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Continuous Q & A

We will post answers to any questions we receive. This page will continue to be updated as new questions are asked. 


HeadWay/PWP Amalgamation Town Hall Meeting: Questions and Answers

Services

Q.    What services will the new society provide? Are there any services or benefits being discontinued due to the amalgamation?

A.    All services currently provided by both organizations will continue to be offered by the amalgamated entity. These include: exercise programs, education, support groups, and one-on-one and group counselling.

Q.    Will amalgamation allow for additional services?

A.    Eventually, as resources permit, the amalgamation will allow for additional services. Our priority for the immediate future is providing our existing services in the most enthusiastic, professional and effective means possible.

Q.    What will happen to Epilepsy services?

A.    In 2019, Epilepsy BC formally took over the Epilepsy services previously provided by HeadWay. They will be continuing to provide those services post-amalgamation, allowing the amalgamated entity to focus on Parkinson’s-related services.

Governance

Q.    Who will be a voting member in the new organization?

A.    The initial members of the new organization will be its directors. Once the amalgamation is complete, anyone with a connection to either the new society or its predecessors as a person with Parkinson’s, a family member, or a volunteer will be able to apply for an annual membership that will include voting rights.

Q.    Who will be on the Board of the new organization? 

A.    The Boards of both merging organizations will become directors of the new society. At annual general meetings, directors will be elected for terms that will allow for continuity from year to year.

Q.    When will the amalgamation be finalized?

A.    We plan to finalize as soon as the Canada Revenue Agency approves the new society as a registered charity. For various reasons CRA is behind and this may take a few months.

Q.    What is the name of the new organization?

A.    The name of the new organization has changed slightly to “Parkinson Wellness Projects” which underscores the wider range of services that are available. The PWP brand and logo were established in 2017, and both Boards agree that this branding effectively showcases all of our combined services.

Staffing

Q.    How do the staff of the organizations feel about the amalgamation? A. We have already begun integrating services, and staff have indicated that they look forward to dealing with the challenges faced by persons with Parkinson’s in a holistic fashion.

Q.    What will happen to the staff at HeadWay?

A.    At present, HeadWay is staffed by two people. The position of Parkinson’s Client and Family Care Manager will be continued with the new agency. The Executive Director position will be phased out.

Premises

Q.    Where will services be provided?

A.    Most of our services will be provided at the PWP Centre at Hillside and Blanshard, including many of our exercise classes, workshops and seminars, counseling services, and support groups. We will continue to offer services at our existing satellite locations and will be providing counselling at locations of our clients’ choice, including in-home support.

Q.    What will happen to HeadWay’s office space?

A.    The HeadWay office lease expires in October 2021, and the plan is not to renew it.

Financial

Q.    What will be the overall financial position and costs of the amalgamated entity?

A.    Merging our organizations will provide a substantial financial benefit, especially with regards to greatly reduced rent and administration costs compared to the two organizations separately. We have been told that there is currently market confusion from our existing and potential donors. Promoting ourselves as the one entity serving the Parkinson’s community in Victoria will improve our position with donors and funding agencies, and allow us to expand our donor base and improve our revenue.

Q.    Will the amalgamation with HeadWay weaken PWP’s financial position?

A.    Because of the financial benefits to the amalgamation, we do not believe that PWP’s overall financial position will be negatively impacted. In addition, HeadWay brings to the amalgamation a substantial bequest in the order of $300,000 to be settled in 2021, and likely will be bringing additional bequests in the future, given its 34-year history serving the Victoria Parkinson’s community.

Q.    What is the cost of the amalgamation (both in $ and time)?

A.    The amalgamation is being planned and executed by representatives from both Boards, who meet weekly to keep the process moving along, and who are contributing significant amounts of volunteer time to the exercise. There will be some legal costs, but they are not likely to exceed $10,000. We are currently seeking funding from private granting sources to ease these costs further.

Additional questions arising from the Town Hall meeting

Q.    What is the basis for the criteria for membership of the society?

A.    The view of both Boards is that decisions that affect the governance, management, service offerings and finances of the society should be made by those who are affected by Parkinson’s disease, are connected with persons who are, or who demonstrate interest through volunteering.  As a result of a question at the Town Hall meeting, an additional criterion has been added to include founding Board members of the two amalgamating organizations.  This will recognize the enduring role the founders can play in the future of the new organization.

Q.    Can you distinguish “membership” from eligibility to participate in the society’s programs?

A.    Members will be entitled to attend and vote at the general meetings of the society.  They will be able to debate and vote on matters such as election of directors and other matters that the Board considers (or the Societies Act requires) should be put to the membership.  On the other hand, participation in programs, be they exercise classes, workshops or support groups, will continue to be available to all those who meet the requirements of each particular program.  For example, some programs are widely available, while others are specifically designed for people with restricted mobility.

Q.    Why does clause 2.10 of the draft bylaws require approval of the Board for a member to inspect the society’s records?

A.    The purpose of this restriction is to ensure that information contained in the society’s records is not disseminated outside the society.  For example, Board minutes should contain a complete and unexpurgated record of the proceedings at a meeting.  This restriction is not intended to limit a member’s access to information.  Rather, it is intended to ensure that any member who wishes to view society records is required to maintain its confidentiality by, for example, signing a non-disclosure agreement. 

Q.    Why isn’t the new organization going to allow proxy voting?

A.    Proxy voting allows a member to assign their vote to another member.  The new Societies Act allows proxy voting only when a society’s bylaws specifically provide for it. Under the previous Act proxy voting was the default.  The change reflects the prevailing view that it is preferable for members to attend meetings and listen to the debate before casting their ballot.  While this can potentially cause difficulties for people with advanced disease, the availability of new electronic means to hold meetings should allow broad participation.  As such, we do not plan to allow proxy voting, at least initially.