Welcome to the April newsletter. We wish we were bringing you happy news that we are rounding the corner of the pandemic and we are going to be back to a busy summer of weddings. Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods yet. There is hope in the country as our parents, grandparents and older family members are getting vaccinated. Soon it will be our turn. We will have weddings this year, but it will not be our busiest season. Those good days are coming. We just need to stay positive and focused on the future.
In this month’s newsletter, we are providing you with an update on the letters that we have sent to various levels of government and our health care professionals as well as providing you with articles on the future and mental health. The Ottawa Gatineau Wedding Industry Association thanks you for your support and encourages you to take advantage of every seminar that we have to offer. Enjoy the April newsletter.
Not Giving Up
By Alan Viau, President and Officiant
One of the principles of advocacy is to hit the right issues at the right time. This last month, before the current “Stay At Home And Watch Netflix” order came down, the OGWIA sent two letters to our governments.
The first was to Dr’s Etches and Williams, public health officers, on what more needs to be done than just wring our hands and hope vaccination catches up. You can read the full text attached.
The second was to Premiers Legault and Ford. It stressed the harm that their different provincial color coding system was causing in border cities like Ottawa. The OGWIA called for harmonization of the restrictions.
Now we are in a waiting game for the next couple of weeks to see what effect the new orders will or will not have. It is important that the OGWIA keep pressing the government to do more for all of us.
WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
By Brian Henry – Membership Committee
Are you looking at your calendar for the year asking yourself “what do I do now?” If you are, you are not alone. Many of us in the wedding industry have questions about this coming wedding season. What will it look like? Will I have more cancellations and postponements? What do I do if my 2020 clients move again from 2021 to 2022? Do I charge them more money, another deposit or simply move the date without any hesitation? These are questions that all of us in the wedding industry have right now.
There is no right answer. You have to do what is best for you, your business and your family. And please don’t judge fellow industry members for their business decisions. You don’t know their situation. Now is the time to support one another – not go against each other.
If you hear of another company – maybe even in your own line of work – charging admin fees or higher prices for the following year or maybe not allowing postponements for Fall weddings until later in the year, be supportive. Do not take a side.
Everyone must manage their own business to survive until the pandemic is over. Some wedding companies are eligible for government programs and some are not. Some companies are paying for storage, offices, a warehouse or vehicles or they have higher insurance premiums or debt. Therefore, nobody knows all the details about another wedding company’s financial position.
As we enter the 13 month of the pandemic under strict lockdown measures, please show compassion for your fellow wedding industry professional – and reach out to them to see if they need your help. We are all struggling with our mental health and sometimes a friendly voice, text or message will go a long way to lift someone’s spirits – and never judge.
THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
By Brian Henry – Membership Committee
I hope you attended the mental health night on Wednesday, April 14th presented by the Ottawa Gatineau Wedding Industry Association as we heard from Crystal Smalldon who has extensive education and experience in the mental health industry. If you are dealing with a little stress or struggling in a big way, now is the time to get help. Do not wait any longer. Reach out to a friend, a family member, a professional in the mental health industry or one of the many organizations that we have in our city, province and country. You can also go to https://caccf.ca/ and book a free appointment.
The Ottawa Gatineau Wedding Industry Association is in good financial shape. We have used some of the membership funds to invest in seminars by high quality professionals.
On March 1st, we presented Business Coach Catherine Fair from Rhapsody Strategies who provided an excellent seminar based on her experience with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The members who were on that call left the meeting with valuable tools to improve their companies.
On April 5th, we had an excellent seminar where we paid two accountants from SRT Accounting to speak to the members about various government programs and filing taxes. Ted Williamson and Carol Catchpole provided valuable information to help members understand what they need to do in order to apply for various subsidies including the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. Several of the members who were on the call were able to submit their applications before the deadline of April 7th. The information they collected by being on that Zoom call will be a substantial benefit since the Ontario Small Business Support Grant has now doubled in value.
Next up, we have a seminar where the OGWIA is paying for a lawyer to present a contract that you will be able to use for your business. This upcoming seminar is exclusive to the members of the association. If you are on the call, you will receive a copy of the contract that cannot be shared or given to anyone who is not a member of the association. The contract and the access to the lawyer is another added benefit you receive for your support of the association.
Data is King
The OGWIA and OWA have been exchanging ideas and initiatives on an on-going basis. The OGWIA received a request for OGWIA members to participate in an anonymous short survey they have put together.
The purpose of the survey is to more fully understand how COVID has really impacted our industry. The data gathered will help our advocacy efforts. I urge you to take a moment and fill it out. Go to: https://form.jotform.com/210964870893064