Regional Association of West Quebecers'
Strategic Plan 2016 - 2020

Background

The Regional Association of West Quebecers (RAWQ) has built its reputation on providing programs and services to the English-speaking community of West Quebec since 1981.

The organization continues to be dedicated to the minority English-speaking community of West Quebec as part of its commitment towards fostering community vitality while embracing the value of respect for the majority community. In recent years, RAWQ's level of activity and output has expanded significantly and places even greater demands on internal resources. These resources remain limited despite the size, diversity and geographical spread of RAWQ's constituency. How might RAWQ serve this mix of both rural and urban constituencies without compromising existing services? The timing for reflection is needed - for both evaluation as well as forward planning based on informed decisions in order to ensure the future vitality of the organization.

To this end, RAWQ made a commitment to engage in a planning activity to evaluate its present position and set a course of direction for the next five years. The first step in this activity was a planning retreat held on February 20, 2016 with the Board of Directors, RAWQ members and partners. At this retreat an evaluation of RAWQ's present position, a review of the mission statement and the identification of priority goals that the Strategic Plan might embrace were carried out.

The Strategic Plan presented in the following pages is based largely on the retreat discussions, but also takes into account recent needs assessment research recognizing that planning should reflect the community's needs. The Plan is a living document subject to ongoing adjustment in response to environmental dynamics. The elements set out by the Plan will be reviewed on a regular basis in order to evaluate performance and to keep the plan effective and relevant in serving the interests of the English-speaking community of West Quebec.

Vision

A healthy English Speaking community in a secure French Speaking Quebec. A strong Quebec in a united Canada

Mission statement

· RAWQ supports the English-speaking population of West Quebec by fostering an environment in which it can thrive.

To this end, it pursues the following objectives:

Priority Goals and Supporting Strategy

The Strategic Plan articulates four priority goals to provide direction and a planning framework over the next five years. These goals are overlapping and interconnected and when pursued collectively will enable RAWQ to move closer to its fundamental goal - to serve and support the English-speaking population of West Quebec by fostering an environment in which it can thrive. It is recognized that this strategic plan is a ‘living document'. The interpretation of the meaning of the four priority goals will evolve and how they are implemented will reflect changing circumstances.

The four priority goals are:

1. To build and maintain RAWQ's organizational capacity through a strong governance structure.

2. To build and maintain a strategic communication plan that will connect and inform the English Speaking Community of West Quebec.

3. To maintain RAWQ's support role for cultural activities.

4. To engage, enable and encourage the English Speaking Community to be active participants in the West Quebec community.


Priority Goal 1: To build and maintain RAWQ's organizational capacity through a strong governance structure.

Governance implies that the organization is responsible and accountable for its long-term sustainability and therefore plays an active role in developing and controlling its resources and in strengthening networks within and amongst communities. This goal is fundamental to the successful outcome of RAWQ's planning effort. It focuses on building internal resources based on the assumption that an organization with a strong membership, volunteer base and adequate financial resources will be in a better position to respond to community needs.

Supporting Strategies:

Under the coordination of the membership committee, develop and pursue a strategy to support a healthy increase in membership.

Continue to seek high caliber community representation on RAWQ's Board of Directors. Identify sectors where representation is missing.

Examine the feasibility of creating chapters in different communities.

Develop a fundraising strategy to diversify funding.

Develop a volunteer strategy that includes recognition

Identify best practices

Gathner input from partners to ensure the adoption of an innovative and sustainable approach to development and growth as an organization and a community.

Establish and update on an ongoing basis sound internal policies, procedures and job descriptions

Ensure regular meetings of all RAWQ committees

Maintain RAWQ's support role for health and social services


Priority Goal 2: To build and maintain a strategic communication plan with activities that will connect and inform the English Speaking Community of West Quebec.

This goal not only addresses the ongoing challenge regarding the low visibility and profile of RAWQ in the larger English-speaking community of West Quebec but also the communication of events and news of interest and value to the English Speaking Community within the vast geographical region of West Quebec.

Supporting Strategies:

In the immediate term, prepare a strategic communications plan under the direction of a communications committee.

Continue to provide support and partnership with the Aylmer Bulletin, Pontiac Journal and West Quebec Post.

Develop connections with other West Quebec media e.g. Low Down to Hull, Equity

Continue and enhance RAWQ’s eBulletin, newsletters and website.

Use board members for self-promotion wherever appropriate and possible.

Identify opportunities for presentations to community groups.

Seek RAWQ seats on community boards (Heritage College, school boards). Ensure a consistent message once RAWQ is represented (communications plan).

Participate in other organization's activities and events (booths).


Priority Goal 3: To maintain RAWQ's support role for cultural activity

This priority goal aims to build on the success achieved through the support or facilitator role of RAWQ in cultural activities and/or projects. This goal builds a sense of cultural identity by extending efforts in various sectors of cultural activity as needs and opportunities arise. The end result is greater participation of the English-speaking community in West Quebec society.

Supporting Strategies:

Publicity of community cultural events

Support regional artist's tours, community theatre, cultural exhibits, etc..

Examine the feasibility of a cultural festival.

Organize a bi-annual Awards banquet.

Identify opportunities to support written word events such as book launches and readings.


Priority Goal 4: To engage and enable the English Speaking Community to be active participants in the West Quebec community and where possible encourage the community to become bilingual.

This priority goal presents an opportunity to break down isolation for all ages - offering opportunities for expression and exchange both within and between communities.

Supporting Strategies:

Inform, mobilize and advocate on behalf of the community

Conduct environmental scanning on a regular basis to keep informed of community needs.

Identify and prioritize (inventory) where the community is not present or not participating.

Maintain advocacy role with the City of Gatineau.

Offer information sessions and/or forums for the community (issue/topic based).

In recognition that young people are increasingly leaving the region for economic and other opportunities located elsewhere and that young people do not all share a sense of belonging to the English-speaking community create opportunities that will encourage youth to actively participate in community organizations and institutions.

Ensure youth have access to information and services (including education) in English to allow them to succeed in the majority French-speaking community.

Encourage bi-culturalism so that English-speaking youth can actively and comfortably interact with the majority French-speaking community.

Share knowledge and support individuals, groups and/or organizations in order to mobilize them to take leadership in improving the conditions for a healthy and viable English Speaking Community.

Create “an effective voice” for Quebec’s seniors by mobilizing seniors throughout West Quebec by different forums, committees, focus groups and/or activities

Maintain an active partnership with Connexions to ensure English-speaking seniors throughout West Quebec have knowledge and access to all the services and programs available in West Quebec that can maintain their health and vitality.

Empower seniors by improving their access to information and participation in activities, events and volunteer opportunities.