First, our strong, determined commitment to fight privatization everywhere in the country, with $2.5 million to fight privatization this year. Second, our great strides and progress on the equality front, including the addition of three new positions to work on equality issues, and third, our continued progress on our commitment to address the need for additional staffing across the country, while continuing to address the imbalance in the Ontario Region. While we added 18 full-time equivalent positions to our staff complement across Canada (a record for one budget in this new millennium), three of them will work in our national office, and 15 are assigned throughout the regions - half of them in Ontario. Following up on these staff positions, we had to make one small change for operational needs changing one position from bilingual Administrative Officer to bilingual Senior Officer. This change will have a very small impact on the budget.
In addition to our funding for anti-privatization campaigns, we have increased our Defence Budget allocation for cost-shared campaigns to $2 million this year. It’s a good thing, since last year we spent over $2.3 million when our budget was projected at $1.7 million. This means our Board did what it needed to, approving projects as required, based on what our members needed.
I want to thank the National Executive Board once again for supporting our historic 2008 budget in December. But before I get into my report, I want to say how saddened I am, as all of us are, that Sister Donalda MacDonald isn’t with us here today. I will say more about our loss of a great sister later in my report, but I have a feeling Donalda is with us today in spirit as we meet again in snowy Ottawa. As I reported to you in December, our budget’s strength rests on three major themes.