March 29, 2020
The Honourable William Morneau, Minister of Finance
Canadian Department of Finance
90 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A OG5
Dear Honourable Bill Morneau:
I am writing you as the President of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), a not-for-profit association currently based at the University of New Brunswick. Founded in 1957, ACCUTE promotes the studying and teaching of English language, literatures, and other cultural material in Canadian colleges and universities. We organize an annual conference held at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, we advocate to improve academic working conditions, and we represent and support the scholarly interests of our members before provincial and federal granting agencies. Our Board of Directors is made up of ten elected members who work in universities and colleges across Canada, and we employ a part-time office coordinator. We have over 400 active members, ranging from graduate students to retired professors, representing all stages of the profession.
On March 12, 2020, you received correspondence from the Canadian Society for Association Executives (CSAE) regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on scholarly associations. This letter respectfully requested the sector receive a portion of the fiscal support announced by the government to address the impacts of COVID-19. ACCUTE stands with the CSAE and agrees with the recommendations they have made to ensure our sector is acknowledged and financially supported during this difficult time.
The implications of cancelled events have had a significant negative impact on the finances of scholarly associations, such as ours. ACCUTE has had to cancel our annual conference, which was scheduled to take place at Western University in London, Ontario from May 30th to June 2nd. As a result, we will lose the registration revenue that that we depend upon, which is drawn from nearly 300 conference attendees and participants. We have also lost out on sponsorship and marketing revenue, which we usually earn by featuring the advertisements of publishers, small presses, and journals in our conference program and in our conference events. We anticipate the losses will continue throughout the year ahead with a drop in our membership numbers, as many people renew in order to attend the conference. We are not alone in being affected by such cancellations, but our not-for-profit status makes it difficult for us to recover after such a monumental loss.
As stated by the CSAE, financial assistance to combat and mitigate the impacts of the outbreak of COVID-19 is greatly needed to protect not-for-profit associations.
CC: Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Chair of Cabinet Committee on COVID-19 Response
Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export, Promotion and International Trade
Honorable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry