C.C.U.B. Trust Fund Board Update
12 Aug 2020
The fiscal year-end of the Doukhobors of Canada C.C.U.B. Trust Fund Board concluded on May 31, 2020 and at its Annual General Meeting on July 18, the Board reflected on the many activities both concluded, and underway.
The Board met monthly to discuss legislative change; enhanced communication with Doukhobor societies; strategic planning and, as always, our annual granting process.
Seven applications requesting funding were received from recognized societies in May, from each of the three provinces the Board represents. Funding decisions were made at the July Annual Meeting and are available on this site.
The Board has also had some changes in membership. Walter Ostoforoff of Canora filled the vacancy created by the resignation of Gerald Benneke (SK) early this year. Recently, Joe Cheveldave of Castlegar BC also retired from the Board, and Mike Kanigan , has been named as the British Columbia replacement for this vacancy. In July, John Popoff resigned. Leaving a vacancy in Alberta, which will be filled from the Alberta group.
We wish to thank both Gerald, Joe and John for their good and long service on the Board and the wisdom they brought to our deliberations.
The changes to The CCUB Trust Fund Act (S.S. 1979-80) proposed by the Board to the Government in Fall 2019 are making their way through the legislative change process, and on track with the original timelines proposed by the Ministry. The major change proposed was to use the Fund’s principal and not just the interest as has been the case to date. The Board and the Ministry are working well together to keep this process aligned with the proposed schedule.
The Board is working on a strategic plan in anticipation of The Board being able to use the Fund’s principal, which now sits at just over $300K. The vision is to support more special projects that preserve and advance Doukhobor heritage and culture in Western Canada. This plan would be accompanied by a revised granting policy to reflect its strategic directions. Once the Strategic Plan is more developed, the Board will share it with our communities and welcome feedback for the final version.
In early 2019, our Board reached out to Doukhobor communities and organizations regarding a proposed review of The CCUB Trust Fund Act, something that happens periodically with all legislation. The Act had not been reviewed for some time and the Government of Saskatchewan invited our Board to consult with our people about possible changes to the Act. This included the possibility of dropping the restriction to spend only the interest generated by the Fund and to permit access to spending of the Principal. If such a change was to be considered, input was needed for how this additional funding could best serve Doukhobor organizations.
The Government asked our Board to consult with our communities across Western Canada to explore options for possible changes to the CCUB Trust Fund and to call for input from Doukhobor organizations and individuals. Our Board began by putting notices in two major Doukhobor publications in Western Canada – ISKRA produced in BC and the Dove produced in SK. This was followed by wide circulation of a Consultation Letter to Doukhobor societies with an overview of the Fund’s history, some concerns with the current arrangements, and some options for future directions. This was distributed widely, along with a request for local discussion and input.
In response, many groups held consultation meetings in their areas and shared the results with us. We also heard from many individuals, by letter and in person. All of the input was considered carefully by our Board. We were very pleased with the responses and the feedback. Overall, there was support for option 3.a in the document. That option was to amend the Act to allow the Board to disburse the funds held in the trust (principal plus accumulated interest) over a reasonable time period (several years). The Board would develop a clear disbursement plan and criteria for allocating funds, including a possible expanded concept of eligible projects. The Board would also ensure that all Doukhobor societies and organizations are aware of the changes and plans, so as to have ample time to develop ideas and prepared proposals for future funding applications.
The Board prepared a proposal in the Fall of 2019 to the Government of Saskatchewan outlining the recommended option that was supported by Doukhobor societies in the consultation process. This was to allow spending of the Fund’s principal, allowing larger grants that would better meet the many needs of Doukhobor organizations in Western Canada. In most years, the funds requested through our granting process far exceeded the Board’s ability to fund from only the interest. Access to the Fund’s principal would help address this limitation.
The legislative review process is currently underway (2020) and involves review at several levels before going before the Saskatchewan Legislature for consideration. The review and any resulting changes will likely take about a year to complete. Our Board is in regular contact with the Minister’s office as the legislative review progresses and we will keep our communities updated regarding developments.
In the meantime, the Board will continue offering the annual CCUB grant program and will provide updates in ISKRA and the Dove, as well as on this website.