Notes from your national executive council: Report on the September 2018 planning meeting

The national executive council (NEC) met in Ottawa September 15 and 16, 2018. We also met with several Ottawa-Gatineau branch members who came to the social events we hold for local members. It was great to see them all.


Like last year when we had a new executive, we started with introductions and expectations. I asked directors for their expectations of their time on the NEC, of themselves, and of me. This sets the tone for the year and it can be useful to reflect on, to see if we are meeting expectations as we work throughout the year.

It’s no surprise that this set of directors, like last year, expects to contribute to the association and to learn a lot from their time as directors. And they want to have fun while doing so. Volunteering can be hard work but it should always be fun and rewarding.

Also not surprising is the directors’ repeated request that I keep us all on track and focused. It’s all too easy for directors to start talking about administrative details or the specifics of implementing something. I hauled us all back from that a few times during the two days of meetings (the leader of the meeting is just as susceptible to this temptation as anyone else, so I have to haul myself back, too!).

Branch and twig business

Sara Caverley (acting chair of the Ottawa-Gatineau branch) and Sara Fowler (the branch seminars chair), came to talk to us about the branch’s work and some of its challenges.

The branch is trying some new things this year to increase attendance at monthly meetings, including teaming up with other organizations. They are also looking at what other branches and twigs are doing in terms of seminars and programming, to see what they can learn from their counterparts.

We also had the Manitoba twig coordinators join us via Zoom. Lianne Kobes and Lesley Petersen asked some great questions about running their twig and best practices for marketing events. It was a delight to have them join us. The twig is in great hands!

Editors Canada is all about helping and supporting each other, so as branch and twig leaders, you should feel free to connect with your colleagues. Some of you have been attending branch and twig Zoom meetings, as well as talking in the branch and twig group on Facebook. You can also connect through the branch and twig email list.


We talked about some communications issues and solutions to them. One of them is the NEC’s online votes and not having any background/context for them.

  • Right now, the secretary simply records the outcomes of the votes that happen online (motions, seconds and discussions happen in email, and then the directors vote online). But that means the members have no record of why a vote happened and what its ramifications are.
  • From now on, when a director makes a motion in email and the NEC votes in favour of it, the director who made the motion will submit a brief synopsis of why they submitted the motion and what it is designed to do. That will go into the NEC meeting minutes.

Foundations test

The NEC voted on the Foundational Skills Test Proposal that the Certification Steering Committee submitted. The NEC approved creating a new committee to get the foundations test going. If you are interested in participating, email Tania Cheffins, the director of professional standards.

Services and tools

We have several items coming your way.

These are being updated:

  • definitions of editorial skills
  • guidelines for editing theses, dissertations and undergrad papers

These are being explored:

  • a mini-conference for francophone members
  • a process to update the Honorary Lifetime Membership Procedure

And we approved the proposals for these new projects, so watch your inbox for details:

  • the 40th anniversary task force
  • an equity statement

Have your say

Someone said to me a while back that everyone in Editors Canada has a voice, not just the people we notice all the time. That’s so true. And that’s why it’s important for you to participate when the above items are sent out for member consultation or participation. Please join your colleagues in helping to shape an association that reflects us all.

Next meeting

Our next NEC meeting will be in November. It’ll be the budget meeting, where funds for 2019 will be formally allocated and voted on.

Gael Spivak

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