By Anne Gorman, National President of Catholic Women’s League of Canada
[Winnipeg – CWL News Release] – In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with concerns for the safety and welfare of members and to be in compliance with public health orders, the board of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada declares all necessary business will be transacted in conjunction with 2021 annual conventions at diocesan, provincial and national levels.
Further, the board declares a one-time exception to Part XIV, Section 2(a) of the Constitution & Bylaws (C&B) to extend the term of all existing officers at diocesan, provincial and national levels for one year.
In making its decision, the board’s primary consideration was that of care and concern for and protection of members. It determined this care and concern must be given more weight than a temporary infringement on member rights to be present to receive reports from and participate in the necessary business of diocesan, provincial and national councils.
Deliberations included the following:
- Public health and safety measures will be imposed for the foreseeable future.
- Gathering limits are unlikely to be lifted entirely until mass immunity through vaccination is possible.
- Non-essential travel and travel restrictions will likely be imposed for the foreseeable future.
- COVID-19 has a devastating impact on elderly citizens and those with underlying health conditions.
- More than 1⁄2 of CWL members are over the age of 55, with more than 1⁄4 over the age of 70, making the risk of serious infection or death a significant concern for the membership and convention organizers.
- Eight out of every ten deaths due to COVID-19 occur to those over 65 years of age (CDC).
- Continued physical distancing will limit the number of members who may attend, a condition that infringes on a member’s right to be present and participate.
- The impact/workload that would be imposed on the 46 diocesan, provincial and national executives required to organize AGMs over the summer months in order to hold them in September, October and November.
- Public health officials’ expression of concern that a second wave may occur in fall 2020.
- The high degree of caution being taken by citizens, including members, to avoid travel and mass gathering.
To effect this decision, the board will be submitting two amendments and one exception to the Constitution & Bylaws for ratification at the 2021 conventions, as outlined in the PDF of the news release (LINK here).
The directors wish to thank you for your prayers and your patience during this time of uncertainty.
Anne Gorman National President