From the Grand Treasurer …
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REGARDING THE PROPOSED GRAND LODGE ASSESSMENT INCREASE
For last several years our expenses have exceeded revenue as our membership has declined. There has not been an increase since 2011. Grand Lodge can no longer continue to run at a deficit.
Why in the Midst of a Pandemic?
The Grand Treasurer’s proposal for an increase was based on his five-year forecast which proceeded the current pandemic. Even then, the forecast really necessitated a greater increase than the one currently proposed. This assessment increase was scheduled for July 2020, but no Constitutional amendments were presented as Grand Lodge was reduced to a virtual meeting of the Board of General Purposes. The last time the Grand Lodge Assessment was increased was ten years ago. A pandemic was not foreseen, but we can no longer postpone the increase in the per capita levy.
Why Such a Large Increase?
This Assessment increase works out to an additional $2.00 per member, per meeting per year. At present your Grand Lodge Assessment is $20.00 the lowest in Canada; the next lowest is $29.00 and the highest is $88.00. The new per capita rate will not become effective until the filing of the semi-annual return due in January 2022.
Why Not Spread out the Increase over several years?
This option was discussed at length and rejected. The last time Grand Lodge spread an Assessment increase over several years there was confusion in many Lodges in calculating the correct Assessment payment on the semi-annual returns. This showed us that a single increase was preferred as it was easier to manage and eliminated confusion in the reporting. If the increase is spread out over 3 years, it would result in a permanent loss of revenue totaling $1,200,000.
What will this Increased Revenue be Used For?
Grand Lodge, Lodges and the Membership have recognized the need to upgrade our computer technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness in many aspects of our operations including the ability to communicate directly to our members. Eligible voters will be able to vote for Grand Lodge Officers and for their District Deputy Grand Masters with the implementation of electronic voting. New data base software & computers will promote better communication and education throughout our membership and increase the efficiency in the way we operate at all levels.
While the upfront investment in technology is expensive, we will improve the efficiency with administration workflows resulting in future cost savings.
Why not delay?
If we fail to make this investment now, with rising costs we may never be able to catch up. This will also enable your Grand Lodge to look at new ways of conducting the Annual Communication and to enhance our experience of attending every year.
Like any house which has aged, our Grand Lodge building needs some costly repairs to remain viable and up to date. The roof, fence, parking lot and bringing access into compliance with the current AODA regulations are some of the projects to be completed.
Since 2011 expenses have increased for Grand Lodge, individual Lodges and Districts and the postponement of this Assessment cannot delayed.
We trust that the Brethren will understand and appreciate the need and will approve the proposed increase in the Assessment.
- H. Edward Standish, Grand Treasurer
- James C. Sutherland, Chairman of Audit & Finance
- Sydney T. Schatzker, Chairman of Lodge Finance Advisory