BCLA update from president Gerry Van Beek
We continue to learn more from our provincial sport sector leaders about safe return to sport activities with the focus on participation. This will be determined by provincial government and local health authority directives as to when and how we are able to safely access facilities again. It is still too early to make any decisions on whether some form of the box lacrosse season will take place.
The BCLA office remains operational and we will continue to review our financial situation and budgeting decisions. Other than the essential expenses to keep the BCLA office open and the three full-time staff employed, there will be no other expenditures at this time. All part-time contracted staff have been laid off; the Marketing and Communications position will not be filled at this time; Rochelle retired as of April 30th; so we are left with three staff members to take their respective leadership roles in working through this time and to prepare for a safe return to lacrosse.
We are taking advantage of the various Federal programs being offered for small businesses. We are receiving the 10% wage subsidy through CRA and awaiting news on the 75% federal wage subsidy (CEWS) that Sport BC is handling on behalf of the BCLA and other PSOs since they do our payroll. We are eagerly anticipating the result of our Community Access Grant through the BC Gaming Policy & Enforcement Branch as I’m sure all of you are as well. Our rent has been deferred and we have asked our landlord to apply for the Commercial Rent Subsidy on our behalf. We hope to take advantage of the Federal Government’s Canada Emergency Business Loan, an interest free loan of $40,000. If you repay 75% of the balance of the term loan between January 1, 2021 and before December 31, 2022, the remaining balance of your term loan will be forgiven. In other words, the BCLA would receive $10,000 when we return the other $30,000.
The BCLA took part in a viaSport webinar regarding Return to Play conversations with sport leaders from BC. Jeff will be serving on the Sport BC-BC Recreation and Parks Association Return to Activity committee as well as a viaSport Return to Sport Peer Support group. The BCLA has also struck our own Return to Play Lacrosse Committee with some of our experienced lacrosse leaders and has met twice in the past week. This group is formulating a plan to deliver lacrosse programming, keeping within health authority and other government regulations as they are communicated as they, too, form their plans to return to the various sector activities. Conversations at all levels have focused on a phased-in approach, phase 1 being to return to activity, outdoor, maintaining the 2-meter social distancing measure currently in place.
Team BC program plans have been ongoing. On May 2, we communicated to camp registrants that the district and provincial box tryout dates have been cancelled and the provincial camp fees are being refunded to the athletes. The Canadian Lacrosse Association has not yet made a final decision about 2020 Nationals and we expect more information from them at the end of May, so we will react accordingly at that time.
The BCLA AGM planning will be a co-ordinated effort with the goal to hold the AGM in October. The staff and our leaders are learning more about on-line alternatives for the delivery of the AGM and Special Sessions moving forward.
I would like to address some of the questions that we have received from members of the lacrosse community:
Will clubs receive any refund from the BCLA?
We have collected 50% of the 2020 Minor box registration fees based on 2019 registration numbers. We have also collected the team registration and insurance fees from the Senior Box lacrosse teams. Historically, from December to May, this has been our tightest cash flow period. We usually receive Gaming Funds in May that boosts our cash flow. Then in June, we invoice for the second half of the Minor registration fees, and in July, we invoice for the per player card fees for Senior Box. Collecting the second part of these fees is contingent on whether or not we see a season. We feel it is imperative to have a Provincial Sport Organization representing lacrosse in the larger sport community. We hope that members understand that registration fees are the BCLA’s largest revenue stream and is used to support all of the BCLA’s activities.
What if kids didn’t want to play a box format on a field?
Our main objective is to get our members returning to lacrosse activity – box, field, women’s field, or a hybrid game. We have been informed that phase one, returning to activity, must be outdoors and no competition will be allowed due to the 2-meter social distancing requirement. We have a Return to Play Committee who is working on return to activity/play scenarios. How we move forward is up to the Ministry of Health, the Sport Branch and viaSport. We are unsure when the authorities will allow sport to move to phase two.
Some clubs are OK with this for the younger age groups but don’t think it would work for the older age group.
Our Return to Play Committee is discussing return to activities for all ages of athletes with age specific activities.
Why is the office still open?
The BCLA is positioned well as a strong Provincial Sport Organization leader amongst sport in BC and we want to maintain that. The office staff is integral through these challenging times to administer, plan and direct our sport during this crisis and for what in in store for the future.
Why can’t we get a break on insurance, like ICBC did, that saves the BCLA money?
We have contacted SBC Insurance to ask if there will be an adjustment to insurance this year. We were informed that the insurance company will not reduce our rates.
Why do we have to fill out Form 100Ms?
The BCLA must maintain our coaching database so we have an up-to-date database. The BCLA Technical Director needs to confirm all coach’s certification levels annually and to be able to inform associations who require additional training. Please note, we will not be collecting coach registration fees at this time, although, if we do see a season, we may revisit this.
Will it cost to have our referees need to be re-certified next year?
We will work with the BC Lacrosse Officials Technical Support Group to allow an adapted (possibly on-line) clinic at no cost for 2021 for those who took the course this year.
When is Team BC money being refunded?
Team BC provincial camps have been cancelled and we are in the process of refunding provincial camp fees. We have collected Men’s and Women’s Field team post-dated deposits — two payments (Feb/Mar) have been cashed for the Men’s team deposits and we have not deposited any of the Women’s field cheques. We will not be deposit any more cheques until we know whether or not we will be allowed to move forward.
When will you cancel the season? Is drop dead date for announcing cancelling of season?
We don’t know at this time and are working on a return to activity/play plan.
If we have no Box Lacrosse, are our registration numbers for 2020 valid. Do we get a vote?
Yes, if you have paid your 50% of 2020 fees you are entitled to your vote(s).
If lacrosse is to be played outside this summer, how much facility time would be allocated to lacrosse?
All facility issues will be a concerted effort with the local associations and their relationships with municipalities. Jeff is sitting on a committee with the BC Recreation & Parks Association which puts us in good stead with municipalities as some are represented on that committee.
These next weeks will be difficult for sport as a whole. The BCLA Board, Directorates, and Technical Support Groups are planning for contingencies through this process and our associations have worked diligently keeping their members informed. We will continue to communicate and create dialogue with the lacrosse community to update you as information becomes available to us. We hope to have more answers to many unanswered questions to report in the near future.
We are counting on our community leaders to remain strong through this trying time. Thank you for your patience and we look forward to better news in the coming weeks.
If you have any additional questions, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in Lacrosse,
Gerry Van Beek, BCLA President