From the Deputy …

My Brethren:

Welcome back to where we left off on our renewal of your Board of General Purposes and the Grand Lodge programs. Not much of a change from last month except my dear wife is tired of cooking seven nights a week – a big change from seven nights a month! But rest assured that your Grand Lodge Committees are using this time well in our homes via video and teleconferencing.

This month, I would like to report on the progress of the Operations Pillar, under Chairman R.W. Bro. Richard Kaufman, with an update on the progress of their special assignments given to them this year:

1) Strategic Planning Committee to prepare the next generation of presentation for the Seminar and Workshop circuit.

In addition to the continual work of R.W. Bro. Jim Sercombe and his Committee in reacting to the responding Lodges after reading their red-alert Condition of Masonry report for the lack of long range planning; the team has evolved into a Strategic Action Committee by arming their facilitators with new presentation detailing the tools for Lodges to develop their own Strategic Plan. We are excited that this presentation is scheduled for a wider audience to review as part of the Tuesday afternoon workshops at the next Annual Communication.

2) Move the Strategic Planning material from an outside website to the Grand Lodge web site.

As of the last Committee report, Committee member R.W. Bro. Kelly Feldcamp has offered to support and assist this activity and is awaiting direction from the Web Team who need to provide direction and access to make this happen.

3) The Lodge Finance Advisory Committee needs to prepare a presentation for the Seminar and Workshop circuit of successes and how-to’s for Lodges, Temples and Corporations to get the wealth of great information and knowledge of this team into the field with seminars in the Districts and at the Annual Communication.

To assist with the communications, Chairman R.W. Bro. Syd Schatzker has recruited additional financial professionals to the Committee from throughout the jurisdiction and has plans to continue the same. Two prospective newsletters have been sent to the Publishing Review team for their review and the Committee is working on a PPP for use at District seminars and the Tuesday afternoon at the Annual Communication.

4) Prepare a report and make recommendations on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act for the Management Committee as it affects Lodge Buildings.

Chairman R.W. Bro. Darren Byrne has completed an extensive review of the Act and has made recommendations to the Management Committee based on his interpretation for the Grand Lodge building and Lodges in general. The Committee was then requested to get a legal opinion on their interpretation of the Act to assure we were headed down the right direction with the proposed course of action.

5) Prepare an alternative building compliance policy.

Given that some municipalities have suddenly increased the cost of a Fire Safety Inspection, a constitutional amendment is being proposed by the Lodge Building Advisory Committee for a Fire/Life Safety Policy that will monitor building compliance via a self-administered checklist. The timeline aligns with the requirements of the Ontario Fire Code, which requires every building Fire Safety Plan be reviewed and updated at least annually. The Grand Lodge Fire/Life Safety checklist will be required to be completed annually and within twelve months of the Official Visit of the Lodge. The completion of a self-administered checklist will be less onerous to the lodges. It can be completed in less the thirty minutes and ensures that the lodge has identified any fire or life safety issues in their facilities. The checklist supports the provisions of the Fire Code and has been prepared in consultation with several fire and building professionals and has been reviewed from a legal perspective. The new policy will require the Lodge to have had completed a Fire Inspection conducted by the local municipal fire service and have satisfactorily addressed any deficiencies to transition to the Annual Checklist policy thereby establishing a baseline of lodge building compliance prior to transitioning to the new approach. Monitoring of compliance with the Fire/Life Safety Policy and Lodge Insurance requirements will be through the “L” Forms administered by the DDGM and the Committee on the Condition of Masonry. When missing documents are identified, there will be an established administrative procedure to advise and work with the lodge in order to achieve compliance and avoid the temporary suspension of their warrant.

6) Conducting a comprehensive review of the financial numbers and Grand Lodge objectives and prepare the rationale for increasing the Grand Lodge per capita in cooperation with the Grand Treasurer.

The Audit and Finance Committee and Chairman, R.W. Bro. Jim Sutherland, have been working closely with our Grand Treasurer, R.W. Bro. Ed Standish, to crunch all of the numbers past and present to make the necessary predictions of where our costs and membership numbers are headed in the next five years. From this they can determine what the necessary assessment increase needs to be as part of our sound financial planning process going forward. Further details will be communicated in this regard.

Please tune back in next month to hear how your Grand Lodge Community Outreach Pillar is supporting these efforts.

Stay well until then!

Thomas W. Hogeboom

Deputy Grand Master

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