The governance model of the MFRC-NCR from a federally incorporated, not-for-profit construct to a Non-Public Property (NPP) model is in the process of being altered.
The decision was made by the Board of Directors of the Military Family Resource Centre of the National Capital Region (MFRC-NCR).
Caterina Perry, executive director of Military Family Services National Capital Region says this transition is “a collaboration between the Military Family Resource Centre of the National Capital Region Board of Directors, Military Family Services (MFS), a division of Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare (CFMWS), and Canadian Forces Support Group (Ottawa-Gatineau) (CFS (O-G). This transition is a real team effort.”
MFRC-NCR Board Chair Lisa Bianco expressed in a press release, “While we recognize that this is a nostalgic moment, we are also extremely hopeful for a bright future for the new Military Family Services of the National Capital Region, which will be launched on April 1st. The wheels are in motion for a seamless and effective transition, and the recruitment process for staff is well underway.”
Consistently Encountered Operational & Strategic Challenges
According to the MFRC-NCR Transition FAQ, while the current Board is functional, engaged, and competent, over the past 20 years, the MFRC-NCR has consistently encountered operational and strategic challenges that have threatened the capacity for the Centre to deliver the Military Family Services Program (MFSP) and effectively serve the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) community in the area.
Since 2008, the MFRC-NCR has required CFMWS MFS intervention on numerous occasions. Based on its history, it is unlikely that continuing to operate within the current governance model will generate a different outcome than the previous intervention efforts.
As a result, the Board, in collaboration with CFMWS’ MFS and the Command Team of CFSG (O-G), has been looking at running the MFRC-NCR as an NPP model with staff employed by the Staff of Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces (SNPF, CF).
Adjusting the Governance
Adjusting the governance of the MFRC-NCR to a NPP model will assure consistency in service delivery and accountability in resource management and reduce risk to volunteers while still maintaining the grip on the family voice in the oversight of the MFSP.
In late August 2019, the MFRC-NCR executive director vacated the role, resulting in the board of directors taking over the center’s operational control.
The Board enlisted the support from MFS to reinforce the management of the MFRC-NCR operations. This provided the Board with the opportunity to explore the potential outcomes of a centre managed by MFS, albeit still governed by the Board.
The Board is satisfied with the decision to alter the governance model, believing the decision should enable strategic, operational, and service enhancements.
De-incorporating the MFRC-NCR
De-incorporating the MFRC-NCR eliminates the Centre’s not-for-profit status and charitable capacity to fundraise and accept donations.
As a Non-Public Property entity, MFS- NCR will still be able to receive donations and direct them for programs and services available to the military community.
In terms of what happens with the relationship between the CFSG(O-G) and the MFRC, moving forward, the relationship will be between CFSG(O-G) and MFS. The requirement for a military point of contact on the Board will continue to be a requirement for the newly formed Advisory Committee, allowing for a free flow of information between community representatives, the service providers, and the chain of command.
The change in governance does not result in a direct relationship between the service providers and the military change of command. When military community members access services, their privacy will continue to be protected as per the Military Family Services Program Policy Code, which directs that personal information be secured and not shared with the CAF.
Information About the Decision
Information about the decision and the change is posted on the CAFconnection.ca/ncr website, along with frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers. According to the website, the change in governance will not impact the continuity of the MFS Program and services offered to families.
While Human Resources matters are confidential, in general terms, with the organization’s dissolution, the staff of the MFRC-NCR will be laid off as of the transition date, which could potentially be April 1st, 2021.
Staff will have the opportunity to apply for CFMWS positions. Working under a SNPF, CF model, and confirmed staff will be employed by CFMWS within the Military Family Services division.
Key messages that were outlined in a media line dated January 26, 2021, overviewed by CFMWS, MFRC-NCR, MFS, and the CFSG (O-G) include:
As of 1 April 2021, the MFRC-NCR will move from a not-for-profit charitable status to a Non-Public Property entity as per a decision made by the Board of Directors of the MFRC-NCR in consultation with the Director of MFS and with the approval of the Chief Executive Officer of CFMWS, and the Commander, CFSG (O-G).
There will be a special meeting of the NCR Community to vote on a Special Resolution for the dissolution of the federally incorporated organization. The Board will transition from a governance board to an advisory committee, functioning similarly to a governing board with the exception of legal liability.
Legal liability for decisions would fall under MFS; employment status of service providers would change from employees of the MFRC-NCR to employees of the SNPF, CF.
Putting an advisory committee in place will maintain the principle of “by families for families” and ensure that the services delivered continue to reflect the voice of families and respond to their needs.
This governance transition will not impact services to families; in fact, through collaborative partnerships and increased community engagement, they are anticipated to ensure operational consistency and service delivery outputs in the long term, which will improve the family experience.
The Board has kept staff informed throughout the process of its intention to proceed with the change and future employment by SNPF, CF.
This transition will enhance staff retention as well as standardize salary and job/functional practices, including access to benefits and pension.
Financial oversight and accountability will continue to be managed through CFMWS MFS.
Families residing in the NCR will receive an email on 26 January 2021 from the Board Chair to inform them., Information will also be posted at https://www.cafconnection.ca/National-Capital-Region/Home.aspx
MFRC-NCR stakeholders and service providers will also be informed by the Board Chair.
About the Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces (SNPF, CF)
- The SNPF, CF is a separate employer established under the Financial Administration Act, Schedule V.
- Employees are public servants but not part of the core public administration.
- SNPF, CF employees, are not employees of the Treasury Board and are not employees of DND.
- The SNPF, CF holds no financial or real property assets.
- The SNPF, CF is excluded from the Public Service Employment Act.
- The majority of SNPF, CF employee wages are paid from the revenue received for Crown Non-Public goods and services rendered. A small portion of SNPF, CF salaries are reimbursed by DND using Crown Public funds for the delivery of certain agreed upon services.
- CFMWS currently employs approximately 4,500 people.