Friends of the OGWIA, It has been one year since the formation of the OGWIA. It has been a year of frustration, uncertainty and darn right scary – from both personal and business perspectives. We are at the cross-roads to hopefully better times. I am reaching out to you to reflect on the past year and consider the future for the OGWIA.
A year ago, a group of us were consoling each other for the state of our businesses. It was a dark time because there was no vaccine and a shuttered wedding industry was hurting us all. There was no foreseeable future.
In our sharing, the idea came about that there could be room for a wedding industry association. The association would focus on a few priorities: advocacy, education, and supportive networking. Our ambition was that such an association would be the voice for industry to the three levels of government, media, and public. It would champion our specific concerns from our unique business lens: weddings.
So we went for it. We formed a Board, became a non-for-profit organization. We sought out paid membership to cover our costs. I thank you all on behalf of the Board for the confidence and support you gave us.
The OGWIA embarked on an plan to provide value to its members. The OGWIA advocated to the three levels of government. We spoke directly to Ministerial staff, participated in many round-tables, and wrote numerous letters to MPs, MPPs, and Ministers in Ontario and Quebec. They knew our positions. This led us to collaborate with other associations that multiplied our voice.
We hosted many Zoom networking evenings including a special Holiday Party with games and recipes. We published a monthly newsletter, and provided an authoritative view of the provincial regulations. There were educational events with relevant guest speakers including an accountant, a counsellor, and a life coach. The OGWIA sponsored a law firm to produce a template contract that could provide clauses for members to use in their own contracts. All of these activities supported and promoted our community during the dark days and I want to thank you for your participation.
It is with relief that we are now seeing high vaccination rates and the re-opening of our businesses. It is so great to re-connect at a real-life wedding! All of us are now really busy dealing with the pent-up demand. The business looks different than pre-COVID and we are open for it. In recognition of that, the Board discussed and concluded that the OGWIA has met its mandate. The OGWIA’s mission is complete. And with that determination, the Board’s consensus is that we should close down the OGWIA. Acting on the Board’s recommendation, I am informing you that we will proceed to an orderly closure of the OGWIA.
We are going to settle the books, pay taxes, and close our social media sites by October 30, 2021. And at some point in the near future we will host a party! We will celebrate that during a tough time the Ottawa-Gatineau wedding industry community supported each other and sought to act and influence as best we could.
On behalf of the Board, I want to thank all of you for your support and encouragement over the past year. The Ottawa-Gatineau Wedding Industry is stronger because of our united efforts over the last year.
Alan Viau BSc PhD
President and Officiant
Ottawa-Gatineau Wedding Industry Association