Positive news from last year and good tidings for the year to come
On June 28, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ) held its 37th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Embassy of Canada to Japan. It was an opportunity for members to meet, vote on official proceedings, and get updates on what has been happening with the CCCJ over the past year.
One of the first orders of business was announcing the newly elected members of the Board of Governors, who are Kiyo Weiss, Luci Tremblay, Gordon Hatton, and Warren Arbuckle. This was followed by the approval of audited financial statements for the 2017–18 fiscal year and the appointment of an independent auditor.
Following this, CCCJ Chair Neil van Wouw delivered his annual report. One of the first points that he addressed was that the CCCJ has made significant progress in stabilizing its finances. One major step was moving the CCCJ’s office from Nishi Azabu to Shimbashi, which will generate cost savings of ¥2 million a year, starting next fiscal year.
Another notable improvement is that all membership information has been put into a database, which has enabled CCCJ staff to reach out, often successfully, to recently lapsed members and bring them back into the membership fold.
One more positive development during the past year has been the institution of “hackathons” — informal sessions where individual members can drop in on committee meetings and suggest solutions to problems — which have been boosting the efficiency of committee meetings. The hackathons are open to all, and members are welcome to sit in and get involved with any committee that is meeting on a given night. It’s also a great way for new members to get a deeper understanding of the committees and meet old CCCJ hands.
At last year’s AGM, the formation of two new committees was announced: the Global Diversity Management (GDM)Committee and the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee.
During his remarks, Neil van Wouw commented that the goal of the CCCJ is to be the most inclusive chamber.
This year, the GDM Committee has already held two popular events and, in the months to come, will be hosting more lunchtime events, which members are encouraged to attend. Van Wouw pointed out that the CCCJ has always been involved in CSR projects, but that, over the past year, the organization had earned more CSR-related money than they had in several years. Notable CSR activities during the past year include the Walk for Water, Place to Grow, and Tohoku Youth Project.
Interaction with the Canadian Olympics Council and the Paralympics Council has been ramping up, so members can expect to see more activities — such as meet-and-greets and CSR opportunities — involving these organizations in the months to come. Among other events, to which van Wouw said CCCJ members can look forward, include the Maple Leaf Gala on November 2, and more business-focused events for CCCJ members.
At the end of the meeting, a motion was passed that changed the number of two-year terms that a governor of the CCCJ can serve. Previously, individuals were limited to serving no more than three consecutive terms as a governor. In the interests of allowing those members who can commit the time and energy to the post of governor to fully contribute their services, the CCCJ Constitution was amended to allow governors to serve the consecutive two-year terms to which they are elected.
During his remarks, van Wouw commented that the goal of the CCCJ is to be the most inclusive chamber. The diversity on hand at the AGM, and the many plans that the organization has to get members more involved in the group’s activities, are positive signs that the CCCJ will achieve its goal.