One topic that has been stewing away gently on a back burner for a while now is a review of our slate of annual honours.
For those of you unfamiliar with our honours programme, here are the basics. Each year we solicit nominations from members across the country, for deserving honourees in three categories. The nominations and support material are reviewed by a Council committee, and the results presented to Council for approval. The awards themselves are presented at a honours evening each fall/winter.
Like everything, even our honours structure needs an overhaul now and then. Honours committees over the years had identified some confusing overlap between award categories, a few procedural concerns, and the absence of an award category for contributions that did not fit neatly into one of the existing options. The review work is now done and reflected in the new policy GP-14, for readers who want all the details.
And for those of you who prefer the executive summary...
Life Membership is awarded to members who have made an outstanding contribution to the performing arts within the jurisdiction of Equity. It recognises not only an extraordinary career, but also colleagues who have gone "above and beyond" in other ways that contribute to the benefit of either Equity or its members.
Honorary Membership is awarded to an individual who is not an Equity member, but who has made an outstanding contribution to Equity and/or its members, or to the performing arts within the jurisdiction of Equity.
The Larry McCance Award is awarded to a member or to a former staff member, who has made an outstanding contribution to the Association and its members, through elected representation, notable service on staff, or other exemplary action and advocacy.
And now for the new one...
Beginning in 2011, The CAEA Award of Distinction may be given to any organisation, individual, or group of individuals, excluding current staff, in recognition of significant contribution within the realm of live performance benefitting the membership of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.
The purpose of this new award is to allow Equity and its membership to recognise worthy recipients who would not otherwise be eligible for one of the other awards. The criteria are very open, so that the nominators have free rein to let us know what is important to them.
Full details on the honours categories, as well as a nomination form and instructions, can be found here. The nomination cutoff for each round of honours is May 1st. However, nominations are accepted all year, and will automatically be considered for the next available round of honours, depending on the submission date.
The next time you catch yourself thinking "people really ought to know how special that person is", head to the nearest computer, or give the office a call, and submit a nomination. That is exactly the kind of person the honours exist to celebrate.