Eesti Abistamiskomitee Kanadas (EAK) juhatus lõi pärast 8. juunil 2011 toimunud korralist aastapeakoosolekut uue vastuvõtukriteeriumi, millest uusi liikmekandidaate informeeriti kirjalikult 15. novembril 2011. Eesti Elu toimetusele saabus selle kohta rahulolematuid lugejakirju ning suulisi järelpärimisi.
Eesti Elu toimetus esitas EAK juhatusele 12. jaanuaril 2012 kirjalikult järgmised küsimused: 1) Kas juhatusel on õigus teha nii drastilist otsust, mis sisuliselt tähendab põhikirja muutmist; 2) Kas loodud kriteeriumit tohib rakendada tagasiulatuva jõuga – avalduste sisseandmise ajal see ju ei kehtinud; 3) Miks viivitati selle otsuse teatavaks tegemisega mitu kuud? Uute organisatsiooni liikmeks astuda soovijate kandidatuuri vastuvõtmise või tagasilükkamise näib otsustavat EAK juhatus. Kas see on alati olnud juhatuse otsustada? Kas ülejäänud EAK liikmeskonda on liikmeks astumise tingimuste muutmisest informeeritud?
Alljärgnevalt avaldame EAK juhatuse vastuse verbatim. Kas ja kuivõrd see EE lugejaskonda rahuldab, jääb iga lugeja enda otsustada. Toimetuse arvates ei ole ajakirjandus kohustatud antud küsimuses seisukohta võtma. Lugejakirjad püüame edaspidi avaldada, jälgides kehtivaid ja üldiselt aktsepteeritud ajakirjanduslikke nõudeid.
EAK juhatuse kiri:
Letter from Estonian Relief Committee In Canada to Eesti Elu
The Estonian Relief Committee In Canada (ERC) owns and operates Ehatare Retirement and Nursing Home and also partners with other community organizations to carry out projects that assist and enhance Estonian community based organizations in carrying out their mandates.
Without a doubt our prime concern has been the operation of the Ehatare home and the care of the residents living at Ehatare.
Some months ago the Board met with the Family Council that had been instituted in the Nursing Home. The Board was exceedingly gratified by the satisfaction expressed by members of the Family Council as to the care extended to their relatives. Hence, the Board is satisfied that it is meeting its objectives in this regard.
The ERC Board of Directors admits members by resolution at Board meetings. The ERC bylaws provide that all ordinary members shall be entitled to write an application and that each member shall be informed of his/her admission as a member by the Board of Directors. This process has not been changed. The Board continues to admit new members by resolution at its Board meetings and has the power to do so according to the Corporations Act and its by-laws.
Traditionally, interest in membership to the ERC has consisted of 10-15 applicants per year. In June and July of 2011, the ERC was flooded with applications. Individuals from the ERC membership and community expressed concern when this happened as the memberships seem to be solicited for the express purpose of overturning the Board of Directors and replacing the Administrator.
In order to ensure that there was a fair process that protected the organization and ensured that the ERC would continue with its mandate of assisting the Estonian community, the ERC Board of Directors consulted with legal counsel to develop a fair process with reasoned and objective criteria. As outlined below, this admission process has applied to all applications received on or after the Annual General Meeting that was held in June 2010.
Existing members had been admitted by the Board. All new members were required to meet criteria for membership. The Board has applied these criteria in a fair and reasoned manner. The ERC criteria for membership are listed below and the individual applying to membership must support the best interests of the ERC. Each membership application is individually assessed. Please note that all criteria have been developed in order to ensure that the ERC is able to continue its mandate to serve the Estonian community and is not “hijacked” for outside interests. The ERC Board of Directors acknowledges that criticism is healthy, but that making unfounded, unsubstantiated allegations against the organization or its employees is against the best interests of the organization, Ehatare residents and the Estonian community at large. The “publicly speaking out against ERC” criteria in the application is meant to capture the making of unfounded, unsubstantiated allegations against the organization or its employees.
Without a doubt, transparency is important. This is a joint concern of both our community and the ERC Board. ERC apologizes for delays in dealing with applications. ERC’s goal was to have membership criteria that could be applied evenly to all applicants and that protected ERC’s mandate. Hence, the criteria for membership was formalized. Our administrative staff is “lean”, and there were a number of significant business concerns that had to be addressed over the same time frame. During this time, we had a surprisingly large number of unannounced “audits” and “inspections” by government departments and regulatory agencies. This large number of audits and inspections exceeded anything that had occurred over the past 30 years of operation, and it became apparent to us that these audits and inspections had been based on anonymous complaints. While the ERC is pleased to report that it passed all of these audits and inspections, the audits and inspections consumed significant hours and in the final analysis these actions took away from the time we could devote to the care of our residents.
Dr. Mart Leesment has been the Chair of the ERC Board of Directors since 1985. At the time of the retirement of Dr. Jaan Roos, Dr. Leesment reluctantly agreed to serve as Acting Medical Director until a suitable replacement could be found. The Board expended considerable efforts on finding a candidate for this position who is fluent in Estonian, but following an inspection by the Ministry of Health that resulted from an anonymous complaint, a Latvian speaking physician, Dr. A. Rubenis has been appointed as Medical Director of Ehatare Nursing Home. The Ministry of Health compliance inspector thanked Dr. Leesment for his dedication and for not abandoning our Ehatare residents.
As of February 2012, the ERC has admitted 81 new members and has rejected 4 members due to individuals not meeting the criteria for membership.
Criteria for Estonian Relief Committee In Canada Membership:
Individuals applying for membership to Estonian Relief Committee In Canada (the “ERC”) shall qualify if it is determined by the ERC Board of Directors that the applicant:
a. Resides in Canada and has demonstrated a strong commitment to the ERC, the Canadian Estonian community or Estonian community by:
i. past or present membership or participation in Estonian community based organizations;
ii. acting in a volunteer capacity in an Estonian community based organization.
b. Is a resident of Ehatare Retirement and Nursing Home (“Ehatare”), holds a Power of Attorney for a resident of Ehatare, or is listed as next of kin on the application form for a resident of Ehatare, limited to 2 per resident
(subject to numbers 2,3,4, and 5,6 below).
2. Has paid the appropriate annual membership fee to the ERC as set annually at the Annual General Meeting. The fee is currently $10. Canada Revenue Agency does not permit membership fees to qualify for charitable tax-receipts.
3. Supports the best interests of ERC. Evidence of not acting in the best interest of ERC, include but are not limited to: threatening or commencing legal action against ERC, publicly speaking out against ERC, past exclusion from a premises operated by ERC, and being the subject of a substantiated complaint by a resident or employee of a premises operated by ERC.
4. Must be an individual over the age of 18 that has not been found under the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992 or under the Mental Health Act to be incapable of managing property, and has not been found to be incapable by any court in Canada or elsewhere.
5. In the past 3 years has not been an employee or had a family member* who was an employee of ERC.
6. Is of good character, evidence of not being in good character include an individual who has been:
(a) found guilty of a relevant criminal offence for which a pardon or absolution has not been granted,
(b) a director, trustee, officer, like official, manager or in control of a registered charity during a period in which the charity engaged in conduct that may reasonably be considered to have constituted a serious breach of the requirements for registration under the Income Tax Act and for which its registration was revoked within the last five years, or
(c) a promoter of a tax shelter that involved a gift to a registered charity the registration of which was revoked within five years preceding the particular time for reasons that included or were related to participation in the tax shelter.
*Family member: parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses and children.