VIDEO: Wilson Wins Approval for Service Club Resolution
(February 19, 2015) Today in the Ontario Legislature, Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson brought forward a resolution that calls on the government to strike a committee to investigate the legislative and regulatory barriers and burdens facing service clubs across Ontario. Wilson chose the topic after hosting a roundtable with local service clubs in his riding last April.
"The issue we are talking about today is the important role service clubs play in communities across Ontario and the role government can play to assist these clubs to ultimately maximize their full potential," said Wilson.
"Service clubs relieve the financial burden while providing intrinsic social benefits ... they are a win-win, which is why it is so important that we as legislators make it as easy as possible for them to continue to do the good work they do."
Wilson wrote to the Minister of Finance after meeting with local service clubs last year. He also distributed a questionnaire to close to 900 service clubs across the province. Together the clubs identified a number of issues and challenges impacting their everyday operations, including restrictive regulations, excessive taxes and fees and difficulties attracting volunteers to name a few. Wilson mentioned many of the examples in his remarks before the Legislature.
"One club described spending months to secure approval for a simple river race of logs and rubber turtles. Because the guidelines only allow 'rubber ducks', the Alcohol and Gaming Commission took months to approve the fundraiser," said Wilson.
""If a service club raises more than $50,000 after expenses on a fundraiser, they must pay $4,500 for an audit. If a service club raises less than $50,000, the audit cost is $450. As a result, service clubs limit their fundraising," continued Wilson.
Another example Wilson gave was from a local constituent. "Keith White from my riding, who is an Honorary Lion and a Legion Associate Member, along with a Councillor in Essa Township suggests that better training on how to recruit and retain volunteers would benefit many clubs. He suggests that simply collecting the educational material and resources that already exist, and finding ways to disseminate those resources, perhaps through local info centres or online, would help to attract volunteers."
Wilson's resolution was approved unanimously by all parties. He remains cautiously optimistic that the governing Liberals will move the standing committee forward.
Wilson concluded by thanking his local service clubs for being the inspiration behind the resolution and service clubs across the province for the good work they do.
To read the remarks in Hansard CLICK HERE