Minister describes volunteers as ‘social fabric’ of communities
Volunteers are key contributors to the success of government and organizations such as regional economic development boards like the Mariner Resource Opportunities Network (M-RON), the province’s minister of Intergovernmental Affairs told a Carbonear audience late last month.
Dave Denine was guest speaker for M-RON’s annual general meeting held Oct. 28 at Fong’s.
Acknowledging that, “being on a board like yours can take up a lot of time and energy, with very little thanks from the community,” the minister responsible for the volunteer and non-profit sector, said he wants to “change the level of recognition for our volunteers.”
Describing volunteers as the “social fabric of our communities,” the minister said, “volunteers and community organizations are vital to our quality of life.”
Travelling around the province with the voluntary and nonprofit secretariat, the Mount Pearl MHA said he attended meetings organized by the rural secretariat’s regional councils. “We met with community leaders to give them an opportunity to meet the minister who represents their interests in government.”
They explained their challenges and successes and talked about issues such as insurance; frustrations with accessing information and financial resources, and the demographic pressures on their organizations.
Denine noted the sessions also gave him the opportunity to ask them how to reach young people in their communities.
“We wanted to find out how we could help and what government could do better. The results have (already) been communicated back to the participants and will be published when we have visited every rural secretariat region. The advice and observations have helped us set priorities and will guide our planning over the coming years.” Remarkable numbers Approximately 197,000 volunteers contribute 35 million hours of valuable unpaid time to their communities and community organizations. Volunteer and non-profit organizations also employ almost 23,000 paid workers.
Describing those figures as “remarkable,” Denine said, “strengthening the relationship with the sector and ensuring the people who work and volunteer with community organizations get the recognition they deserve,” are just a couple of his priorities as minister.
Pointing out a large portion of these volunteers and paid workers serve on regional economic development boards, like M-RON, Denine commended them “on your tremendous contribution,” and encouraged them to “continue doing the great work that RED (regional economic development) boards do.” Labour Market Study Besides its annual report, M-RON also released its 99-page Labour Market Study. The “Labour Market and Human Resources Analysis 2008-’09” gave an overview of the current state of labour market conditions in the Trinity Conception region.
Outgoing board chairman, Clyde D. Wells noted: “While the region’s economy remains strong and business investment continues to grow, our Labour Market Study depicts the need for planning to fill upcoming vacancies in the various sectors throughout the region.”
Referring to a “major shift in our labour market activities,” Wells pointed out, “while employment opportunities have increased tremendously, we continue to lose many of our younger residents.
“While it appears the economic downturn seems to be in recovery..., we are still being directly affected by the labour market situation in Alberta where wages are extremely high and job opportunities are plentiful.”
As he nears the end of his own term as chairman, Wells told the new incoming board he looks forward to helping them out in any way he can.