World Vision - For Children.  For Change.  For Life.

World Vision Canada

2012 Annual Report

Our Board
Board Chair Dan Fortin visits children benefitting from World Vision Canada programs in Peru.

How far did World Vision Canada go this year to ensure they were doing their best for children? Board Chair Dan Fortin discusses.Learn more about the Board of Directors' work

Board Chair Dan Fortin visits children benefitting from World Vision Canada programs in Peru.

Opening yourself to advice

from the outside can be a humbling prospect. I'm often amazed at the grace shown by the mothers and fathers World Vision serves, as they agree to partner with strangers seeking to open doors for their children.

In this Annual Report, you'll meet a young Cambodian girl who used to work alongside her parents in a brick factory. Her parents truly felt that adding Keota's small income to their household budget was best for the family as a whole. But when World Vision staff visited Keota's house to propose education options for the girl, they were welcomed inside. Now Keota is a top student, preparing for a much brighter future.

This year, World Vision Canada volunteered to undergo a rigorous review as part of Imagine Canada's new Standards Program for charities and non-profits. We gleaned from the best practices of a number of outstanding Canadians charities, and humbly welcomed recommendations for further improvement from the independent accreditation body Imagine Canada. In the end, we were one of only 17 Canadian charities to receive this coveted accreditation.

Why did we open the door to outside input? Simple. Like Keota's parents, we wanted to do the absolute best for the children in our care — even if it meant making changes around the house. We were, and are, determined to find every possibly improvement, using your gifts efficiently and effectively for the sake of God's children.

Dan Fortin
Chair, World Vision Canada

Meet our Board of Directors

Our board is made up of volunteer members from across Canada, recruited through a rigorous screening process. They carefully monitor World Vision Canada’s plans and activities and represent a key part of our commitment to accountability.

Hon. Patrick Boyle
Tax Court of Canada
Ottawa, ON
Dr. Beth Cummings
Associate Professor/Pediatric Endocrinologist,
Dalhousie University/IWK Health Centre
Halifax, NS
Ms. Suanne De Boer-Miedema
Toronto, ON
Ms. Sharon Dymond
HR Consultant,
Mississauga, ON
Mayor Peter Fassbender
City of Langley
Langley, BC
Mr. Dan Fortin
General Manager,
Global Distribution Sector
IBM Corporation
Markham, ON
Mr. Michael Gartner
National Training Rinks
IBM Corporation
Richmond Hill, ON
Dr. Jeannie Haggerty
Associate Professor and Research Chair,
Department of Family Medicine
McGill University
Montreal, QC
Mr. Kevin Jenkins (Ex-Officio)
President and CEO,
World Vision International
Uxbridge, Middlesex, UK
Ms. Cheryl Leonhardt
Leonhardt & Assoc. Inc.
Mississauga, ON
Mr. Rob McKerlie
Interim President and CEO,
Mississauga, ON
Rev. David Morehouse
Lead Pastor,
The Journey Church
Moncton, NB
Ms. Catherine Morris
Lampion Pacific Law Corporation
Victoria, BC
Mr. Gerry O’Mahoney
Tralee Capital Markets Ltd.
Oakville, ON
Rev. Dr. Carson Pue
Executive Director,
First Baptist Church
Vancouver, BC
Ms. Sharon Ramsay
Registered Marriage and Family Therapist
Toronto, ON
Rev. Karen Reed
Urban Worker
Vancouver, BC
Rev. Dr. Don Scott
(Mbr. Emeritus),
Former WVC President
Nanaimo, BC
Mr. Dave Toycen (Ex-Officio)
President and CEO,
World Vision Canada
Mississauga, ON
Like this group of Bolivian mothers discussing child nutrittion, our Board of Directors' prime concern is the wellbeing of the children in their care.Governance at World Vision Canada

The Board of Directors is a group of carefully selected volunteers, giving of their time, talents and expertise. As followers of Jesus, they are called to ensure that World Vision Canada meets the highest standards in all aspects of our work and accountability.

Board Basics

Who are the directors?

(as members of the Board are called)
  • 16 women and men from across Canada
  • experienced leaders from Canada's private, public and non-profit sectors
  • people from a variety of professional backgrounds

What are the Board's responsibilities?

  • to ensure that World Vision Canada carries out its stated mission
  • to monitor all aspects of its work
  • to ensure accountability to all stakeholders, including our donors
  • to help prepare the organization for the future by providing stable, clear, strategic direction for World Vision's Management

How often does the board meet?

  • All directors meet at least four times a year.
  • The Board's three sub-committees — Executive, Audit, and Nominating and Board Development — meet and communicate more often.
In conversation with our Board directorsOur Board Directors ensure that World Vision Canada's work is of the highest caliber anywhere in the world.  Recently, several took your questions.

On selecting the best Directors

  • How do you find the right people to serve on the Board?

    The selection process is rigorous, exhaustive — and lengthy, says, Peter Fassbender, chair of the Nominating and Board Development Committee.

    "Believe it or not, we start looking for new directors about nine years in advance," explains Peter. "That's because it's so crucial to have just the right balance and composition."

    "The Board is here to represent Canadian donors," he continues, "so directors need to bring experience and perspective from a wide variety of backgrounds. We're working toward gender balance, and a strong representation of cultures and age groups. And each director brings unique expertise, without which the Board simply can't function as effectively."

  • Why nine years to find a new Board director?

    The Board's business is of crucial importance to the well-being of thousands of children worldwide. The stakes are high, and the learning curve, steep. That's why World Vision Canada has a larger Corporation board, a type of training ground for potential members.

    "It's a healthy process," explains Peter Fassbender, Nominating and Board Development Committee chair. "We work hard to develop potential directors by first inviting them as a member of our larger Corporation. In this way, someone can develop a thorough understanding World Vision Canada before she or he becomes a Board director."

    Joining the Board is a multi-stage process. In addition to time spent on the Corporation, the process involves:

    • exploratory conversations
    • a thorough investigation of CV and references
    • a visit to the national headquarters
    • a thorough orientation
    • a vote by the Board
    • ensuring the potential director subscribes to World Vision Canada's core values and founding documents, such as our Mission and Vision statements
    • completion of a rigorous conflict-of-interest process and police record check
  • What type of expertise do Board directors need to have?

    "Some examples are finance, law, human resources, education, child health, child protection, marketing and communication, strategic planning, international development, or theology," explains Peter Fassbender, chair of the Nominating and Board Development Committee. “That’s always coupled with a humble heart for serving the poor. Yes, World Vision is Canada's largest charity and has substantial annual revenue. But we're also serving the world's most vulnerable people. It takes a certain kind of person."

    As a pediatric endocrinologist, Board Director Dr. Beth Cummings cares for children here in Canada. She looks at their growth and development, and the factors in their lives affecting that. This expertise is crucial at the board table, as members consider World Vision Canada's strategies for child health in developing countries.

    "Take the Five for 5 campaign" says Beth, referring to World Vision Canada's approach to improving the health of very young children. "When the Board weighed its merit, I was able to advise them of its value to children's development — as an objective pediatrician."

    "Then, on behalf of donors, I encouraged World Vision Canada to develop clear indicators to assess the program's value after it was implemented. Donors give willingly, trusting World Vision to save children's lives and help them grow. We need to prove we're actually accomplishing that."

On ensuring accountability

  • How does World Vision ensure accountability?

    The Board carefully reviews all aspects of World Vision Canada's annual finances, one key aspect of organizational accountability. The Audit Committee is a group of seven people with business and accounting backgrounds. They oversee the relationship between World Vision Canada and our external auditors, as well as the work of our staff internal audit function.

    "Our job is to ensure the highest standards of accountability," says Committee Chair Gerry O'Mahoney. "First of all, we make it our practice to meet with the external auditor in private. Their audit findings are presented directly to this committee." The benefits? An auditor with such freedom can raise any concerns they have with the organization's conduct without fear of consequence. And conversely, the Board committee can question the auditor about their perceptions of an organization's management.

    "Many of us have experience with risk management, and we really scrutinize the auditor," says Gerry. "We push and prod, trying to identify anything about the finances or management's conduct during the audit process that might have created discomfort."

    "We leave no stone unturned. We're here to do our best for World Vision Canada, for the donors who trust the organization — and for the children we serve."

On financial efficiency

  • Let's talk about financial efficiency. How do you ensure donors' gifts go toward impacting children — not to overhead?

    “We have a Board policy that at least 80 per cent of donations are used for programs helping children," says Gerry O’Mahoney, chair of the Board’s Audit Committee. "It's critically important that the organization invest in administration and fundraising, as we can't be effective without those expenses. But we are committed to keeping those costs to less than 20 per cent."

    "It's a testament to our desire to manage and control expenses, to ensure that as much as possible is going where the donor wants it to go. But overhead is only one measure—and as a Board, we're even more committed to ensuring that our programs are effective and helping bring real and lasting change to children that we're helping. Donors want to know their dollars are making a real impact."

  • What about World Vision Canada salaries? How do you ensure staff and leaders are paid appropriately?

    As past Board chair and member of the Board's Executive Committee, Sharon Dymond helped set the current salary framework for World Vision Canada's President, Dave Toycen.

    "We start with an industry average of what a leader with the skills, experience, scope of command and responsibilities would earn," Sharon explains. "We look at both profit and not-for-profit organizations, across the GTA. This is where the president has to live, and the cost of living is higher here than elsewhere in the country."

    Once an average is determined, the Board reduces the president's salary by at least a further 25 per cent. The same pattern is followed for vice presidents at World Vision Canada, with their salaries reduced by 15 per cent. Directors' salaries are reduced by 10 per cent.

  • Why doesn't the Board help reduce salaries further?

    "It would weaken World Vision Canada and the crucial work it does," explains Sharon Dymond, a member of the Board’s Executive Committee and a human resources consultant. "The organization's very ability to help the poor rests largely on the caliber of people it hires, and the way in which it's run.

    The Board is responsible for the well-being of World Vision employees and providing a salary that is fair, Sharon explains. Reducing salaries too much would jeopardize our ability to attract and retain top performers. Finding such people, and investing in their development, is essential for ensuring donor's gifts make the greatest-possible impact around the world.

    "The Board realizes our employees are motivated by what they do and their compensation is not their focus," adds Sharon. "If anything, part of the Board's role is to encourage President Dave Toycen to build a balanced lifestyle, slowing down enough to take vacation and time to reflect. We're accountable to donors to ensure that the organization's president doesn't burn out."

On strategic planning

  • Besides accountability, how is the Board involved in strategic planning and future plans for World Vision?

    Being a Board director at World Vision Canada is not just about poring over balance sheets and program reports. Because of the diverse background and experiences, the Board is a critical contributor to developing the future strategy and direction for the organization.

    “The Board is responsible to vote on and approve World Vision's annual budgets and operating plans, as well as long-term strategy,” explains Dan Fortin, chair of the Board. “But we're actively engaged in strategic issues at every meeting. At least half of our meeting times are given over to asking strategic questions, challenging and encouraging World Vision's leaders. Our goal is to help discern together the best direction we should go as an organization.”

    Over the past two years, the Board of Directors has been actively involved in the development of a new four-year Strategic Plan, which it approved this past June. The focus is on four strategic goals: changing children's lives through effective programs; deepening the engagement of supporters in our work in Canada and around the world; sharing the voice of children and our vision for a better world; and innovating and learning to be a more efficient, effective and inspiring organization.

    “At the heart of the new plan is the well-being of children, and that will be the measure of success,” Dan notes. “As a Board we want to be sure that World Vision always stays focused on what's most important—and that's the children we are privileged to serve.”

Copyright 2012 World Vision Canada. All rights reserved. Business/Registration Number: 119304855RR0001