President's Report

President's Annual Report for 2023

2023 was a very interesting year at MARGE. The year started off with the retirement of Jane Inouye, who had served as your Treasurer for a number of years. And then tragically, in early January, our long serving Secretary Roy Dixon passed away suddenly. This left just myself as Vice President and then President Barry Miller, with the help of volunteer Betty Miller, to run MARGE.

From January to April, Barry was the President and acting Secretary and I was the VP and acting Treasurer. Needless to say, most of our time was spent preforming clerical and administrative functions. We also made an urgent plea for volunteers to step up to fill the vacant executive positions and to sit on standing committees.

As reported at our last AGM held on April 26,2023, our plea for volunteers was successful as Allan Bartlett was elected as Treasurer and Linda Kirton was elected as Secretary.

We were also fortunate to have Heather Leonoff, Jayesh Manar, and Al Friesen step up to form the Constitution Committee, and Bruce Evans and Joan Blakley volunteer to serve on your Benefits Committee.

However, the key position of Vice-president was not filled. This has led to an increased workload for myself, as President, and for Immediate Past-president Barry Miller, resulting in some of our duties and responsibilities only partially fulfilled. Also, we did not have enough members volunteer to form the Nominating Committee.

Although I became President on April 26, 2023, I was aware at the end of 2023 that I would be nominated to take on the position. In anticipation, I prepared a number of memos dealing with, among other things, the history of MARGE, the Constitution, the group insurance plans sponsored by MARGE, policies, procedures and record keeping, as well as a To Do List. These memos were provided to Allan Bartlett, Linda Dixon, and Barry Miller when I became President.

I have also spent time, as has Barry, providing information, guidance, and training to Allan Bartlett and Linda Kirton. Both Allan and Linda have been a welcome addition to the Executive and their contributions will be even greater in 2024.

This is the appropriate time to point out that Barry Miller’s one-year term as Past President comes to an end at the AGM. I want to acknowledge the time and effort Barry has put in in the past year, which far exceeds what should be expected of anyone in that position.

Barry became VP in 2018 and President in 2019. He served in that capacity throughout the pandemic until stepping down as President last year. On behalf of the Executive and the members I want to thank Barry for his six years of service to MARGE.

2023 Achievements

The To Do List I mentioned identified 15 items, and I am happy to say we have had a great deal of success in addressing all of them. The following is a list of some of our achievements.

Standing Committees

I prepared Terms of Reference for the Association’s three Standing Committees. A Constitution Committee was formed and I worked with the members of the Committee to undertake a complete review of the Constitution and existing bylaws.

A Benefits Committee was formed to assist the President in monitoring our group pension plans and in negotiating the annual contract with Johnson Insurance. In the past these functions were primarily performed by the President.

As noted above, we were not able to form a Nominating Committee. I am hopeful that we can encourage 3 members to step up so we can have this very important committee in place well in advance of our next elections, which take place in early 2025.

Review of the Constitution and Bylaws with a Focus on Clarifying Membership Eligibility Requirements

I have spent a great deal of time and effort working with the Constitution Committee to update the Constitution, with a focus on clarifying membership eligibility requirements, voting rights and governance.

This will result in very significant amendments being presented to the members for their consideration, and hopefully, approval, at our next AGM scheduled for April 17, 2024. The most significant of these proposed amendments will clarify and expand those retirees who are eligible to join MARGE. If approved by the members, these amendments will improve our operating efficiency and contribute to the continued growth of our membership.

Content Management System (CMS)

CMS is a techy term used to describe a software application that allows multiple users to manage the creation and modification of digital content. In MARGE’s case, we use it to maintain our membership registry database and our website. Since 2015 we have used the services of Visual Lizard Inc., a local website design firm, to create and maintain our registry database and website.

In 2022 we undertook a major rewrite of our registry database. This took a considerable effort on the part of myself and volunteer Betty Miller, with assistance from immediate past -president, Barry Miller. We successfully completed the project and launched our new and improved membership registry at the end of September, 2023.

The improvements made to the registry database will ensure the accuracy and completeness of our member data going forward, as well as reducing the time and effort required to maintain it. The CMS update also included a refresh of our website. However, we still need to spend significant time updating and developing content in order to better serve our members, and to attract new members.

While not part of the CMS project, we also launched our own MARGE email system based on MARGE’s domain name which is “”. The creation of our own email system improves internal communications between volunteers and members, enhances our ability to maintain email records, and gives MARGE an improved profile.

Policies and Procedures

On becoming President, I undertook a review of the Association’s policies and procedures, and identified a number which were unwritten. To date I have written, or rewritten, a number of our policies, procedures and forms.

When this task is completed in 2024, MARGE will have a Policies and Procedures Manual in place, as well as a process to ensure they are reviewed and updated regularly going forward.

This will include the creation of a Manual for each of the Executive Officer positions which will include job descriptions and Executive Officer specific duties and responsibilities.

To date I have implemented a number of procedural changes with respect to data entry, the filing of membership records, mailing, and accounting for membership fees, resulting in improved operating efficiency.

Province of Manitoba

MARGE’s office space is provided free of charge by the Province of Manitoba, but no record of this arrangement existed. Therefore I contacted the Province of Manitoba and we now have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Province regarding our space.

Manitoba Government and General Employees Union (MGEU)

MARGE has a long-standing relationship with the MGEU, which also provides mail (including postage) and printing services to us at no cost. However, this relationship was not documented and no meetings had taken place with the MGEU for at least seven years. I reached out to the MGEU and met with its President, Kyle Ross at which he confirmed the MGEU’s ongoing support. It was also agreed that MARGE and the MGEU would prepare and enter into a memorandum of understanding in order to properly document our ongoing relationship. This will be completed in 2024.

Operating Results

Financially your Association has had another positive year, as evidenced by the financial statements which accompany this report. I am hopeful 2024 will be even better.

In my opinion 2023 has been a success, especially when you consider how the year began.

What is ahead for 2024

Your President, with the help of the other Executive Officers, will continue to focus on completing the projects we have started.

I have already identified improvements to our CMS which will be implemented this year. These changes should significantly improve our membership renewal process resulting in significant time savings and improved database accuracy. I am also considering a member’s only section of the website as well as improving our website. The estimated cost of these improvements is $5,000 and is included in the 2024 budget.

I also plan to seek legal advice in 2024 with respect to the Association’s compliance with the Manitoba Corporations Act and Regulations. MARGE was incorporated in 2015, and in doing so became subject to corporate legislation. To the best of my knowledge MARGE is compliant in all material respects with the legislation, but I would like that verified.Therefore the 2024 budget includes $5,000 for professional fees.

Also, if the amendments to the Constitution discussed are approved by the members, they will broaden the pool of eligible retired provincial public servants who may join our Association. This will allow your Executive to hopefully be able to develop an active and focused strategy for engaging with various retiree groups. This will lead to continued growth in our membership, and in the number of retirees joining the group insurance plans sponsored by MARGE.

If all goes well, by the end of 2024 MARGE will be a well-organized and efficient operation. The Executive Officers should be able to focus much more of their time on their executive duties and responsibilities, and a lot less time on performing clerical tasks.

In addition, any new Executive Officers can look forward to joining a well-run organization with the necessary policies and procedures in place to facilitate an easy transition. I am of the firm belief that our Association can, at least in the near term, be successfully operated by a full complement of 5 Executives Officers, plus 1 or 2 volunteers, whose roles will primarily be clerical in nature.

However, the most pressing issue facing MARGE is having enough members volunteer to stand for election as an Executive Officer, or to serve on the Nominating Committee

Your past Presidents have raised this issue and I can tell you from personal experience this is a major problem. I made a commitment to do what I could during my presidency to position MARGE for the future. I am prepared to do it for one more year but then it may be someone else’s turn.

It is also essential we establish a Nominating Committee, whose primary function is to recruit, vet and identify such qualified members. We also need to address the vacant VP position as soon as possible.

Therefore, I am making a request for members to consider filling the vacant Vice President position, or to be a member of the very important Nominating Committee.

If you are interested, please send me an email including a brief resume to Please note that by showing interest you are not making a formal commitment. I will personally meet with interested members to ensure they have the information necessary to make an informed decision as to whether or not they wish to volunteer.

Respectfully submitted by your President,

“Bob Bouchard”