NCRA Review Committee - Response to NCRC Complaints

Dear Members,

Thank you to all who were willing to document inequitable experiences that occurred during this year's NCRC in Saint John.  Your perspectives, some which were no doubt difficult to share, have had a significant impact on making future NCRC's and indeed the NCRA a more diversely attended, safely populated and above all mutually creative space.

The Board of Directors would like to acknowledge the work done by the National Community Radio Association and National Community Radio Conference Organizing Committee in planning the June conference, which was done in good faith utilizing the experiences of past conference organizers and the previous personal experiences of those who organized this year. However, we are now aware, thanks to your feedback, that there is a need to develop policy and procedure to help create a safer space and to address issues that arise within the association and its members in a more immediate and transparent way.

After the conference in Saint John, the Board struck a committee that was tasked to review specific complaints submitted by members, and make suggestions to the Board of Directors with a best course of action going forward. From there, the NCRA Board of Directors would receive the recommendations of the committee, and look at the necessity to develop policy and procedure to better serve the association and its members.

As a result, that committee, chaired by NCRA Executive Director Barry Rooke, has compiled a comprehensive list of policy and practical initiatives that the board will look to add to its long term strategic planning sessions, conference planning and policy development.

The Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution ( has been guiding the committee throughout this process and will review what the board of directors has decided to develop. The CICR has also provided valuable resources to help recommended what documentation should be drafted, and have provided steps on how to draft it. It includes a variety of approved and tested government and university based step-by-step processes to develop content and example documentation.

The structures and policies the NCRA holds in place now need more development and events at the NCRC have motivated us to accomplish better plans and policies so that we have a plan in place to reduce and react to conflict. To hear these stories has been incredibly valuable and an essential part of our work to create safe and equitable space for volunteers, staff, listeners and guests.

As a result of the committees work, the following recommendations for the board of directors to be reviewed include:

1) Developing a Women In Radio Committee or equivalent body to work towards adequate representation on-air and at conferences.

2) Enhancing the work of the Indigenous Committee within the NCRA to obtain funding; ensure programming standards are exceeded and create cohesive national planning dedicated to amplifying the voices of aboriginal communities.

3) Adopting new policies and anti-oppression resources by creating:
• Harassment Policy
• Safe Space Policy
• Complaints Process and Policy
• Accessibility Policy
• Plenary Code of Conduct to compliment Robert’s Rules

4) Additionally/further commitment to achieving enhanced Conference Committee Requirements:
• Designating quiet, alcohol free spaces
• On-duty (sober) support person within the conference delegates
• 3rd party campus/community support
• Alcohol awareness pamphlets
• Mood Monitor available for plenary and throughout the week’s events
• More member consultation when choosing third-party consultants
• Conference Committee should keep records of periodic consultations surrounding Equity Best Practices with member stations and external partners and provide regular feedback to the Board of Directors.

5) In-depth review of decision-making process across the organization. Considering what it would take to shift to a consensus-based decision-making processes at the AGM, on the Board and on committees.

6) Acting to ensure board members and staff of the NCRA avoid burn out, including a review about implementing a wellness program and/or retaining multi-faith chaplain services or additional supporting documentation/resources.

Once again, we thank our member stations and their volunteers for participating in this year's conference, online discussion and the feedback process. We hope that there is continued support in the development process of these recommendations, and interest in joining various committees as they review the above suggestions and look to address the concerns raised over the next 6 months. The Board of Directors is meeting in person in early/mid September, and looks to have all of its committee's setup to proceed with the review shortly after.

In the mean time, we welcome you to provide any further feedback you may have by submitting a form here ( and we look forward to your support as we attempt to make the conference and association a stronger community.

Barry Rooke
NCRA Executive Director
On behalf of the Review Committee the NCRC 2015 Conference
Sarah Newton, Stephane Bertrand, Maegan Thomas