The history of the PEI Chapter of fmi actually begins in Moncton, New Brunswick in 1988. Under the leadership of then fmi National Executive Director, Pat Nephin, fmi Atlantic received its charter in 1988. Gary Doucette, who worked at ACOA (Moncton) at the time, was the founding President. Other founding leaders included Marilyn MacPherson from Veteran’s Affairs (PEI), Peter Estey from DND (Halifax), Earl Milbury, ACOA (Halifax), and Kevin Stacey, ACOA (NFLD). Within the next 2 years, the Moncton Chapter was formed, followed by Fredericton, Newfoundland, Halifax and Charlottetown.
Joy MacFarlane and Rob Robinson, from Veteran’s Affairs, were founding members of the Charlottetown chapter which was made up of mostly Federal employees (VAC, ACOA, Public Works etc.). As was the case with some of the other Atlantic chapters, activities and membership recruitment were sporadic in the nineties and by 1997 the Charlottetown chapter had become inactive.
In July 2002, a meeting was held in Charlottetown to discuss the possibility of reviving the PEI chapter. Thirty two financial officers attended the meeting which was led by Al Green and Robert Hamilton of Veterans Affairs Canada. Fred Donaldson, National Liaison East Director, made a presentation to the group. Follow-up meetings were held and in January 2003 the PEI Chapter was re-activated with Robert Hamilton elected as President. Two months later, Robert was transferred to Ottawa and Derwin Banks replaced him as Chapter President. Derwin and Al Green attended PSMW in Victoria in the spring of 2003,where they promoted PSMW 2004 which had been awarded to the PEI chapter.
The first big challenge for the new PEI chapter was hosting PSMW in May 2004. Co-Chairs for the event were Al Green and Germain Tremblay. The conference theme was “Links to Success” and keynote speakers were Sheila Fraser, Auditor General of Canada and Bruce McNaughton, owner of Island Preserve Company. The conference was a huge success for the PEI chapter in many ways. Not only did the conference exceed all expectations in terms of registrants, but it also initiated the involvement of a number of volunteers from both the federal and provincial financial community in PEI, many of whom are still very active in fmi affairs. The financial success of this event has provided financial stability for the Chapter over the past eight years.
Since 2004, the fmi PEI has thrived with an average membership base of 75 to 90. Our membership is approximately 70% federal employees and 30% provincial employees with most of our federal members working for Veterans Affairs Canada. Support for the organization from senior management over the years has included VAC’s ADM of Corporate Services (Keith Hillier and his successors) and Scott Stevens, Provincial Comptroller.
FMI-PEI endeavours to provide four to five professional development sessions per year as well as periodic networking/social activities. The challenge has been to organize events that our members can use in their work and as part of their career development. Our first PD session of each calendar year is a presentation by a Provincial Cabinet Minister; other PD session presenters are a mix of civil servants, professional speakers, educators etc. A sample of presenters in recent years includes Christopher Waddell, Bill Mathews and Kevin Page.
FMI-PEI has had a good working relationship with other professional organizations in PEI and has on occasion partnered with the Federal Council, the National Managers Community, IPAC and others to provide PD sessions to the public sector financial community in PEI. These partnerships have allowed our organizations to pool resources and increase audience size. One of our more successful collaborations was a one day workshop on accountability with guest speakers Sheila Fraser and Stephen Lewis.