Saying Farewell: Reflecting on my journey as OpenMedia’s Executive Director
Gratitude, reflections, and the road ahead.
It's with a mix of emotions that I announce that today is my last day as the Executive Director of OpenMedia. It still feels like just yesterday that I flew out to Vancouver for my first day of work: it’s hard to believe that it’s now been just over 8 years, and I’m signing off for the last time.
It has been a truly amazing journey, and a wilder ride than I ever could have imagined. It is a daunting task to lead an organization working on such large issues, especially against such well-resourced opponents. We don’t have the budgets or legal teams of companies like Bell, Telus, and Rogers.
But whenever we’re feeling out-resourced, we remember that we have one thing that they don’t: YOU. Our community. You’re our secret weapon.
While companies go into meetings with decision-makers representing their own corporate interests, we go in with the power of the hundreds of thousands of concerned individuals. You’re the reason why issues like connectivity, affordability, privacy, and free expression have become common public discussions in government policy, and in the news. That didn’t just happen – it took years of pressure, education, and advocacy. That’s the result of YOUR hard work.
It’s really hard to overstate: this community is POWERFUL. Here’s just a snippet of some of what you’ve accomplished over the past 8 years.
Together, you have:
- Defeated an Internet Tax, that would have added more fees to your Internet bills
- Overwhelmed Canada’s #DigiCanCon consultation to ensure your Internet access is a core priority
- Stood up to data caps in Canada, and defeated unfair differential Internet pricing
- Pressured decision-makers to introduce new privacy legislation to update Canada’s outdated privacy laws
- Successfully pressured Toronto City Council to support affordable access to fibre internet
- Called out political parties for their hypocrisy in privacy standards
- Defeated Bell’s “Fairplay” website blocking proposal at the CRTC
- Stopped the use of CCTV cameras in Vancouver
- Won the fight to make the Internet declared a public service
- Secured a government commitment to universal connectivity, and funding
- Stopped the sale of the .ORG domain to a private equity firm
- Won a new policy direction for the CRTC to prioritize customers, choice of providers, and affordability
- Stood up for more affordable wireless services at the CRTC
- Called out the CRTC Chair for drinking beers with the CEO of Bell Canada
And that’s nowhere near an exhaustive list!
You’ve participated in countless legislative reviews, parliamentary committees, consultations, council meetings, and round tables. You’ve shaped the public narrative on key issues, and educated decision-makers about why these issues matter in the first place. Thank you for continuing to stand up for what you believe in. It’s made for an incredibly inspiring place to work.
To every member of the staff team: your passion shines through. I’ve learned something from every one of you in my time here. You are the most thoughtful, caring team I’ve ever had the chance to work with, and I know the community is in good hands. Thank you.
To our generous donors who enable us to do this work, thank you for your kindness. The people-powered funding of this organization is a true gift, and ensures we’re able to keep our focus exactly where we need it: the impact on everyday people in Canada.
And to our community: You’re at the heart of it all, and your voices are louder than you may ever know. Thanks for everything.
While my own time with OpenMedia may be coming to an end, there’s no shortage of work ahead for the organization this fall. The coming months are filled with some critical battles the team will be working on that I hope you’ll continue to support, including:
- Fighting for strong user protections as the CRTC works to implement Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act.
- Pushing for strong privacy improvements in Bill C-27, to update our outdated privacy laws.
- Responding to the government’s report on overhauling the Competition Act, as we wait to hear if the government has heard your calls for change, and where they’re headed next.
I hope you’ll continue to speak up and demand the Internet that you want and deserve. I can’t wait to see what you’re able to accomplish next.
Image Credit: Medium Rare via Unsplash