Please note that in response to Covid-19 the RA is temporarily closed. We appreciate how difficult the evolving COVID-19 situation is and we thank you for your understanding and patience. Please take care of yourselves, each other and be well. Read more...
RA LifeFIT’s talented instructors have created at-home workout videos to share with our members to help us get through these uncertain times - Stronger Together!
We have set-up an RA Staff Hardship Fund campaign on GoFundMe in order to collect funds to directly help staff members in need. Thank you for your kind and generous support.
June 11, 2020 – Having carefully weighed all the associated risks, we have made the difficult decision that the RA will remain closed until the beginning of September when we hope to be in a position to welcome a number of modified programs and services to our members.
At this time, the House of Sport remains open to our National sport, multi-sport sport and community partners, the RA Physiotherapy & Massage Therapy Clinic is now open for appointments and the RA Canoe and Camping Club is proceeding with a modified program this summer.
What does this mean for other summer activities? We will not be proceeding with summer day camps, aquatic (pool) programs or any sports leagues (outdoor & indoor) during July and August.
We hope you are remaining safe, supported and healthy. We look forward to seeing you again!
Dear RA Community,
We hope that you, your family and loved ones are all well. At the risk of stating the obvious, these are precarious times for everyone in our community including the RA. The organization has now been shuttered for over 3 months – an unprecedented reality in our almost 80-year history. We’d like to thank you all for your ongoing patience and support during this time.
The RA Board of Directors and the RA’s senior team remain focused on preparing to bring the operations back in a prudent, slow and methodical manner. We anticipate that this recovery will be phased in over a considerable length of time.
In a recent communication, we indicated our intention to share our reopening ramp plan as it was presented to the RA’s Board of Directors on May 27.
Much has changed since then.
Please take a moment to view the following video.
• MESSAGE FROM THE RA'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS – June 1, 2020
To members and staff of the RA:
The RA Board of Directors thanks you and the entire RA family for your patience and support as the Association works its way through a very difficult operational and financial situation caused by COVID-19.
In particular we want to recognize and thank our outstanding CEO Tosha Rhodenizer, her management team, and all RA employees. The dedication and loyalty of all RA staff is one of our great strengths – that, and the continued support that the RA receives from our members and volunteers.
Board members sometimes meet other RA members in our “social distancing” walks through our neighbourhoods. And sometimes, we are asked “what is happening at the RA since the shut down?” Here are a few thoughts – regrettably the large majority of RA employees have been laid off. The handful who remain are working to secure the building – we are replacing our leaking roof and our damaged gymnasium floor, for example, and conducting regular building patrols to ensure safe functioning. Tosha and her team are working with our highly valued suppliers to maintain those important relationships. She has worked with Scotiabank to defer principal and interest payments on our debt. An employee hardship fund has raised a substantial sum of money to help employees in need of basic necessities, like groceries. We are striving to retain enough cash on hand to allow us to phase in a reopening when the time comes.
There is much more, but we believe you get the picture. Which brings us to a point – in the announcements of federal, provincial and municipal support, there has been very little opportunity for the RA, as a unique contributor in our community, to draw significantly on the direct financial assistance that has been announced so far. As an economically small, but operationally complex not-for-profit corporation, we generally sit outside the thresholds announced so far for direct financial assistance. We believe that it could help if you were to remind your MP, MPP, Councillor or other civic leader that the RA matters greatly in our community, and that their support is critical to our future.
These are uncertain times. As a Board, we can give no guarantees as to when we will reopen, and what operational changes may be necessary in a financially constrained, more socially distanced world. As Tosha has said, we need to take this time to pause, reset, and reimagine the RA in this new world. There will be some difficult decisions to make. We know that.
But we also want you to know that the RA is well led and managed, and that Tosha and her dedicated team put the best interests of the entire RA at the forefront of every decision. They have the full support of our Board – we are on the same page. Together, we will do our best to reopen what we can, when we can, in a financially responsible, safe, and sustainable way. Our aim is to serve our community, adapt to new circumstances, and take opportunities to sustain our operations wherever we can.
Thank you again for your loyalty and support of the RA.
Members of the Board of Directors of the RA
• MESSAGE TO RA MEMBERS – Friday, May 29, 2020
To our Members, partners, volunteers and staff, thank you for continuing to keep the RA community safe, healthy and strong. Unprecedented times have called for unprecedented efforts and through your loyalty, dedication and support our not-for-profit Association will return Stronger Together.
As the federal, provincial and municipal governments phase in re-opening plans in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are questions about when RA activities and services will return, and how they will look when they do.
RA Senior Management and the Board of Directors are diligently working on a multifaceted re-opening plan that will be phased in when government and health authorities deem it safe to do so. It is important to note that we will need to be in compliance with the orders from the civil authorities upon opening. Although we share everyone’s desire to get back to our beloved RA, the health and safety of everyone involved will determine when we return. We ask for your patience as we continue to work towards bringing our RA community back together. Until then, continue to follow the guidelines set by public health authorities to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Only by working together will we be able to make a difference and safely return.
As the City of Ottawa and Province announce their re-opening plans our community of RA members will be affected in different ways and at different times.
RA LifeFIT managed corporate fitness sites – QC and ON
The RA will follow the direction of our clients and partners under the orders from the civil authorities as to when and how to re-open. We look forward to offering the quality fitness and wellness services our corporate members have come to expect once our clients and partners indicate it is safe to welcome their employees back on-site.
RA Centre on Riverside Drive – ON
The Ontario government has further extended most of the emergency orders to June 9 to protect public health and safety from COVID-19 as the province eases some restrictions as part of the first stage of reopening Ontario. A Framework for Reopening our Province lays out Ontario’s approach to restarting the economy. It includes guiding principles and public health recommendations the government will use to gradually and safely reopen businesses, services and public spaces. Click here to read.
On May 15 the Ontario Provincial Government announced the beginning of the first stage of reopening focused on workplaces that are well-positioned to follow public health advice to maintain physical distancing, implement workplace safety guidance and limit gatherings.
The following items of interest were included in the Phase 1 announcement:
Many members were excited to hear this news – as were we. The RA is currently assessing the risks and benefits of re-opening some parts of the facility. It is paramount that as we move to re-open, we do so with the appropriate procedures in place to safely accommodate and protect members and staff. A local facility recently opened only to be forced to close 24 hours later. We will learn from their experience and ensure that as we open areas, we will do so safely and prepared to respond to evolving requirements from civil authorities.
The cancellation of all overnight camps with the promise of an announcement on day camps in the near future.
We understand that parents and children are anxious to hear about RA Summer Day Camp programming. We sympathize but please know that we will need to consider a multitude of factors including the health and safety of everyone involved before proceeding. Stay tuned.
As social beings, it’s hard not to be excited about re-opening and many are eager to see members and staff and make sure they are doing well. As an organization, care needs to be put into any re-open plans to ensure the safety of our visitors and members. We need to ensure we can safely move people through the building and that we can adapt the activities and implement protocols that adhere to emergency orders and guidelines set out by public health authorities. As you can appreciate the highly social environment that is the fabric of the RA community, our large facility, popular programs and services do not lend well to these types of restrictions. Senior staff are working on this to chart the way forward to ramp up to serviceability. Look for an update next week on what we see as the first stage of our return to operations.
Upon re-opening, the RA will be different, that much we do know but our community of members, partners, volunteers and staff will remain the heart of the Association.
Thank you for your support during this difficult time. We look forward to seeing you soon!
• CEO UPDATE – Thursday, May 28, 2020
Dear RA Community,
I hope that this correspondence finds you, your family and loved ones well at this time. At the risk of stating the obvious, these are precarious times for our community including the RA. At the time of writing, the organization has been shuttered for over 10 weeks. Thank you all for your ongoing patience and support during this time. The RA Board of Directors, our senior team and I are focused on the planning to bring the operations back in a prudent, slow and methodical manner. We anticipate that this recovery will take a considerable length of time.
It is for that reason, I write to you today. The RA was in the concluding phase of a nomination period for the RA Board of Directors when the decision was made to cease our operations due to the pandemic. It is our plan to delay the election until such time as our operations have been successfully resumed and our organization has made its way through what is anticipated to be a very difficult financial recovery. A new nomination period will commence once we have reached that stage, allowing RA members to consider serving on the Board prior to the new election. In order to maintain continuity of decision-making and corporate knowledge through this challenging time the Board of Directors, just last evening (Wednesday, May 27, 2020) voted unanimously in support of extending their mandates in order to assist us through the crisis. At this point, we would anticipate holding an election for the Board of Directors at some time in the first six months of 2021.
Barring an extended continuation of the emergency we will hold an Annual General Meeting in the Fall of 2020 (without election) and will follow up with another AGM in the Spring of 2021.
Like most not-for-profit organizations, a scenario like this pandemic and operational shut down was never contemplated or provided for in our current by-laws. In the spirit of transparency with our members, we felt compelled to communicate this necessary decision immediately.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this decision, please contact me at email@example.com. I will, of course, continue to post CEO updates as we manage through this challenging period.
Stay safe and well. We look forward to seeing you again!
• MESSAGE TO RA MEMBERS – April 29, 2020
Dear RA Family,
We are committed to doing everything possible to secure the future of the RA in these unprecedented times and we are all grateful for the continued patience, trust and on-going support many of you have expressed.
We are happy to release a new message from our Chief Executive Officer Tosha Rhodenizer. We have been temporarily closed for 45 days. Please take a moment to share with your contacts and all levels of government. Click here to watch.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this evolving and challenging situation. We look forward to when we can safely reopen our doors and welcome our RA community back – Stronger Together.
Please take care of yourselves, each other and be well.
CEO Message - April 29, 2020
RA Chief Executive Officer Tosha Rhodenizer gives an update on the RA and the RA family – 45 days into our temporary closure. Click here to watch.
• MESSAGE TO RA MEMBERS – April 9, 2020
Dear RA Community,
I hope this email finds you and your loved ones safe and well in these turbulent times. Our combined efforts of maintaining physical distance while complying with other Public Health Agency of Canada recommendations will hopefully minimize the impact of this pandemic in our community.
Once again, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to those of you who contributed to the RA Staff Hardship fund. These desperately needed funds have helped bridge our staff to the government support that has been offered. You have made a real difference for a number of our families. Thank you also for all of the messages of support and encouragement that you continue to send to myself and our team. I am pleased to report that early renewals of a number of our clubs and activities continue and speak loudly of the character of our membership.
As we approach the long weekend we are concluding our fourth week of shutdown. This is by far the most challenging time in the history of this organization. Our focus at this time is to maintain the safety and security of the building and campus while planning for the ramp-up of our operations. In the spirit of commencing operations, I am very pleased to announce that the badminton and archery roof will be replaced over the next two (2) months. We have successfully secured debt financing to proceed with that needed work. We continue to closely watch all financial support initiatives in the hopes that our Not-For-Profit continues to proudly serve each of you well into the future.
I hope that you all enjoy this upcoming weekend and can do so in the presence of your loved ones either virtually or in person (where allowed of course).
We would love to know how you are doing! Feel free to share how you are staying healthy and active as well as your physical distancing ideas and stories on social media. Please be sure to tag us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so we can share.
Stay safe and well. We look forward to seeing you again!
• Important update on the RA's Board of Directors Call for Candidates, Election and Annual General Meeting
Due to increased concerns and the ever changing environment due to the Coronavirus COVID-19, the Recreation Association of the Public Service of Canada (the RA) has announced that the RA Board of Directors Call for Candidates period has been extended (date to be determined) and the subsequent Election period has been postponed (date to be determined).
Since our initial communication on this on March 2, 2020, the situation of COVID-19 has been rapidly evolving. The number of infections has increased substantially worldwide, leading to further restrictions regarding the hosting of events and gatherings by public health authorities. In order to decrease transmission of COVID-19, Ottawa Public Health is recommending that all residents of Ottawa practice social distancing which includes the cancellation of meetings and group gatherings.
In light of this recommendation, the RA’s Annual General Meeting, which was scheduled for April 30, 2020, has been postponed (new date to be determined).
We would like to thank all of our members and supporters for your cooperation and understanding during this time. Despite this difficult situation, we appreciate your support and are working hard to ensure the future of our not-for-profit association.
• MESSAGE TO RA MEMBERS – Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Dear RA Members,
As you are aware, the RA made the difficult decision to suspend operations as of the end of business Sunday, March 15, 2020. These are extraordinary circumstances and our organization continues to work through the various implications to our staff, volunteers, members and community.
We know that the next number of weeks will raise many questions and place significant strain on many individuals, businesses and organizations – and the RA is no exception.
As expected, the RA is receiving several questions and inquiries about our programs, services and operations. We are diligently working through these messages, but please note we are currently operating with very minimal staff on a reduced schedule. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.
Once we return to regular operations, the RA will be reviewing and reconciling accounts for the interruption in service. We will communicate more on this at that time.
The RA Leadership team is taking all required actions to ensure the health and safety of our staff, members and RA community and to help ensure the future of our not-for-profit Association. This has resulted in significant actions, including major reductions to our workforce through temporary lay-offs. Please know that not one of these decisions has been easy.
For this reason, we respectfully ask that if possible in the spirit of the RA value “Stronger Together” you consider leaving your account “as is” with no adjustment, renew your membership or register now for summer programs in a united effort to mitigate the serious financial strain that these unprecedented times have placed on our not-for-profit Association.
We also know that many of our staff members will struggle to make ends meet during this temporary lay-off. We have set-up an RA Staff Hardship Fund campaign on GoFundMe in order to collect funds to directly help staff members in need. Through the generosity of our RA community, we will be able to “Give Back” and help ensure that members of our team are able to focus on what is really important, staying healthy, by reducing their worry on the necessities of their households.
This past week has been incredibly difficult for our entire RA community – members, staff and volunteers. We are truly blessed to be part of such a caring and compassionate community and we appreciate every message and show of support that we have and continue to receive. Please know that we are working diligently to ensure that we will have our beloved RA to return to once we emerge from this crisis "Stronger Together".
We hope you are remaining safe, supported and healthy. We look forward to seeing you again!
• CEO Message - March 26, 2020
RA CEO Tosha Rhodenizer gives an update on the RA and the RA family – one week later – and highlights the urgent need for the three levels of government to step-up and help not-for-profits and charities. Click here to watch.
• CEO Message - March 19, 2020
If you have not already taken the time to watch, we encourage you to view the March 19 message from RA CEO Tosha Rhodenizer. Click to view.