A MESSAGE TO OMSPA MEMBERS
Following our Zoom meeting on the Sector Development / Strategic Plan, held on September 15th at 7:30 pm, we want to let you know that we heard your concerns loud and clear and want to clarify some of the issues/questions raised at the meeting.
Q: Why was this process not communicated to us before?
We are sorry that some of you feel like you have not been getting enough information about this process. We will do our best to continue the flow of information so that you can pass it along to your local members. We started to talk about updating our Strategic Plan back in December 2020. However, we are still very early in the process, which will take 12 months to complete, with plenty of opportunities to provide input along the way.
Q: Why does it appear like the OMSPA leadership has already decided what they want to do?
This is absolutely not true. At this stage we are simply gathering information about our industry and membership. However, to avoid any further confusion, let us be clear that after doing our due diligence with the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, and based on the views of our members, OMSPA will NOT be pursuing the establishment of a maple syrup marketing board, Section 12 representative association or supply managed system in Ontario.
Q: How do all of these various pieces fit together?
The Sector Development Plan is about the broader maple syrup industry in Ontario and how OMSPA fits into that industry. We have never done one of these before. It is important because it will help us when we apply for funding, open up new markets and generate new business. Our Strategic Plan is an internal governance document that is specific to OMSPA and is aimed at setting our strategic directions for the next several years (how and where we want to grow as well as what our priorities are). Our current Strategic Plan will expire in the middle of 2023 so we need to start the process to update it. The Steering Groups are being formed to gather information that will support both the Sector Development Plan and the Strategic Plan.
Q: Why do we even need a Sector Development Plan when everything is fine the way it is?
OMSPA’s constitution states that our objective is “to encourage the development, expansion and improvement of the maple syrup industry”. If we do nothing Ontario will fall further behind other jurisdictions across north America that are increasing production, quality, and expanding into new markets. A Sector Development Plan will speak volumes to our government partners when our industry needs assistance and it will help each of us better understand our industry.
Q: Why can’t I or the members of my local participate in the Steering Groups?
You can participate! We placed notional names beside some of the proposed Steering Groups to get the ball rolling. If you or anyone from your local has an interest in participating in this process please let us know as soon as possible. We are very pleased that members have already started reaching out since the meeting to volunteer to serve on the Steering Groups.
We hope this clarifies your concerns and we look forward to working with you over the coming months to strengthen our organization and our industry.
OMSPA Governance Committee