New Ontario Cricket Asssociation Constitution explained

27 February 2005

By Errol Townshend, OCA President

I have noticed the chatter in the Forum segment of the website about changes at the Ontario Cricket Association. While it is always entertaining to hear cricket fans, both at the pub and on this website, engage each other, some of the chatter is not always well informed, largely because the organizations themselves provide little information.

By way of background, the OCA has been trying for as long as I can remember -- some 20 years -- to amend its constitution. Finally, a Constitutional Review Committee has come up with a formula that has received unanimous consent from the four Charter Regions of the OCA.

I was not part of that Committee; indeed I have not been part of the OCA Board since those long-ago days of government funding. However, I have been made to understand that the new formula agreed on is modelled on the ICC. There are three tiers of membership: Full (like India), Associate (like Canada) and Affiliate (like Gibraltar). According to the new OCA constitution, the four FULL members are the Charter Members (T&D, Hamilton and District CA, Souther Ontario CA, Ottawa Valley CA).

Leagues can apply to become Associate members in the first instance. Just like any other organization, there are criteria for new members that must be fulfilled. Once they apply, the application is reviewed and a recommendation made to accept or reject the application. If the new Associate membership application is accepted then the new member gets to participate in the OCA championships, attend meetings, voice their opinions but can't vote. Only Full members can.

After being an Associate member for three consecutive years, an Associate member is entitled to apply for Full membership status. I would point out that this time period is far shorter than with the ICC, where you may never become a Full Test playing member, no matter how many years you are an Associate. Again, as one would expect, there are criteria set out for attaining Full membership. In addition, if the Associate league applying for Full Membership has jurisdiction within the geographical area occupied by a Full Member, then the Associate must present with its application a Letter of No Objection from that Full Member. Such a letter may not unreasonably be withheld. If it is, the withholding of it can be appealed.

So much for the constitutional process.

In the good old days of government funding when I was privileged to be 1st Vice President and briefly President, we had all kinds of programs and staff. As was the case with many other volunteer organizations, the elimination of government funding has negatively impacted on those activities.

The OCA currently operates on a shoestring budget. Last year's administrative expenses were less than $100 !!! The plain fact is that the OCA, as is the case with all cricket organizations, is woefully underfunded by the cricketers who enjoy what services are provided, want more and complain if they don't get more ... but don't want to pay more. Familiar story of taxpayers all over the world? You bet. But in the OCA's case, it is frankly ridiculous and I have told my colleagues so privately and publicly, so I'm not telling tales out of school. The annual membership fee paid by Ontario's cricketer for the OCA's administration could not buy a bottle of beer! So it is not just a case of expanding the number of clubs and players. A few more toonies just won't cut it. Fortunately, today most folks have private email. Had this been back in the days of posting letters I don't know how we could survive.

While I firmly believe that OCA should be inclusive of all the players and leagues in Ontario --- as the new constitution now allows --- there are repercussions that need to be addressed. One such is the voting structure at the CCA level. Ontario, now with the largest number of clubs, currently has 4 votes to B.C.'s 3, with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick 1 each. It is my understanding that even if Ontario doubles the number of clubs, it will still have the same 4 votes. All this while, the Greater Toronto Area with far more clubs than all the other provinces combined, would have no direct voice or vote at the CCA.

This is an anomaly that needs to be worked out.

The other stumbling block, which remained a sore point when the Commonwealth League was an OCA member years ago, was the T&D's view that the new members in the GTA should make a financial contribution to the upkeep of the King City facility. I leave it to the T&D to flesh out their arguments on this.

Any suggestion that anyone is being kept out of the OCA on grounds of race or national origin is totally unfounded. This president would never be a party to any form of discrimination. But processes and constitutions, worked out painstakingly over many years, have to be observed and I would be just as opposed to any short-circuiting of them.

I hope all of the above helps to add some light to the heat of the discussion.

Errol Townshend
President, OCA