CLAC’s National Convention, held every three years, was in the planning stages long before anyone had heard of COVID-19. The pandemic has changed those plans, but the convention must go on!
By John Kamphof, National Board President
Convention 2020 was to be held over two days at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, where delegates would enjoy one of the most beautiful and livable cities in Canada. As president of the National Board, I was especially looking forward to welcoming convention delegates and guests to my part of the country, to show off one of Canada’s paradises.
But this has been the year of COVID, and now we will be meeting and greeting each other via Zoom. Convention 2020 will be a concise but very important event.
This year’s convention will deal with all the necessary business of the union as well as update delegates on the happenings within CLAC over the past three years. Locals will report on activities in their regions, and Wayne Prins, our executive director, will provide a national overview.
Included in the union business will be elections to fill three upcoming vacancies on the National Board. We will also have an opportunity to discuss and endorse a number of resolutions of concern and interest to the membership.
It has been a difficult year for many and a different year for all. Many of us had our plans for travel or family visits cancelled or changed. Many of you have been out of work or working in radically changed circumstances. And many of you have been working on the front lines in healthcare and retail, putting yourself and your families at risk to take care of us and provide for our needs.
CLAC representatives and staff found themselves working from home and meeting with members via text, email, and online. Representation needed to go on regardless of the circumstances. They had to find new ways to meet the needs of the membership, whether to resolve grievances, deal with the challenges of working during a pandemic, negotiate new collective agreements, or argue cases in arbitration.
These are challenging times for all of us, but we are all doing our best to meet the challenges presented by the pandemic. And so too we are meeting the challenge as a union by holding our first—and we hope our last—virtual convention.
Convention 2020 will take place on October 8 via Zoom with several hundred delegates and guests participating. CLAC’s IT Team will be on hand to ensure the event goes smoothly and without a hitch.
Despite the limitations, Convention 2020 should still be a grand event. Look for details about it in the December Guide magazine.