History of the Ostomy Canada Society (formerly United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc.)
(formerly United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc.)
The United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc. (UOAC) became an independent entity following a meeting of representatives of Canadian Chapters in Calgary in June 1997.
Prior to that time, Canadian chapters had been affiliated with The United Ostomy Association Inc. (UOA), based in the United States. The UOA was founded in 1962 with participation of people with ostomies who had formed informal self-help groups in both Canada and the United States. Canadian chapters were formed in all ten provinces, and were affiliated with UOA. However, by the late 1970's, it had become obvious that Canadians had different needs in terms of advocacy than did Americans. Additionally, as the UOA could not issue tax receipts to Canadians, donations from Canada were declining. Consequently, in 1982 the board of directors of UOA Inc. approved the establishment of a Canadian office, located in Hamilton, ON with 'Mr. Ostomy Canada', Allan M. Porter as coordinator. Al continued in the role of coordinator until his retirement in 1994, managing an annual appeal for donations and responding to the needs of Canadian chapters.
In 1994 the Canadian office was relocated to premises in Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON. Les Kehoe became Executive Director in 1994, and retained that role until late 1998. The office remained in Mount Sinai Hospital until 2003, when it moved to its present location on Bloor Street in Toronto.
Meanwhile, in 1991, the United Ostomy Association of Canada had applied for letters patent under the auspices of the federal Minister of Corporate and Consumer Affairs, in order to place the Association on a more businesslike footing and to improve its profile. The first officers of the Association were elected in July, 1992; however, the Association was still part of the larger United Ostomy Association Inc.
The first president of the independent UOAC was Maria Siegl. Unfortunately, she died in November, 1997, and was not able to see UOAC fully develop.
A complete listing of past and present officers, directors and staff of UOAC follows this article.
Since UOAC became an independent entity, it has initiated many projects. A number of Policy and Procedure Manuals were compiled, including those for general organizational policies, annual conference planning, and the UOAC Ostomy Youth Camp. Visiting program guidelines have also been published.
UOAC has two member oriented general publications: Ostomy Canada magazine is a full-colour glossy magazine published twice per year and sent to all members of affiliated chapters. The UOAConnection is a newsletter sent to chapter presidents ten times per year. Both of these publications are prepared by volunteers. As well, a selection of educational material is available at a nominal charge from UOAC office.
(See the Publications section of the site.)
UOAC held its inaugural conference in Mississauga ON in 1998. In 1999 the conference was in Edmonton AB; in 2000 in Montreal QC; in 2001 in Richmond BC; in 2002 in Halifax NS, and in 2003 in Saskatoon SK. 2004 conference was held in Gander NF, and 2005 in Winnipeg MB. The 2006 conference was held in Moncton NB and the 2007 conference was held in Calgary AB. The 2008 conference was held in Hamilton ON. The conference has many informative sessions covering various aspects of life with an ostomy, as well as exhibits from ostomy product manufacturers and distributors, and social events. UOAC awards are presented in conjunction with the annual conference. The business of the association is managed through the Annual General Meeting, and pre- and post-conference meetings of the executive and board of directors.
Under the auspices of UOAC, each summer the UOAC Ostomy Youth Camp and its volunteer counselors welcome campers aged nine to 18 who have ostomies or related conditions. For more information, see the Youth Camp section on this site.
UOAC has established the District Support Services (DSS) to liaise with chapters and provide assistance and guidance, as well as to encourage the growth of chapters through locally based initiatives, such as building relationships with ET nurses, conducting visiting programs, and holding chapter meetings. DSS has an overall director, regional representatives, and chapter coordinators, all of whom are volunteers.
UOAC is funded through membership fees, proceeds from an annual appeal for funds, and through sponsorship of projects by manufacturers. Funding remains a priority, as services can only be delivered if revenues are stable.
(The above was abstracted from a more detailed history of UOA Inc. and UOAC. A link to the unabridged version can be found on the righthand side of this page.)