Regional Restructuring in Ontario

Busy Building Tomorrow
Bulletin #1

Effective September 2002, changes to the way that Scouting’s programs are managed and delivered within the Province of Ontario and the Regions will be implemented.


Membership in the Scouting movement continues to decline at an alarming rate. While the movement has the ability to attract new members, retention rates are poor.

The movement has in reality only two real assets; the program itself and the adult volunteers. Administrative details, (the day to day management of assets, risk management issues, compliance to policies, etc.), continues to take up an increasing amount of available /scarce adult volunteer time.

Levels of volunteerism nationally continue to decline resulting in fewer available Leaders and therefore a reduction in one of the movement’s two major assets.

In the fall of 2000, Scouts Canada adopted a governance model of operating which made redundant the previous role of district, regional and provincial councils as local policy boards.

The task at hand is therefore to put in place a structure that will allow us to recruit new members while providing the service and training to adult volunteers that will assist them in delivering the program expectations of the youth. This can only be done once an adequate level of service is in place to improve communication and support the adult volunteer while at the same time re-deploying this limited asset to best serve the youth.


1. The main focus of the movement’s key human resource asset will be:

- Program delivery will be the responsibility of volunteers supported by staff.
- Administration in support of program delivery will be the responsibility of staff supported by volunteers.

2. The Region will be comprised of a number of Service Areas each supported by an Area Commissioner and Service Team. There will no longer be any Districts as we know them today.

3. Service Teams through the Group Chair and the new position of Group Scouter will ensure the effective delivery of Scouting in the local community. The Group Scouter will provide the link between each Group and the Area Commissioner on all program issues.

4. The Regional Commissioner will be the senior volunteer within the Region and will be responsible for the appointment of Area Commissioners and their Regional Deputy Commissioners along with the Regional Treasurer/Chair Finance Committee. In turn, Area Commissioners will be responsible for appointing their Deputy Area Commissioners for:

- Service & Program Delivery
- Volunteer Development & Training
- Membership Development & Growth
- Group Support
- Honours & Awards

5. As a result of the preceding changes the administration and accountability for all assets currently managed by Districts will be the responsibility of Staff at the Regional level.


Rather than leaving key questions that you may have “up in the air” several are covered below and we will keep you up to date with further bulletins over the coming months.

What does this all mean to my Group?

In the very near future Groups will be provided with a job description for a Group Scouter and asked for their assistance in identifying potential candidates for this role which is appointed by the Area Commissioner. Starting in September, individual Groups and Section Leaders should see an increased level of servicing and communications – other than that, it will be “business as usual.”

What happens to existing District

The Province is currently developing guidelines to deal with the retention or disbursement of district funds at the end of this current fiscal year. These guidelines will be addressing both general funds and special funds which may be designated for camp development as an example. They will also address the disbursement of other district assets.

What happens to District sponsored events?

The delivery of Scouts Canada programs will continue to be the responsibility of the Groups. Events that support the delivery of qualify youth programs will continue to run. The Area Service Team will be responsible for coordinating, section specific and other events based on support from the groups. Where such events take place, Groups will provide volunteers to help plan and conduct them.

What happens to District camps and the volunteers who manage them?

The Region will centrally manage all current District camps however the volunteers that now serve on camp committees or look after camps will still be needed. They will be accountable to the Council Executive Director under the new structure.

I’m currently a District Council member - will there still be a place for me in Scouting?

There will always be a place in the movement for Scouters with a positive attitude to Scouting and the time to offer to our youth. These changes are designed to re-deploy ourselves through Region and Area Service Teams to better serve youth where they meet to Scout.

Are Service Areas the same as current Areas within the Region?

Service Areas expand on the current Area format. Area Deputy Commissioners will now provide the required support for their areas of responsibility such as Group support or Volunteer Training etc. rather than only the existing Commissioner and Area Forum Chair. As such, it is expected that individual Groups within current Areas will experience a significant increase in communications and support.

Why didn’t we have any say in this?

Policy within Scouts Canada is now set by the National Governance Board, (comprised of 23 volunteers from across the country). All other levels are charged with delivering the program. Many of the changes covered in this update are a result of the Millennium Report and the subsequent input that was received.

It is within the mandate of the Provincial body to restructure itself to ensure that the delivery of the Scouting program can be maximized. To this end, all existing Provincial, Regional and District By-laws will be rescinded in April of this year (effective August 31st) to be replaced by operating procedures as of September 1st.

Who contributed to this plan and why change now?

A task force comprised of Provincial, Regional and District Scouters with input and concepts drawn from other Provinces that have undergone similar changes developed the recommended Province wide structure change. The changes were also done in consultation with the National Governance Board.

Changes must be made now while there is still time to reverse declining membership.The Area Service concept and Group Scouters will permit a better way of communicating, servicing and delivering of the Scouting program through the removal of a council layer and the re-deployment of available adult volunteers.

What Next?

We're committed to keeping you up to date as work toward implementing these changes. Watch for Bulletin #2 for more information.