By Romain Duguay, Deputy Executive Director
Following an organizational review on the alignment between Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the consulting firm Deloitte made 14 recommendations. In July 2020, several working groups and committees were established to implement those recommendations. A project committee was also set up to oversee the progress of those groups. The project committee met regularly to monitor the work of the various groups and to offer advice when they encountered difficulties.
At the beginning of 2021, the project committee submitted a progress report to the national council’s executive committee. Most of the working groups have now completed the bulk of their work. What follows is a report on the work accomplished to date and the next steps.
Given the scope of the recommendations, the governance committee chose to focus first on the recommendations to reduce the size of the national council. Accordingly, the necessary changes to the bylaws were proposed and approved at a national council meeting. Twelve national members were elected to form the new national council, which then adopted a motion to appoint the four bishops to the council. The national council will be meeting at least six times over the 2021-2022 period. This work is overseen by the governance committee and an ad hoc bylaws subcommittee.
The criteria working group developed a new partnership policy containing well-defined criteria, as well as a new procedure for selecting and renewing international partnerships that involves the appropriate operational and governance authorities. These were presented and adopted at a national council meeting on February 23, 2021. The partnership policy from 2014 will continue to serve as the document that lays out Development and Peace’s philosophy on the meaning of partnership.
In addition to its international development committee, the national council has established the international partnerships committee to regularly review new and existing partners, liaise with the local church authorities and ensure a timetable for reviewing the partner selection criteria and partnership policy. Should a problem or question ever arise about a partner, the international partnerships committee would assess the situation. The new partnership policy, including the new criteria, is available on our website. A list of current partners, too, is available upon request.
Communications and crisis management
To address the gaps that had been identified in communications, the working group on this issue has been developing several tools and improved procedures. These include a corporate or organizational communications policy and procedures for regional and crisis communications. The communications policy is available on our website.
The culture working group was mandated to engender a change in culture towards a more collaborative and synodal spirit. It organized focus groups to delve more deeply into the responses to an organization-wide survey that had been conducted earlier. A plan for cultural transformation, based on analyses of the results from the survey and focus groups, has been submitted to the national council. Activities are currently underway for its implementation.