The EC Board held two meetings during the month of April on the 6th and the 13th.
INDUSTRY, BREEDS & SPECIAL INTERESTS – CATEGORY C
April 1st saw the first meeting of the recently formed “Industry/Category C Discovery Group”.
This new group includes:
- EC Interim CEO Yves Hamelin
- EC President Megan Krueger
- EC Board Members Carla Robin and Charles Cue
- Dina Bell-Laroche of Sport Law & Strategy Group, acting as Facilitator
This appeared to be more of a planning meeting to set up the agenda for a meeting with the larger group – presumably Category C members.
Their timeline includes a preliminary discussion at the May 11th EC Board meeting, with a second discussion and decision at the June 8th Board meeting.
No mention about when the meeting with Category C would take place. The next meeting of this Discovery Group was set for April 24th.
While we are still in the midst of the pandemic, Interim CEO Yves Hamelin noted that more than half of staff’s time is dedicated to “managing information and activities related to COVID-19”.
Hamelin made a presentation to the Board which represents the work in progress covering the period March 15 to July 31.
- All EC in-person events, clinics and activities now suspended until March 31st until further notice;
- All EC competitions are now suspended until June 1st.
- Working Group has been created to “proactively develop an understanding of what would be a graduated framework to consider, to ensure that the health and welfare of horses when competitions resume.”
- Provincial/Territorial Sport Organizations meet twice weekly with EC to ensure actions are aligned
- EC held a meeting with Competition Organizers to obtain feedback, with plans to continue holding meetings bi-weekly.
- Sport Canada has requested a survey be sent to competition organizers to gather information on the financial gap that
- National Sport Organizations are facing from a revenue standpoint for the period of March 15th – July 31st with the goal being to start talking with the Federal Department of Finance and Treasury Board.
Note – the focus is on EC-sanctioned events.
As expected, the Board seems to be hyper aware of how world events can impact EC finances given that the largest revenue streams: sport licenses, event sanction fees & equine medication fees, have all but grounded to a halt.
Neither the minutes of April 6th or the 13th went into any details regarding finances. At least not publicly.
During the April 13th meeting, which was a 2-topic only meeting (President’s Report & Management’s Report), EC President Megan Krueger asked for the meeting to go in-camera for further discussion on EC’s finances.
The only information provided publicly in the minutes refer to EC Interim CEO Yves Hamelin presenting an overview of Sport License holder revenue received and anticipated, given the current COVID-19 situation. And the 2021-2022 budget was reviewed “based on historical revenue numbers and operational costs, and set against requested Sport Canada timelines and dates.”
All very vague, but it’s impossible not to expect that EC will be hit hard financially due to COVID-19, both in terms of Sport License/Passport/Competition Fees/Equine Med fees all but drying up, and that Sport Canada will likely be facing a shrunk budget given the federal governments’ many many programs helping families, businesses and the health sector. Even during the best of times, federal monies for Sport is typically pretty far down the list as compared to other countries.
So I can only speculate that by going in-camera for this discussion, the Board is hoping to prevent panic within the community.
RETURN TO SPORT WORKING GROUP
This group, mentioned in EC’s press release of March 29, 2020 is comprised of EC Staff and veterinarians who are tasked with developing a framework that will ensure health and welfare of horses upon competition reinstatement, in partnership with PTSOs and select competition organizers. (No info on who qualifies as a “select competition organizers”)
The Working Group have taken the view that high performance horses are not as affected as others – though no explanation or context is given.
As you can imagine, a “lengthy” discussion took place with regards to the use of terminology such as protocols vs recommendations. It appears there is a concern of perceived overreach by the equestrian community, where horse experience and knowledge runs very deep. Whereas having EC as the Go-To central resource of information would be more productive.
It appears that there will be more information on this at the beginning of May, so stay tuned.