications were presented to the membership for approval.

The following changes to by-laws were made unanimously:

- By-law 4.1 was modified to reduce the size of the Board of Directors to no more than eleven total Directors, including the Male and Female Player - Directors, and to ensure equal gender representation with either gender not exceeding the other gender by more than two Directors.
- By-law 4.4 was modified to reduce Board Directors’ election terms from 4 to 3 years.
- By-law 4.4A was added to ensure alignment of Board nominees with skills, qualifications or areas of expertise as identified by the Governance Committee.
- By-law 5.4 was modified to define quorum in-line with the reduced Board size.
- By-law 5.5 was modified to give the Board Chair a vote on each matter brought to a vote, rather than only in the event of a tie.
- By-law 7.2 was modified to appoint Board Officer positions for 1-year terms and confirm that a Director may be re-elected as an Officer for as long as he or she is a Director. The Chair may also be re-elected as a Director for an additional 1-year term following two consecutive 3-year terms if he or she has been re-appointed as Chair, conditional on such re-election as a Director.
- By law 8.1 was modified to redefine the composition of the Board Standing Committees (Finance/Audit, Governance and Human Resources).
- By law 8.3 was added to confirm the Rugby Canada CEO can attend all Board committee meetings, save the human resources committee where he or she can attend via invitation.

The following by-law was waived unanimously:

- By-law 7.2 - that no person may be re-elected to the office of Chair for more than four (4) consecutive years.

This by-law was waived until the next Annual General Meeting to allow for continuity in the Chair position, with Tim Powers being elected as Chair by the Board of Directors, while navigating through governance changes and the COVID pandemic.

The Members also approved the appointment of BDO-Ottawa as the Public Accountant for the 2020 fiscal year, and confirmed that Provincial voting allocations for the fiscal 2020 AGM would remain consistent with 2019 given the impact of COVID-19 on 2020 registrations.

Participant Registration Fees

The Members approved the Participant Registration Fees for the British Columbia 2020/21 season, opening in August, 2020, with the addition of a twelve (12) week non-contact participant category for $10. The Members will approve the Participant Registration Fees for the 2021 season at the semi-annual meeting of the Members in the Fall.

Elections to the Board of Directors for Rugby Canada

William (Bill) Webb (Toronto, ON), Maria Samson (Calgary, AB) and Steve Swaffield (Vancouver, BC) were elected to the Rugby Canada Board of Directors for a 3-year period effective July 25, 2020.

In addition, Jeff Hassler was elected to the Rugby Canada Board as the Male Player Director for a 3-year period effective July 25, 2020.

The Rugby Canada Board of Directors for 2020/21 consists of:

Tim Powers (Chair)
Sally Dennis (Vice Chair)
Steve Swaffield (Treasurer & Finance/Audit Committee Co-Chair)
Kathy Henderson (Secretary & Human Resource Committee Chair)
Maria Samson (Governance Committee Chair)
John Seaman
Brian Burke
Bill Webb
Meaghan Howat (Female Player Director)
Jeff Hassler (Male Player Director)

Rugby Canada is proud to note that for the first time ever there is an equal gender split within the four Board executive positions.

The Rugby Canada Board of Directors also confirmed the following Representatives:

- Dr. Araba Chintoh to assume the role of Rugby Americas North Representative. Dr. Chintoh becomes the first female RAN representative for Canada and will serve as a member of the RAN Exco.
- Jay Johnston to assume the roles of Treasurer Emeritus and Finance/Audit Committee Co-Chair. Having served Rugby Canada for almost 20 years, Mr. Johnston will ensure a managed financial transition plan while the pandemic effects are still being felt and will support in the financial stewardship of the organization moving forward.
- Dr. Pat Parfrey will continue in his role as World Rugby Representative, while Pat Aldous will continue in his role as Canadian Olympic Committee Representative.

Special Recognitions

The following individuals were recognized for their contributions to rugby in Canada and their work as members of the Rugby Canada Board of Directors, International Representatives and Provincial Union leads:

Doug Campbell (Director & Secretary)
Jamie Lockwood (Director & Audit Committee Chair)
Andrew Bibby (Director)
Tyler Hotson (Male Player Director)
Rick Bourne (Rugby Americas North Representative)
Iian Ashcroft (Rugby Manitoba)
Yves Pellerin (Rugby New Brunswick)

[ed. if you have updates use the comment section below or email editor@bcrugbynews.com]

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