BCAEM held its first ever vote for Board Directors when we get 9 nominations for 7 positions. Great to see so much enthusiasm for moving BCAEM forward!
BCAEM celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a celebratory reception and draw for 10 free memberships at its Annual General Meeting.
2016 has been a busy year for the Association. Along with the launch of a new website, BCAEM appointed its very first Executive Director. A Bylaw Committee was struck mid-year to review the existing bylaws to ensure consistency with the new Societies Act and to bring forth recommendations for a restructured executive.
This year the “President’s Task Force for Training and Exercise” was formed to look at new training and exercise tools for the membership. The group, which included BCAEM members from throughout the province, focused on how to “customize” these tools to meet the needs of our members and their communities. A survey was sent out to all members for their input on how they would like to see the Association move forward in the coming year and new ideas to incorporate into the Strategic Plan of the Association. This was very well received by the membership and much of the results have already been adopted.
BCAEM began work on “Professional Development” strategies for the membership in order to assist in the growth of, not only the Association, but also to support a stronger professional force in the field of Emergency Management. Our Education and Research Committee continue to look at new tools for our membership to use. An exciting new initiative this year was the ability for our members to receive a reduced conference rate, through their membership, to the Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Conference held in Vancouver, B.C.
BCAEM was very vocal in its opposition to the Federal Government’s cutbacks to both the Joint Emergency Preparedness Planning (JEPP) grant and funding for the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) teams throughout Canada. BCAEM also launched an initiative for all Emergency Management Associations in Canada to voice their concerns to Public Safety Canada. Unfortunately this combined initiative did not sway the current Government of the day and critical funding for local governments was discontinued. BCAEM continued throughout the year expressing our concerns of the safety of citizens with this vital funding removed.
In September 2012, BCAEM hosted its second conference in Kamloops with the theme “Back to Basics – A Way Forward”. To increase value for the members the BCAEM 2012 Conference included all day Saturday and ½ day on Sunday with the AGM held on Saturday evening. Members appreciated the smaller venue and time for questions and answers as well as opportunity to network and share experiences.
The Board also took a comprehensive look at its 2010-2014 Strategic Plan and made the necessary revisions to ensure consistency with the direction of the Association.
In September 2011, BCAEM hosted its AGM in conjunction with a one-day inaugural conference in Kelowna with the theme “Supporting Emergency Management Professionals in BC”. Sessions included: “The Creek that Cannot be Named” with James MacDonald and Dale Kronebusch and the BCAEM Café Discussion on “Moving Emergency Management Forward” as a profession, in my organization, in my community and in resources and funding. Members enjoyed the presentation and the BCAEM Café promoted good discussion regarding how to move emergency management forward. Lots of great ideas were generated and members appreciated the opportunity to network and share experiences.
In the fall of 2010, the Association released a professionally designed and hosted website and membership management system. This system will facilitate updating the website and managing membership workflows including registration, payments, renewals, and membership record management. This will greatly reduce the time required for volunteer board members to perform basic back office tasks in support of the organization and will provide a more efficient method for members to interact with the association.
In 2009 BCAEM applied for, and received, a one-time direct access Gaming Grant of $250,000 to facilitate an emergency management training program that had previously been provided by the Province of BC. The Board understood the difficulties faced by rural and remote communities in getting people who were primarily volunteers trained. Careful consideration was given to the costs associated with EM training as well as the existing delivery model. Workshop evaluations were reviewed by the BCAEM Board and changes were implemented. Along with the successful implementation of training programs across BC, BCAEM was also able to develop, in coordination with the JIBC, a series of tabletop exercise templates in Word format that are made available on the BCAEM website.
In 2008, bcaem.ca was launched as well as the online discussion list BCAEM-d. These 2 critical resources have been instrumental in enabling EM professionals to communicate with one another and for the association to begin the process of providing online resources to the membership. This website and electronic mailing list were developed and hosted at not cost to the association by a member. While fulfilling a gap during the first few years of the association, the board soon realized a more permanent solution was required and began exploring its options.
At the 2007 EP Conference, our constitution and bylaws were adopted and the old CEPA-BC executive handed over the association to the new board. At this point, the association officially became known as the British Columbia Association of Emergency Managers (BCAEM) and all official paperwork was filed to change the name.
In February of 2006, a group of regional district emergency program managers met in Kamloops to explore the possibility of forming an association to facilitate the sharing of information, ideas and resources. At that historic meeting the decision was made to proceed with the formation of an association and open membership to everyone in BC in the emergency management field.
The first meeting of the BCEMA (as we were originally called) was at the EP conference of 2006. 65 people attended an open forum discussion on the association. The forum was intended to gauge interest, solicit support, and understand the role such an association could fullfill. From this meeting, a committee was formed with the mandate to explore all options of formalizing an association.
Timing was good: seed money and non-profit society requirements were provided to us by the Canadian Emergency Preparedness Association-BC (CEPA) that was in the process of disbanding. This allowed BCAEM to inherit CEPA-BC's status as a society and a small amount of funds which greatly helped the new board get the association off the ground.