Reprinted with permission
24 April, 2015
To all Alberta masters members,
We thank Swim Alberta for their respected input into the ongoing survey over the membership’s preferred governance model for Alberta Masters moving forward. There are, however, a number of items the AMSC wishes to clarify for members:
The AMSC was elected by masters membership to serve the interests of said membership. Each member of our committee truly wishes to better the plight of masters swimming in Alberta. Our individual opinions can often vary on the best course forward for this endeavour, yet the committee as a whole never forgets that our vision is guided by the consent, approval, and vision of our members. This is why the AMSC has called for the current survey. A vote for the AMSC to pursue a more independent governance model is vote for just that – the pursuit of a different model. Any new model governing Alberta masters will only enter operation if it provides at minimum the full base of services provided by Swim Alberta.
Our goals, however, extend past these base functions. Models of strong, self-governing and effective provincial masters bodies already exist in both British Columbia and Ontario. In British Columbia, MSABC provides their own registration for members while having their meets sanctioned and insurance provided through Swim BC, whose own sanction authority is provided by Swimming Canada. MSABC (Masters Swimming Association of BC) is its own society under the Societies Act which holds a healthy relationship with Swim BC. Therefore, MSABC completes their own membership registration, collects their own fees, and manages their own programming. Further detail on MSABC can be found for those interested on their website here. In Ontario, MSO (Masters Swimming Ontario) sanctions their own meets, provides their own insurance, and directs all of their own programming without any involvement with Swim Ontario. The MSO website can be found here. Information on these societies was gathered by the AMSC through both research and in conversation with the respective governing bodies. Both MSABC and MSO are among the largest, most stable, and most independent provincial masters organisations in the country.
Additionally, the AMSC would like to clarify how a more independent governance model would not limit the benefits supplied to masters members. As previously stated, the AMSC is willing to pursue service and affiliation agreements with Swim Alberta as part of a healthy, cooperative relationship. We would prefer to collaborate with Swim Alberta as an affiliate member sharing many of Swim Alberta’s base services. The success of a more independently governed Alberta masters society, however, does not depend on this cooperation.
Alberta masters contains a large enough membership base to effectively provide its own training and competition insurance policies for all members, if required.
Regardless of the governance model masters swimming takes in Alberta, masters clubs will have the same access to certified and trained coaches. Coach certifications are currently supplied on a national level, through the NCCP and CTCSA. There are no certified coaching courses specifically directed to masters swimming in the province.
Swim Alberta is correct that they are the lone sanctioning authority in the province. This authority is afforded to Swim Alberta through their affiliation with Swimming Canada. Yet as mentioned provincial masters bodies exist in Canada where sanctioning is either passed on by the provincial organisation (as in BC), or granted to the masters body independently by Swimming Canada (as in Ontario). The AMSC has no wish to have masters swimming operate in Alberta without sanctioned meets. Neither does Masters Swimming Canada or Swimming Canada wish to have an entire province’s masters swimmers unable to compete at all levels or have results and records left unacknowledged. This is another reason why our ongoing membership survey is so important: ultimately, the will of the Alberta masters membership as a group does not fall prisoner to the whims of Swim Alberta, for Swim Alberta is not Canada’s ultimate sanctioning authority. The details of sanctioning have not yet been pursued by Alberta masters, and the AMSC is prepared to negotiate on the understanding that sanctioned meets are a key expectation of our members.
Finally, the AMSC recommendation to pursue a more independent governance structure pending a mandate from members is based on the wish to expand the benefits for Alberta masters swimmers. This includes expanding on the democratic election process for masters representatives, offering programming directed at growing membership and improving the masters swimming experience, providing a clear and approachable governance structure, and ensuring that the representation and voting rights of masters members are respected.
Thank you for your time and interest in the Alberta masters process. We understand that members have received a great deal of information to digest in a short period of time, and we hope that this letter has helped clarify matters. Please do take the time to vote in the ongoing survey for all masters members – your views are important to us. The link is available HERE until the survey closes on Sunday, May 3rd at 11:59 p.m. Please feel free to contact us with any questions, comments or concerns.
Signed on behalf of the AMSC,
Mike Vanden Ham