Meet your Board of Directors

Vishnu Sookar - Chair

Nisha Sharma - Vice Chair

Mary Rampersad- Secretary

Randolph Singh - Treasurer

Basil Punit - Director of Fundraiser

Krishna Doolsingh - Director of Facilities

Janack Persaud - Director of Finance


Report from Board of Directors

Namaste Everyone,

I am very pleased to present to you the Report of your Board of Directors. We have had a very successful year. Our Composition of the BOD is as follows:

Chair - Vishnu Sookar

Vice Chair - Nisha Sharma

Secretary - Mary Rampersad

Treasurer - Randolp Singh

Director for Fundraising - Basil Punit

Director of Facilities - Krishna Doolsingh

In April 2016, one of our Directors Ashton Jagdeo resigned from his position as Director. The Board filled the vacancy as per section 5.08 of our by-laws - which states that the Board of Directors may fill any vacancy occurring in the Board of Directors for the remainder of the term by appointment. The Board appointed Janack Persaud as Director of Finance, as there was a need to obtain the expertise to look after the multiple lists of issues in our Finance area that we inherited. We needed to have a dedicated director to overseer the cash functions due to this high risk area and multiple complaints brought up at previous members' meeting with respect to cash controls. As you have heard Janack stepped into the role and successfully fulfilled the duties and responsibilities - putting an end to any accusations or leakages or non-compliance issues.

Our mandate for 2016, based on Judge Myers Ruling, was to update our by-laws in accordance to the fundamental sections of the New Not-for-Profit Tax Act and to develop proper procedures and policies regarding our membership, supported by proper audit trails.

Last year on April 17, 2016 - we successfully passed resolution for updating the by-laws. The Membership section was updated to reflect the fundamental changes as per the Not for Profit Tax act. Among the updates a Class A for voting members and a Class B for non-voting members was introduced.

Updated Membership:

Since the last court approved list reflected membership as per 2013 listing, the BOD updated the membership list to include eligible voting members for 2014, 2015 and 2016 to ensure that the list we used for this annual meeting was up-to- date. In order to ensure correctness and completeness, the Board appointed a membership committee consisting of 3 Directors and 1 HOD to establish policies and procedures to assist in documenting the process used to update the membership.

The membership committee used the 2013 Court approved list as the starting point to begin the process. Upon review of the list, the committee realized that based on the policy that prevailed during the period prior to January 1, 2012, that the previous administration at that time, promised to include both husbands and wives as two separate lifetime members (LT) if they donated $5,000 to assist the Mandir in paying down its debt. However, there were inconsistencies on how this policy was applied - On the 2013 Court approved list, there were some spouses of members who were included with just the $5,000 contribution, while the spouses of others were not. To ensure consistency, for those members who were LT members by December 31, 2011, the Board, felt that it was right to ensure that all spouses of each of the voting member who contributed the $5,000 by December 31, 2011 and appeared on the 2013 Court approved list, were also included. This ensured consistent application of the policy that prevailed for the periods prior to January 1, 2012. This increased the LT membership to 202 from 150. The Board reviewed and approved the policies and procedures presented by the Membership Committee. After this exercise was done, the Board agreed to wait until the audited statements were completed for 2014, 2015 and 2016, after which, we will notify those members who met their $5,000 contribution and inquire as to whether they were interested in becoming a LT member due to the implementation of a membership form which would assist in providing an audit trail to have proper records as advised by Judge Myers. The last audited statements were done on the 2013 fiscal year which was why the BOD decided to wait until the audited statements for 2014, 2015 & 2016 were completed.

As per the updated by-laws, section 2.02 for LT membership, it clearly states that if a member would like to become a LT member, then an application must be made and acceptance granted by the corporation. However, to show good faith,as soon as the audited statements for 2014, 2015 & 2016 were completed, the Board reached out to those members who met their $5,000 contribution and inquire as to whether they were interested in becoming a LT member by sending the membership form and requesting the respective member to complete the form and return to us if they were interested in becoming a LT member.

Members who completed the form and met the criteria for becoming voting members were approved and instated on the current 2016 membership list.

Annual members: Based on the previous policy, each year on August 31, annual membership expired; last August 31, 2016, when annual membership expired, based on the enacted new section regarding annual members, no longer referred to as Individual members, the BOD agreed that a policy must be developed in accordance to the new section 2.02 of the by-laws for annual members. Section 2.02 states that Annual membership shall be available only to members in good standing, who have paid their annual membership as specified by the board with the organization. The term of membership of an Annual member shall be annual, subject to renewal in accordance with the policies of the Corporation.

The Board met in September 2016 to update its policies based on the approved changes in the by-laws.

Based on increased expenses in maintaining the Mandir, the Board felt that a $200 membership fee needed to be reviewed. Please note that $200 has been annual membership fee for over 15 years. Upon an analysis of the increased costs for operating the Mandir, the Board agreed that a membership fee of $300 appeared be more representative of the changing economic climate with respect to increased expenses to maintain the Mandir. This change resulted in no extra fees for the PAP members who were our regular individual members as previously called. In November 2016 all PAP and Non-PAP members who were potentially eligible for annual membership were notified in writing of the change and asked if they were interested in joining the membership as Annual members - they were asked to complete the membership form and submit for approval.

PAP members, who contributed $200 by August 31, 2016, were provided with the option to join annual membership for the 2016 year if they filled out the membership form we sent to them and returned to us by December 31, 2016. A  second letter was sent as a follow-up to the PAP members who did not respond to the board's initial letter to again request whether they were interested in joining as annual members. Please note that the contributions made by PAP members, under the previous policy, were only counted between January to August of the particular year; this meant that $25 each month, amounted to $200 by August 31 (which was the previous membership fee). The contributions made by PAP members from September to December, under the previous policy, were not considered contributions to individual membership ($100). However, under the new policy, PAP contributions of $25/month (12 months), amounts to the $300 annual membership fee for the membership year (July to June). So for the future, all PAP contributions for the year will be considered towards membership.

This will encourage more people to come on to PAP since annual membership, if you are a PAP member, in reality, remains the same with the previous contribution of $25 per month. Any new members wishing to join annual membership must pay $300 by June 30 of each year, and complete and signed the membership form.

The membership list was updated to include 17 new members who completed the form and met the criteria for membership. The membership list now stands at 217 voting members as 2 of our LT members passed away during this past year.

 

Religious Segment:

Our Religious segment has instituted a strategic vision of engaging youths as leaders in all aspects of the Religious segment. We have successfully brought 2 very skilled Pundits in performing the various abhiskhas, - including Rudraksh and Durga Paath - pertaining to Shree Durga Maa, who is the presiding deity of our Temple. Such talent is not available in our area.

Another goal was to increase collaboration and form alliances with other Mandirs - building relationships, breaking down silo operations and extending our arms to  assist when needed and vice versa. We have also partnered with the Ajax crematorium to lend support to our community when needed - a special fund is going to be started to assist families who are not able to afford their last rights.

We have also established relations with the Health Heart Institute and had our first women's conference held at the Mandir on June 11, 2017 on Women Empowerment and Wellness led by one of our volunteers, Betty-Ann Persad. We have also participated in the interfaith community initiative by welcoming an invitation from our Muslim brothers and sisters to join them in their Ramadan celebrations. 

Over the past year we have invited several Pundits and temples to join us in our Sunday service so as to align with our strategic goal of networking and building relationships with other community-based organizations. This year we are pleased to engage a youth pundit skilled in all the holy scriptures and trained with the Chinnaya mission to conduct our Sunday morning Kathas and lead our Baal Vikaas Class - again - this initiative is to align with engaging youths in leadership position to make us ready for succession management. We already have engaged youths in leadership position with our kirtan group. 

 We are also beginning an evening Sunday service designed to build relationships with the East Indian community - the kathas will be in Hindi officiated by our resident pundits with an attempt to bring together and join the communities to pray together.

 Through the leadership of Janack and Mary we have also implemented an office and proper procedures for Puja bookings and all related-pundit events and other event bookings. The Office is now fully functional and is managed by volunteers; which is now our main contact for all Mandir's info and events.

Over this past year we have completed quite a bit of work on Facilities - we have fixed the elevator - security system upgrade by adding a few more cameras for safeguarding the Mandir and our major project being the sewer project. We are currently in negotiations to get the project started at an affordable cost. 

BODS STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2017 TO 2018 

To align with our Communication Strategic Goal - involving PR functions; Social Media; Website; Strategic Alliances/Relationship, we will be focusing on the following 3 objectives for this year and next year to assist us in achieving this goal.

Objective 1:

Build relationship with our congregation and longstanding members.

 We know that we have not spent sufficient time with relationship building to encourage volunteerism as we have been consumed with ensuring the operational segment of the organization. Therefore, we will achieve this by:

Developing our own People Skills: Good relationships start with good people skills

Identifying our Relationship Needs: Look at our own relationship needs

Scheduling and spending the time to build relationships:

       ■ Appreciate Others

       ■ Be Positive

       ■ Manage Your Boundaries

       ■ Avoid Gossiping

Forming a Membership Drive group: We need to reach out to our Members and friends this time of the year with an idea on how we can raise funds for our charity.

For example:

SSDSC Founded in 1988 by a family of seven group without the aid of grants and public funds.

The Pickering Devi Mandir serves as a testament to our dedication to the continuous service to our community and documentation of our devotees and members whose efforts help preserve our great Religion.

There is no doubt the donations received by you is instrumental in helping to cultivate our culture and engage our youths by offering classes in music, singing & dance, and making Baal Vikaas a reality. It would not have happened without the financial assistance of each of you.

Forming a special function group: These projects will not duplicate existing services. In particular, we are interested in, but not limited to, assistance from this group in the following areas:-

■ Yagnas

■ Wedding/BirthdaysMedical & Community Seminars

■ Deliver services/program to the citizens of the Durham

■ Community Proposals may be for both “one-time” projects, or for longer- term programs which require some seed money and/or a trial operating period.

Focusing on improving communication:

        ■ Set-up a Public Relation Group ,Media & Communication Group

        ■ Social Media Strategy - Digital strategy:

Objective 2:

Working as a cohesive group; not just working together but trusting each other.

Work done in teams provides many advantages and benefits. The major advantages are the diversity of knowledge, ideas and tools contributed by our team members, and the camaraderie among members. We will continue to put our differences aside and focus on the best interests of the organization.

Objective 3:

Ensuring that our Board of Trustees (BoT) become fully functional

■ Working with the BoT and assisting them in learning and becoming familiar with the operations of the organization through continuous engagement.

 

Respectfully Submitted by:

Vishnu Sookar

Chair of SSDCS - Devi Mandir

On Behalf of the Board of Directors of SSDCS

June 25, 2017.

 

FINANCIAL REPORT

June 25, 2017 Member's meeting

Janack Persaud

Topics:

■ Financial Position - the previous administration as at Feb. 28, 2016

■ Financial Position - the current administration from March 1, 2016 o May 31, 2017.

■ Financial Information & Audited Statements - Comparison years 2013 - 2016

■ Operations & Q1 update for 2017

Financial Position - the previous administration as at Feb. 28, 2016

As of February 28, 2016, the financial health of the Mandir was as follows:

Legal Fees:

 Please note that legal expenses incurred by the previous board were for the periods January 1, 2014 up to February 29, 2016 in the amount of $177, 567. Please note that an amount of $27,630 for legal fees was also incurred in fiscal year 2013. So a total of $205,197 of your donations in legal fees spent for 2013 to February 29, 2016.

 In March of 2014, there was a management decision made by the previous board to increase the mortgage from $178,098 to $319,064 @ a 4.2% locked in interest rate. This was done to obtain a loan of $140,966. Out of this loan amount, $70,000 was placed in a locked GIC and the balance of $70,966 was used to pay the legal fees incurred in FY 2013 & 2014 & members' loans of $43,000 to the Directors and an Officer at that time. In order to obtain this refinancing arrangement, the previous board placed the Mandir's property as security collateral for $1.6 million to obtain the loan of $140, 966.

In addition to placing the Mandir at this risk, there were personal guarantees of $650, 000 made by directors at that time for this same loan. Commissions of $10,000 were also paid to obtain the same loan. The Mandir continued to pay interest on the $70,000 in the GIC @ 4.2% for the past 33 months which amounted to approx $8,085 to earn a meagre interest of $1,282.

■No Audited financial statements were prepared for Fiscal years 2014 & 2015 and charitable return for 2015 - T3010 had to be filed. In addition, for 2014 audited statements were required to be filed with the tax return due to the size of the charity. This meant that revised charitable tax returns would also have to be filed for the years not audited - 2014 & 2015.

■ HST rebate were incorrectly filed for prior years -2013 and no HST Rebates were filed from FY 2014 and 2015.

■ There were 8 unused bank accounts, no reason for why they left open, and the Mandir was incurring unnecessary bank charges each month for each of these accounts. Bank of Montreal also informed us that audited statements were required for 2014 and 2015 by 120 days after each year end; and since audited statements were not submitted to the bank, the temple was in violation of its debt covenants for the mortgage.

■One of the employed pundits were being paid under the table, meaning no T4 being issued - which placed the organization at risk with CRA ; No T4 summary/ supplementary were filed for FY2015

■ Loan interest were being paid to certain Directors and Officer with no T5 were being issued to these individuals, which resulted in interest income not being reported to CRA again placing the organization at risk with CRA

■ There were no documented cash control procedures, which was an area of high risk due to the large amount of cash that came through the Mandir on a daily basis. Even though there were allegations raised during the time of the previous annual meetings that cash deposits were being tampered with.

■ Devotees complained that they did not receive their tax receipts for 2015.

■ There were no documented procedures for Mandir bookings - no standard pricing for event rentals of similar nature - pricing was established based on the relationship with the individual and the person taking the booking.

Financial Position - the current administration from March 1, 2016 o May 31, 2017.

The following were undertaken by the current Board to current the mismanagement outlined above:

■ With respect to a total of $205,197 of your donations spent in legal fees from 2013 to February 29, 2016. Action: For the period March 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016, legal fees of $4,396 which was unwillingly incurred by the current board to obtain the Mandir's own legal documentation from the previous directors and officers to review the $205,197 of donations spent on legal expenses; documents which we still have not received. The group of former directors and officers made a collective decision to thwart the Temple's requests for its own documents and forced the temple to incur legal costs to obtain its own legal documents as the current board wanted to review the legal expenditure incurred by the previous administration of $205,197.

■ With respect to the refinancing arrangement:

Action: In 2016, the new BOD quickly negotiated with the bank to remove the personal guarantees of $650,000 made by the previous directors and also release the lock on the $70,000 in the GIC.

■ With respect to the audited statements and the charitable tax returns Action:

Since time was of the essence in filing the charity's return for 2015, and Janack Persaud began his duties as Finance Director only on June 11, 2016, he had to quickly work with the assistance of an outside accountant, Stanley Ramdath, who agreed to assist us in compiling the 2015 Financials so that the charity return could be filed on time by June 30, so as to prevent the Mandir from losing its charitable status.

■ With respect to the HST rebates being incorrectly filed Action:

This was a very time consuming task as all expenses had to be recalculated since they were incorrectly calculated at a 100% instead of the correct amount of 70% - this had to be redone for 2014 and 2015 years. The 2016 was also completed which resulted in a total refund of $25,700 received in November 2016 as well as a further $4, 306 in February 2017 for the 2014, 2015 & 2016 years.

■In regards to the 8 unused bank accounts and the violation of not filing of the audited statements with the bank.

Action: Upon review of all these unused accounts, recommendation was made to the Board for closure and was accepted - all accounts in this regard were closed. The Bank also had its audited statements for 2014, 2015 & 2016 within the 120 days of this year 2017, meeting its obligations for 2016 year end.

■ In regards to no T4 being issued for the employed pundit and No T4 summary filed for FY2015

Action: We voluntary disclosed this to CRA and quickly filed the T4s for the related years; due to this negligence we had to pay a penalty for non-filing of the T4 Summary for FY2015.

■ In regards to the loan interest being paid to certain Directors and Officer with no T5 were being issued to these individuals

Action: Due to this negligence by the previous administration, it placed the Mandir at risk for scrutiny and a potential liability of $700 for not issuing a T5 to these directors and Officer.

■ With respect to the lack of control procedures regarding cash

Action: Cash & internal controls After a review of the control procedures for the cash receipts and collections, various deficiencies were discovered, mainly due to lack of segregation of duties. To correct these deficiencies new sequential numbered forms were introduced to record all deposits; a sealed deposit bag for all cash was introduced to be used to deposit all funds to the bank, eliminating any issues that could result in shortages. From October 2016, once this new procedure was fully implemented, there were no discrepancies found with respect to cash. We want to reassure the members that all safeguards are in place to account for all monies donated or collected from all revenue sources.

■ As a result of devotees complaining that they did not receive their tax receipts for 2015.

Action: The BOD made a decision that from 2016 onwards all tax receipts are being issued on a quarterly basis except for PAP which is done annually

■With respect to not having any documented procedures for Mandir bookings.

Action: The BOD introduced new forms and standard pricing with consistency pricing for similar events. A formal booking procedure was implemented to ensure no cash leakages and proper audit trail for each event booked. An Office assistant volunteer position was implemented for taking all bookings in addition to various weekly puja bookings, which is a new revenue stream. The Office volunteer position and related duties and responsibilities have now become fully functional. This weekly puja bookings, having being implemented only in April 2017, has resulted in an approx $4,000 in Revenues for April & May of this year.

Financial Information & Audited Statements - Comparison years 2013 - 2016 (Posted on the website)

The Audited Statements on our website posted since June 4, 2017. We presented a 4 year comparison of the Financials for the benefit of everyone since our last AGM was held for the 2013 fiscal year.

Total revenues for the 3 previous years were consistent from year to year with minor variances; however, in 2015 fiscal year, there was a one-time revenue event; the Anuradha show resulted in Revenues of $41, 411.

For the year 2016 year, due to the transition period from previous administration to a new administration, there was a decrease in donations when compared to fiscal year 2015.

The major source of revenues is approx 89% and made up donations, projects & shows, rental and membership fees.

EXPENSES:

With respect to expenses, total expenses varied from year to year, before we explain the variances, we will explain how we adjust for non-cash items and non-recurring onetime expenses.

The non-cash items are amortization of capital assets and capital grants. The one-time non-recurring expense is professional fees, which is mainly legal expenses incurred over the recent past years, with the majority paid in February 2016 of approx. $93,000 due to court order election and related costs. When these items are excluded, you can see the income generated on a cash basis, bringing us to an income position of $87,000 for 2016.

Legal Fees:

Please note that legal expenses incurred were for the periods January 1, 2014 up to February 29, 2016 in the amount of $177, 567.

For the period March 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016, legal fees consisted of $4,396 which was incurred to obtain the Mandir's own legal documentation from the previous directors and officers to review the $177, 567 of donations spent on legal expenses, which we still have not received. The group of former directors and officers made a collective decision to thwart the Temple's requests for its own documents and forced the temple to incur legal costs to obtain its own legal documents as the current board wanted to review the legal expenditure incurred by the previous administration of $177, 567.

We spent an amount of $2,879 incurred for an employment litigation claim brought about by one of our employed pundits.

Therefore, the total legal costs from 2014 to 2016 fiscal years are $184, 842. Please note that an amount of $27,630 for legal fees was also incurred in fiscal year 2013.

Major Expenses:

The other major expense for all years was approx $60,000 paid each year in pundit's salary and benefits. Please note on a go forward basis for year 2017 the salaries have been reduced to approx. $24,000 vs $60,000, amounting to savings of approx $36,000. Please note for year 2017 the salary would be $24,000 + an additional one-time expense of $12,000 (which was paid to one of the pundits as severance). Due to the BOD's legal commitment to keep this issue confidential, the BOD is unable to provide further details on this issue.

The other major expense is the operating cost of the building which is $67,000 annually. A Legal settlement of $40,000 was paid to Ontario Trillium Foundation in fiscal year 2014.

Financials - Balance Sheet

The cash position at FY 2016 is $182, 684 and mortgage payable of $260,568.

In March of 2014, there was a management decision made to increase the mortgage from $178,098 to $319,064 @ a 4.2% locked in interest rate. This was done to obtain a loan of $140,966. Out of this loan amount, $70,000 was placed in a locked GIC and the balance of $70,966 was used to pay the legal fees incurred in FY 2013 & 2014 & members' loans of $43,000 to the Directors and an Officer at that time.

In order to obtain this refinancing arrangement, the previous administration placed the Mandir's property as security collateral for $1.6 million to obtain the loan of $140, 966. In addition to placing the Mandir at this risk, there were personal guarantees of $650, 000 made by directors at that time for this same loan. Commissions of $10,000 were also paid to obtain the same loan.

The Mandir continued to pay interest on the $70,000 in the GIC @ 4.2% for the past 33 months which amounted to approx $8,085 to earn a meagre interest of $1,282.

Action: In 2016, the new BOD quickly negotiated with the bank to remove the personal guarantees of $650,000 made by the previous directors and also release the lock on the $70,000 in the GIC.

■ The new mortgage of $319,064 was reduced by payments of a total of $58,496 made for the fiscal years 2014 to 2016, leaving a balance of $260,568 @ fiscal year (FY) ending Dec. 31, 2016.

■ During FY 2014 -FY 2016 there were Capital Assets additions of $41,700 which includes $30,700 for the elevator (funded by special donation).

■ For the 2016 fiscal year, there were members' loans owing of $22,052. In the first quarter of 2017, members loans was paid down by $7,778 leaving a current balance of $14,274

Operations & Q1 update for 2017

■ All HST filings, T4 summary & T4 supplementary & remittances, and revised charity tax returns for years 2014 & 2015 and original for 2016 have been filed

■ Donation Tax receipts for Q1 2017 have been issued.

Measures to increase Revenues:

■ Puja Bookings initiative introduced, realizes approx, $2,000 per month, so the forecast for 2017 fiscal year has projected to generate $18,000 in additional Revenues;

■ Annual membership revenue increase by $13,000 as of May 2017, and we project another $15,000 for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year with the introduction of the policy of having all PAP members' donations being allocated to membership.

Measures to decrease Expenses:

■ Legal Expenses have been drastically reduced, from an average of $48,414 annually for 2014 to 2016 to an amount of NIL as of May 2017

■ Salaries expenses have been reduced to approx. $24,000 for 2017 compared to $60,000 for previous years, amounting to savings of approx. $36,000.

Cash & Mortgage Payable:

■ The Cash balance is currently at $199,523

■ The Mortgage Balance is at $249,942

Pending expenses:

The major expenses include the Sewer project which, our Chairman, Vishnu Sookar, has provided an update on in his Report of Directors. Additional unexpected costs:

An additional expense that we were not budgeting for was a cost of $1,163 to have 4 police officers in attendance at our annual meeting since the Durham Police seriously advised against just having 1 police Officer due to the behaviour of attendees at our last meeting held on April 17, 2016. The Police department was concerned for the police and members safety with the experience shared by the previous police officers who were in attendance last April.

Respectfully Submitted by Janack Persaud,

Director of Finance of SSDCS - Devi Mandir

On Behalf of the Board of Directors - SSDCS

June 25, 2017.

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