Policy development is in, program delivery is out as the BC Agriculture Council prepares to welcome a new executive director in August.
Reg Ens announced June 9 that he would be stepping down as executive director July 31, allowing him to step into the newly created position of general manager of the Western Agriculture Labour Initiative, a subsidiary of BCAC. His successor at BCAC will be Danielle Synotte, currently director of communications and stakeholder engagement.
His decision stemmed from consideration of a new five-year strategic plan for the council, which Ens joined in 2009 following a career with MNP.
“I realized I didn’t see myself being here in three to five years, so then the next question is if I’m not going to be here for the next five years, do I help steer the strategic plan or do I make room for the next person to lead the strategic plan?” he explains. “I decided on the latter.”
Ens says the shift to WALI will refocus him on business management, something the labour file needs more than ever.
“We have to invest some serious time in that to help the industry, help farmers, help employers, help workers, too,” he says.
An action plan will be developed over the next nine months that will allow WALI to expand from not only being a first point of call for farm labour issues but also a source of support with respect to both foreign and domestic labour.
“If we can move all the labour issues into a single desk, that should free up the ED’s role a little bit more,” says Ens. “When it gets to the point where we need someone to advocate for industry, that would get handed over to BCAC and they would do the advocacy work.”
A similar approach is being taken with ARDCorp, formally known as the BC Agriculture Research & Development Corp. Originally set up to deliver government-funded programs, BCAC is in preliminary discussions to transfer its existing programs – Environmental Farm Plans and the BC Agriculture and Food Climate Action Initiative – to the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.
“We would like to transition those over to IAF, with the teams intact,” says Ens. “They’re set up for program delivery.”
ARDCorp will continue to exist in the event it’s needed to run programs on an ad hoc basis, but BCAC will refocus its efforts on advocating for good programs.
Synotte will work with Ens through the end of the year to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.