Charting our course


In the December issue, our Chairman, Bob Kirkby, provided a report on the development of a strategic plan and our new mission statement to help focus our efforts for the future. I would now like to highlight some of our efforts that are flowing from the strategic plan.

Our mission statement is: COPA protects Personal Aviation and promotes it as a valued, integral and sustainable part of the Canadian Community.

The focus is on not only our traditional role of defending your freedom to fly but also educating the other members of the aviation industry, politicians and the public at large about the importance of our sector of aviation to Canada; as a mode of transportation as well as a component of our quality of life.

In my international dealings with other pilot associations, I realize how privileged we are in the freedoms we still have and I also realize how important it is to ensure the politicians and the public do not take actions that not only limit our freedom but detract from what it is to be a Canadian.

With this mission in mind, a number of objectives were developed by your Board of Directors:

Membership Services - COPA will provide timely, accessible services and assistance that meet the needs as valued by the members.

Influencing Governments - COPA will be proactively influential in representing the membership’s interests within the political context with all levels of government.

The Voice - COPA will be the strong, recognized and credible voice for personal aviation in Canada.

Regulatory Issues - COPA will promote realistic processes and practical approaches to develop, understand and interpret rules and regulations that apply to personal aviation.

Advocacy - COPA will raise public awareness and increase understanding of complex issues facing personal aviation.

Engage and Empower the Membership - COPA will engage and empower its membership to champion issues of importance to the organization.

International Intelligence - COPA will monitor trends and selectively exert pressure to influence the processes that determine international issues and communicate the importance of these issues to the Canadian aviation community.

Some of these objectives are focused internally. For example, Membership Services is on the top of the list. Above all else, we must ensure that we are delivering what our members want. This is why we are in the final stages of preparing a survey that will seek you input.

The survey has been developed with a consultant in order to ensure that it produces valid results from which we will make changes as required.

There will be some changes to the newspaper and our website as we better balance the information flow against the costs of providing information. We realize the value of the newspaper but we also want to address increasing postage costs and take maximum advantage of the power of the internet.

The other internal objective is Engage and Empower the Membership. In order to relieve the pressure on significant dues increases, we must remain primarily a volunteer organization, dependent on members to multiply the efforts of our small staff.

But while the pressure continues to grow across the country with issues that require a response, our busy society provides less time now than ever for volunteer effort. Finding the correct balance of staff and volunteers as well as picking our battles will be key tasks.

All other objectives involve looking outward. Whether it is educating a neighbour about your right to have an aerodrome, dealing with government on regulations or keeping an eye on international developments that may have an impact on Canadian aviation, we must position our resources to ensure that those who could affect our sector of aviation understand the ramifications of their actions or decisions.

It is much more than protecting your freedom to fly; it is also about the role we play in connecting Canada together. With more than 5,000 places to land and only a few hundred served by the airlines and charter services, our role is huge.

Limited financial resources and a small staff prevent immediate action to fully address all of the objectives. My task is to prioritize the strategies and tactics that flow from these objectives, to match resources with high priority items, and prepare for future commitments.

As we start a new year, we have a new plan and lots of work to do as we chart our course for the future.