Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

While my regular posts have been ''business type'', I'm hoping all of you out there have been able to take a moment aside to appreciate the finer points in things. Namely; family, friends and the companionship of those you love. Until my next blog to all of you, my best wishes to all for a happy holiday season!

Stay safe!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

This month's department profile: Canada Border Services Agency

The CBSA administers more than 90 acts, regulations and international agreements on behalf of other federal departments and agencies, the provinces and the territories.

Among them are:

* Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act
* Canada Agricultural Products Act
* Citizenship Act
* Criminal Code
* Customs Act
* Customs Tariff
* Excise Act
* Excise Act, 2001
* Export and Import Permits Act
* Feeds Act
* Fertilizers Act
* Fish Inspection Act
* Food and Drugs Act
* Health of Animals Act
* Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
* Meat Inspection Act
* Plant Protection Act
* Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act
* Seeds Act
* Special Import Measures Act

Since December 2003, the CBSA has been an integral part of the Public Safety Portfolio, which was created to protect Canadians and maintain a peaceful and safe society. The President of the CBSA reports directly to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) - Stockwell Day, and controls and manages all matters relating to the Agency. Alain Jolicoeur is the President of the Agency.

Ok...so you may be thinking so what?

In an era where trade is ever more dependant on free flowing borders, those who monitor Ottawa would be wise to pay close attention to the agency. In fact, if one pays any attention at all to what's going on in world trade these days, security appears to be topping the list in terms of legislative priorities here in Canada and in the US. In political terms, the Conservatives are pressed to show that they can deal with the Americans and move their trade issues ahead in Washington. For this to happen, Minister Day needs to show that security is a Canadian priority.

It's a juggling act that I wouldn't wish on too many. That being said, for the practice of government relations, where there are juggling acts...there exists a definte need to add finesse and skill. CBSA is holding a series of consultations. Three of the current consultations are as follows:

Border Commercial Consultative Committee
Provides CBSA officials and commercial stakeholders with a forum for dialogue on Canada's border operations. The purpose of these consultations, in general terms, is to promote mutually beneficial collaboration between the CBSA and the Canadian commercial trade community on border matters to the benefit of Canada, the Canadian economy and Canada's trade sector. The committee's most recent hearing was on May 9, 2006.

Canada Border Services Advisory Committee
Provides independent advice and serves as a sounding board on major trends and developments that may affect the management of Canada's border, as well as the priorities, business and operations of the CBSA. The committee's most recent hearing was on April 26, 2006.

Fairness Initiative
The CBSA has launched a consultation process to ensure that Canadians and visitors to Canada are treated fairly and can expect to receive the best possible service when crossing the border and in all other dealings with the CBSA. This Initiative includes a series of proposed commitments on how people should expect to be treated by the CBSA. The CBSA will start consulting immediately with clients and stakeholders, including members of the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security and Ethno-cultural communities, in order to obtain their feedback. These consultations will be conducted across the country until the fall. The CBSA wants to ensure its clients' views and perceptions are taken into consideration in the development of a comprehensive, unbiased and transparent Fairness Initiative.

Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly public affairs newsletter by visiting www.action-strategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.

Story telling for NGOs: The key to winning GR success

By Jennifer Bradd

Today, it seems everyone is telling stories: on talk shows, on the Internet, and for hours and hours with cheap long distance rates. Missing from this information cacophony are the voices that sing the stories of the people who are working for a common good in the charitable sector.

Whether your charity advocates human rights, solar-powered energy, or affordable social housing, you play a vital role in Canada’s economy and contribute to the development of our civil society. Here are four reasons to make a commitment to telling your charity’s story:

To put (and keep) your issue on the public agenda.

Education is the key to raising public awareness about any issue. People cannot act until they care about something. They will not care until they’re informed. Telling the story of your issue or organization is the first step to engaging the public’s interest in it.

To build support, attract members and increase donations to your cause.

By telling your story, you will attract new donors and tap into new networks. You will be educating people and then empowering them to take whatever actions are needed to help you reach your goals: volunteering, writing letters, writing cheques....

To increase the credibility of your organization.

Name recognition will give your organization credibility. People repeatedly return to what they are familiar with, so ensure that they are familiar with your name, slogan, logo and purpose. Share your stories in newsletters, on your website, with reporters and with people in line at the grocery store!

To make sure your story is told in your words.

You are the best person to tell your organization’s story—you have the passion, you
know the facts and you know how you want your listeners to respond. Being proactive,
telling your story before someone else does, will put you in a much stronger position to achieve your organizational goals.

Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly public affairs newsletter by visiting www.action-strategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.