2015 AGM-CKO Governance Model

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CKO Governance Review: A Proposed Governance Model

Canoe Kayak Ontario has proposed a new model of governance. The link below is the report of CKO's Organizational Review Committee. The report is the result of an in-depth review of the current organizational model used by Canoe Kayak Ontario of which Whitewater Ontario is one of three affiliates. I have summarized the document in a way that I hope will assist you in understanding and supporting the proposal. 

CKO is the umbrella organization responsible for applying for Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport Base and Priority Funding and the redistribution of these funds on a membership based formula. Each affiliate – Sprint, Whitewater, and Marathon - independently manage their own programs and financial expenditures.

The CKO Board passed a motion in late August requesting that each affiliate present this proposal to its membership for review and approval at their respective AGM’s. 

The review was requested by the CKO board (including WO representatives) in September 2013 with the goal of identifying a more efficient organizational model. Whitewater Ontario has representation on the CKO Board as well as on the Governance Review Committee.


Why is this important to WO?

WO receives its funding from CKO which in return receives it from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport. While the funding we receive from the Ministry is due to the competitive canoe slalom program within WO, our total membership is accounted for when base funding applications are made. Other funding sources to the Ministry also include Quest for Gold which provides financial support to competitive slalom athletes. 

Having been on the CKO Board for a many years, I can attest to the inefficiencies of the current model of governance and the 'siloization' of the three disciplines. With resources to support paddling so tight, we need to ensure that we are working collaboratively with the other two disciplines in order to maximize our opportunities. The current model does not encourage this.

The report provides an abundance of information for all WO members about the current situation including identified constraints, and a proposed model that will help CKO find a better way to support all paddlers.


What are the major benefits of changing the CKO Governance model?

There are a number of benefits to our acceptance of the new model. These include:

1. Collaboration across disciplines to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of staff and volunteer training (coach, officials, leadership volunteers); 

2. Improved Ministry perception of organizational effectiveness leading to potentially  increased funding support;

3. Reduced overall number of governance volunteers, decreased duplication of effort and increased ability to focus on the “real work” (i.e. sport operations); 

4. Improved overall promotion and marketing of paddle sport in a joint/cooperative way

5. Improved joint advocacy efforts for river/water access and other causes; 

6.  A unified strategic plan and rationalized, coherent policies improving the administrative effectiveness of the organization


How does Whitewater Ontario benefit?

Continuation of a stable funding source is essential for WO. The governance model has a number of committees which are common to all three councils such as high performance, events, and development. The CKO Development committee provides an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in developing recreational paddling a voice at the table. The recreational and competitive communities will have further opportunities to work together to promote an important inter-disciplinary approach to paddlesports. This benefits all of us.


What about the Preserve? 

Nothing changes at the Preserve. Future grants may come available that CKO/WO can use to maintain and improve existing conditions on the Preserve e.g. trail maintenance. Part of the proposal states: "it must protect the assets of the individual affiliates and allow them to retain control over those assets"  (i.e. the Preserve, the Roger Parsons Centre, boats and equipment).


What is driving the change?

Agreement by leaders including WO representatives that CKO is a necessary organization, mandated by the Ministry which has indicated its desire to deal with a single organization representing paddle sports in Ontario.

Canoe Kayak Ontario must be in compliance with and represent good practice within the new Ontario Not for Profit Act (ONCA).

Changes to Canoe Kayak Canada governance necessitated by the Canadian Not-for Profit Act requires CKO to consider how to match the CKC model. While not compulsory under ONCA that Ontario's structure match's CKC, it needs to fit so that Ontario is not disadvantaged in any way.

Recognition by CKO leaders from all three affiliates that even without the above driving forces, the umbrella organization operates inefficiently with duplication, redundancy, and a lack of common focus and mutually supportive goals.

What about river advocacy?

WO's efforts in river advocacy are well known by both Sprint and Marathon. Our efforts have been highlighted on a regular basis and the recognition from the other affiliates has heightened their own lack of awareness about river preservation. Historically neither Sprint or Marathon exercised any effort in advocacy areas. In the model, all three Councils have a Communications and Advocacy component with the other affiliates looking to WO's experience and expertise to lead CKO Advocacy initiatives.


What do Whitewater Ontario members need to do?

Each affiliate is bringing forward the new governance model to their respective affiliate AGM's as we will do on Saturday, November 14th. Those who have registered for the AGM will be able to vote on the proposal. It is a good idea to read the document and send questions to Donna at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

This is a proposal that is not going to dramatically change  the operations of Whitewater Ontario. It will certainly help us in the pursuit of funding opportunities and access to other resources which will help improve our ability to support all paddlers.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this proposal. We hope many of you will be able to attend the AGM in person or online.


Jim Tayler


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