Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The RAC Kerfuffle

By now most of you will have read, or heard, of the kerfuffle going on between RAC and the Emergency Communications Ontario Association (ECOA).

The birth of ECOA was brought about by the recent change to the RAC
national liability insurance policy whereby non-affiliated clubs are no longer eligible to gain access to the RAC insurance policy, and the individual members of those non-affiliated clubs are also no longer eligible to access the RAC insurance policy. So ECOA was setup in order to allow for individuals and non-affiliated groups to access the RAC insurance program by having ECOA become a RAC affiliated club.

I must point out that gaining access to RAC insurance was not the only reason ECOA was formed.  They have managed to bring together, in a remarkably short time period, many emergency organizations in Ontario, such as the Salvation Army, Red Cross, and the St. John Ambulance.  In fact if you look at who ECOA's Directors are you will note that they come from these organizations, including a Director appointed from the EMO.  What a great thing to see, the very people who will need our emergency communications support serving as directors.  Ever see that happen in RAC?

One must ask the question that if the restriction being enforced that a club must be a RAC affiliate to gain insurance coverage, and that an individual must belong to an affiliated club to gain insurance coverage, has been imposed by the insurer, why would RAC agree to such a stupid requirement?

Anyway, you've probably guessed by now that RAC has thrown a hissy fit and has refused to accept ECOA as an affiliate, and has refused them insurance coverage as well. Nice one eh? And here I thought RAC was supposed to be encouraging new membership!

Just think about how many clubs across this country are not incorporated
and therefore not able to be a "RAC affiliated club" and therefore are
not eligible to have club insurance? Incorporation costs money and a
lot of clubs can't afford it, nor do they have the membership base to
support it. What about them? Why are they being disenfranchised?

How many hams are members of clubs who are not RAC affiliated clubs and
are now not eligible to have RAC insurance coverage? The other side of
the coin is not every ham wishes to belong to a club, affiliated or not,
so why should they be penalized?

In my ARES District we have four ARES groups. Two of those groups are
not incorporated, and are no longer eligible to get RAC insurance either
for their group or for their individual members. Is it fair to ask ARES members to react to an emergency, yet allow RAC to deny them insurance coverage to do so? 

The big question here is does RAC have a legal duty to protect us when we are called out?  If they have already authorised the formation of an ARES group, and that group is not that is not a requirement to form a new group, surely we should be grandfathered under the new rules?  Because let me tell you, if I'm called out and I get injured, the first two people I intend to sue is the President of RAC and the VP Field Services for voting to deny me RAC insurance coverage, even though I'm operating in a RAC authorized ARES group.

RAC touts itself as the "Canadian National Organization" and that it "represents Canadian amateurs".  It doesn't.  RAC actually represents ALL Canadian amateurs, RAC members or not, and if it will not do that, or accept that fact, then they cannot be the national representative for amateur radio in this country.  Think about it - you represent everyone or nobody, you can't pick or chose - does Industry Canada only ask them questions about hams who are RAC members, or are the actual issues being discussed of national interest and ones that effect every ham in this country?

RAC needs to get its collective head out of its ass and get with the program.  Because sooner or later a group of hams will get together and decide enough is enough, and form a new national association, that WILL represent ALL Canadian amateurs........what a novel thought!

1 comment:

  1. Bob Gammon VA3RX2 August 2011 at 18:25

    Somewhere between heaven and hell is the truth and somewhere in the combative world of RAC/ARES and ECOA lies the delicate balance of politics and the magical mix of mutual cooperation and harmony that will keep ONTARIO the absolute flagship of Emergency
    Communications in Canada.

    For a fresh and accurate perspective, be informed and digest the facts on what has ignited this blend of power, control and ego, for best results let simmer for several years and then stir in a gentle touch of NO leadership followed with a ten gallon drum of total absence of Support and Administrative structure then set aside to cool members
    concerns and you have the exact ingredients to guarantee a volatile fireball and a train wreck that is sure to take its toll on RAC members
    and appointments and degrade the public service value of volunteer providers of Emergency Communications in our great Province. RE-DIRECT to


    Regards, Bob Gammon. VA3RX. Windsor, Ontario