So what do you think is the biggest myth about the Old Ottawa South Community Association?
Most of the people I talk to in the neighbourhood think that OSCA is funded by the City of Ottawa. Here is the reality.
The City owns the Firehall and is responsible for the maintenance of the building. The City, however, does not cover the operational costs. Operational costs include: staff wages; instructor fees; program supplies; the equipment in the Fitness Centre; the pottery wheel and kiln; Amilia (the new program registration system); the website; computers; communication services; furniture; replacing kitchen appliances; etc.
Let me be clear: OSCA is grateful to the City for everything it provides. There is a long, legal document outlining OSCA’s Service Delivery Agreement with the City. OSCA considers the agreement to be a fair deal.
Essentially, OSCA is a small, not-for-profit business. OSCA provides fee- based programs for children and adults including: before and after-school programs; PD Day programs; summer camps; educational programs; and, programs relating to sports, fitness, arts and recreation.
OSCA also provides a variety of free, volunteer-based, community services: advocacy (Planning and Zoning, Traffic and Safety, Seniors Watch, etc.); and local community information (the OSCAR newspaper, the News Between the Bridges weekly newsletter, the OSCA website, social media channels, etc.).
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, OSCA has managed to continue operating without laying-off staff mainly because of the Canada Employment Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and operational reserves which OSCA has set aside over the years.
This autumn, OSCA will be delivering a suite of virtual programs on a fee basis. We anticipate making some money to help defer some of our expenses, however, we do not anticipate large revenues.
OSCA is also planning to return to in-person programming once we have all the necessary approvals and can provide safe programming for the people we serve. The COVID-19 rules for re-opening require, for example: smaller enrolment sizes and more staff; extra cleaning; disinfectants; PPE; etc. In short, program costs will increase significantly and OSCA anticipates running programs at a loss. [...]
I want to assure you that the OSCA Board and staff are facing this COVID-19 situation realistically; there is no panic. We are working hard to ensure that OSCA gets to the other side of this pandemic in the best possible shape. We promise to keep you informed and to ask for help as needed.
I hope you have a great day.
This is a slightly modified excerpt from the President's Report originally published in the September 2020 OSCAR.