Well I have finally received a response from Dominion Command. The letter is very polite and indeed well scripted, you might say was politically correct! although once again they spell my name wrong! After reading through all the answers provided I have to say I’m still left with many unanswered question and doubts. Privacy of salaries,while Dominion states they are mindful of transparency expectations, they are vague in any plan to improve this area. Travel also leaves some large questions unanswered, Wives pay their own way, well perhaps. However, in the case of the UK trip, hotels would probably be paid through the Legion, so for someone accompanying that would be a nice savings, what about meals, car rentals and so on. I guess no matter how one looks at it there are extra benefits in these situations. Maybe that is fair enough, but what bothers me is the secrecy and refusal to declare the reason for the trips and the costs. In the case of Tom Eagles there are far too many unanswered questions about his travel-salary and expenses. At the end of the day its hard to believe the decisions at his local branch (Plaster Rock) was just and fairly arrived at. I refer to his twin sons receiving two of the four Legion bursary’s. To sum up I don’t think a lot has changed, no mention of selling legion medals, poppy embossed earrings etc, or amendments to the Criminal Code section 419. Its rather like receiving a reply to a complaint from the government, nice letter but really not saying anything! Finally and I’m not quite clear on this, but it sounds like a freebee ” last winter, then President Tom Eagles and his wife were on a member benefits partner sponsored and paid for cruise in 2015. Hmm??????
The complete response is below.
A resolution asking for the disclosure of executive salaries was denied as the resolution would infringe on Canadian privacy laws. Dominion Command is mindful that growing public expectations of transparency may require us to update our practices over time. As we consider how best to do this, we must remember that the goals of greater transparency and accountability must be considered in the context of applicable privacy laws. As we are not a federally or publicly funded organization there is no statute that requires disclosure of salaries. Therefore public disclosure of individual salaries would have to be done in a manner that fully complies with applicable privacy laws. Salaries cannot simply be unilaterally “released”.
Dominion Command determines salaries for staff through a Pay Committee that includes the Dominion President, the Dominion Treasurer, and Senior Elected Officers. Historically, salaries are regularly reviewed in comparison to industry standards in the Ottawa area. Department salary budgets are approved through the Dominion Executive Council, which has representation from every Provincial Command, and are included in the annual budget which is ratified by the membership. Salaries by department are also published in the annual financial report.
EXECUTIVE TRAVEL COSTS
Travel costs are forecasted each year as part of the process to develop and approve our annual budgets. These budgets are vetted by each Committee Chairman and Senior Elected Officer of the Legion and receive final approval by our governing Council, the Dominion Executive Council, which has representation from every Provincial Command. Biennially, we present our audited statements and budget projections for the coming years to Legion delegates at the Dominion Convention for approval and ratification. Every travel opportunity (including Scotland and England) is scrutinized to ensure that it is meeting the purpose of the visit and is within the scope of the Legion. At the national level, travel for spouses and family is not covered by the Legion. Spouses are welcome to accompany our executive when they travel, however, it is at their own expense. All funding for travel is taken out of the Legion’s General Account – Poppy Funds are not used for this. You will also note that at the national level, travel for spouses and family is not covered by the Legion as it is an individual responsibility of elected officers and employees.
Not sure how someone can make this link? Membership dues do not pay for the 120 or-so participants in the Caribbean cruise. Rather, these cruises are advertised in Legion magazine and those interested must pay for travel costs for this trip. That said, last winter, then President Tom Eagles and his wife were on a member benefits partner sponsored and paid for cruise in 2015. The more than one hundred other Legion members who were also on the trip paid their own way on this visit the Caribbean. As part of this cruise, scheduled stops were made in countries supported by the Royal Canadian Legion where Remembrance ceremonies and hospitality were offered by the local Commonwealth Legion organization. Cheques were not presented at these ceremonies.
FREE LEGION MEMBERSHIP
The stated purpose of this initiative remains unchanged: As part of our efforts to help Veterans transition to civilian life, the Legion, in cooperation with the Canadian Armed Forces Depart With Dignity Program, offers a free, one-year membership to all retired Forces members who are not yet a Legion member. The aim is to recognize a younger generation of Veterans for their service and allow them to see the Legion for themselves and become more acquainted with its positive impact in the local community as well as for Veterans of all ages. With respect to your question regarding how many Veterans have subscribed to this initiative, we can report that there have been 408 retiring CF personnel in 2015 that applied for the 1 year free membership.
I hope this helps address your concerns and please do not hesitate to contact me should you require further clarification.
Manager / Gérant, Communications
The Royal Canadian Legion
God Bless and keep reading