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Calling all service clubs – here’s your day at Queen’s Park

(October 4, 2016) I am writing this week to tell you about an important opportunity that's coming up here at Queen's Park at the end of October.

As you might recall, in February 2015 my Private Member's Resolution concerning service clubs received unanimous support from my colleagues here at the legislature.

The resolution called on the government to strike a committee to investigate the legislative and regulatory barriers and burdens facing service clubs in Ontario.

I am pleased to report that a date is set for the all-party committee to hear concerns from service clubs. This is an invitation for representatives of service clubs to appear before the all-party committee when it meets from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31 here at the legislature.

Please note the government has permitted only the one hearing date. As a result, if you wish to appear it's imperative that you immediately contact the Office of the Clerk at 416-325-3526.The office will advise you of what's required to make a presentation. The deadline to contact the clerk is noon on Oct. 24.

If you cannot make it to the committee in person, I encourage you to make a written submission to the committee, which will form part of its final report and recommendations. For details on how to make your submission please call the clerk.

During your appearance before the committee, you can outline the many challenges that impact your club in its efforts to serve our communities.

In consultation with service clubs, I heard about many issues and challenges impacting these valuable organizations.

Restrictive regulations, excessive taxes and fees, and difficulties attracting volunteers are just some of the concerns that were brought to my attention.

By attending the upcoming committee hearing and sharing your concerns, we can get these issues before the government for its consideration. It's my hope that after careful review the government will implement changes that are helpful.

Service clubs play a vital role in our community. They raise money for our hospitals, support our sports teams, fundraise for new playground equipment, and help families in need during a crisis. It's imperative that the government make it easier for clubs to do their good work.

High taxes, steep fees, and overbearing bureaucracy are the last things that service clubs should have to deal with while carrying out their missions.

If you are a member of a service club, I hope you, or another representative of your organization, will consider taking part in the all-party committee hearing on Monday, Oct. 31.

I look forward to seeing you at Queen's Park.

Jim Wilson is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Simcoe-Grey.

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