President’s Report, By Scott Sears
Hello fellow Trappers.
I hope everyone had a successful trapping season. This is an election year for the OFMF Board and I would like to thank all of the outgoing Directors and Assistants for all your time and dedication to the OFMF. I enjoyed working with you all. I would also like to congratulate the new Directors and Assistants coming on board and welcome you to the Board. I look forward to working with you all in the upcoming year.
The 2020 season got off to a great start. I was able to attend some Trappers Council workshops – Aylmer District Trappers’ & Minden Fur Harvesters in January, Lindsay District Fur Harvesters in February, and the Northwestern Trappers’ Convention in Thunder Bay in March and then everything came to an abrupt halt due to COVID-19. This is likely one of the biggest lifetime experiences most of us will ever witness.
I am sure most of you are aware that after a Board call discussion, the OFMF Board decided to regretfully cancel the Sioux Lookout AGM this August. The OFMF would like to thank Lori Lamond and the Sioux Lookout Trappers’ Council for all their hard work in preparing the events, this made the decision to cancel that much harder.
The OFMF is working on having an AGM in the near future to provide our Constitutional obligation to the Members. This pandemic has led to Zone Meetings and Elections being cancelled and these have to be completed prior holding an AGM. Once we are able to gather in big enough groups, we will inform all members of when this can take place with location and dates.
This pandemic is also holding up any ERO’s in all Government, not just the MNRF, which includes the Trapline Allocation Policy. Ontario Government staff are working from home and can’t go into the office to receive any ERO responses that may be sent in by mail. So, all issues are on hold until they are able to return to their offices and compile all needed information to make decisions.
The OFMF staff has been work sharing, between working at home and alternating days working in the office to ensure they are staying safe while keeping the day to day operations of the OFMF running. The OFMF has been able, through these circumstances, to keep up our obligations to the MNRF and meet the requirements of our agreement. The OFMF Executive will keep working with MNRF the best we can with conference calls through these tough times. As of June 1st, the office has opened with the province’s COVID guidelines in place.
With all this going on with COVID-19, now we are facing the possible gun ban. The OFMF has signed onto a letter to help fight against the gun ban with Safari Club International. We can only hope this will come out in our favor.
Everyone has had to make difficult decisions throughout these times, including Fur Harvesters postponing fur sales and fur pickups. After holding an online sale and treaty sales, this has made room for trappers to send more fur to the warehouse and set up dates and times for them to do another fur pickup run. “A job well done” to Mark Downey at Fur Harvesters for keeping the light on at the end of the tunnel through this pandemic.
I hope everyone stays safe and healthy. We can make it through this.