The newly formed Ottawa-Gatineau Wedding Industry Association (OGWIA) is already advocating for businesses. Since its inauguration in July 2020, board members have been speaking with government officials and the media on the plight of the industry caused by the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions.
After months of planning, on July 17, 2020, eleven of Ottawa-Gatineau’s wedding industry businesses launched the OGWIA. Its objective is to support the industry through these uncertain times and to build a strong future for all businesses in the wedding industry. One of OGWIA’s first goals is to speak to all levels of government with a unified voice and work together to elevate our profession.
The OGWIA released a press release on August 13, 2020 announcing its formation. This was picked up by many media outlets and favourably reported by the Ottawa Business Journal and Ottawa Wedding Magazine.
CFRA featured board member, Stephanie Brown-Malenfant, in a 15 minute interview on the creation of the association. In addition, board member, Dr Alan Viau, was a guest on CBC’s Radio One “Ontario Today” on August 21, 2020 discussing how couples are adapting to the Now Normal.
Advocacy to Government
The OGWIA board members have also been speaking with provincial government officials. Both Brian Henry and Stephanie Brown-Malenfant each spoke to the Ontario Standing Committee of Finance and Economic Affairs.
Dr Alan Viau also spoke to Giles Gherson, Ontario Deputy Minister, Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Deputy Minister, Small Business and Red Tape Reduction putting forward recommendations for the wedding industry.
The OGWIA has now sent a letter to the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford. It’s key recommendations are:
1) To move from the 50 people maximum allowance for indoor spaces. We are seeking to increase wedding venue allowances to 50% capacity. This would be a threshold where industry businesses could operate at a profit while maintaining safety protocols.
2) To create standing social bubbles to allow guests some freedom of interaction
3) To define and clarify dancing restrictions. Can we explore protocols to increase safety such as small dance floors with plexi-glass boarders.
Just the Start
The OGWIA was formed as a result of months of discussion among various current board members. The COVID-19 crisis was the defining event that spurred the creation of the association. There is a lot of focus on advocacy at the moment. The OGWIA will continue to advocate and provide messaging to current events to be the unified voice in the Ottawa-Gatineau regions.
The OGWIA is planning networking events in the near future to bond the local wedding industry together and understand businesses’ concerns. Other activities are on the horizon. The OGWIA would like to hear from businesses on what they would they would like to see. Just send us an email.