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New board president wants PTS to be the queer centre of Ottawa

Robert Crevier says conflicts of the past have made way for a strong, diverse board at PTS

Robert Crevier was elected president of the board of directors at PTS’s AGM in October 2013. Credit: Adrienne Ascah

Robert Crevier is happy to be at the helm of the PTS board.

He was elected president of the board of directors at PTS’s AGM in October when acting president Doug Saunders-Riggins stepped down from his post to allow himself more personal time.

Crevier’s volunteer work in Ottawa’s queer community dates back to 1995, when he served on the Ottawa Police Service’s LGBT liaison committee, and in 1996 he was a member of the Capital Pride committee.

As a patient-care assistant at the Ottawa Hospital in the neurosurgery program, he works 12-hour shifts, so he took some time off from volunteering, but when PTS was facing troubles with board-member resignations and infighting in 2012, he attended the AGM and was elected to the board.

The resignations and conflicts of the past have made way for a strong, diverse board, and its members are invested in making PTS grow and thrive, he says.

“To me, PTS is family,” he says. “It’s a place where you’re comfortable around — I don’t want to say your own kind, but people of the same interests or similar interests. It’s a comfortable, safe environment.”

In addition to providing a supportive environment and diverse community resources, it’s vital that PTS is financially sound, Crevier says.

“I think the most important thing about being president is to make sure that the financial house is in order for the members, that we have sustainable core funding and that we increase our membership base so that we can eventually reach our strategic plan,” he says.

The strategic plan will be unveiled later this month, with part of the plan focusing on health, primarily HIV and mental health, he says.

With Crevier’s focus on strong finances, one of the first things he did as president was to elect a fundraising chairperson.

“For an organization that’s been around as long as it has, I’m surprised PTS didn’t have a committee dealing exclusively with fundraising,” Crevier says. “This committee is looking at things like sustainable funding, whether it’s through unions or community groups and other alternative sources of revenue.”

PTS also has a community engagement committee that meets once a month and hopes to collaborate with the Bank Street Business Improvement Area, he says. The Bank St BIA’s jurisdiction includes the Village, which is within walking distance of PTS’s Cooper Street location.

Just as Crevier enjoys working with his fellow board members, he also likes to go to community events. Community engagement will be key for PTS to attract new members, he says.

“I think the president should be very visible in the community and should be an engaging kind of individual who can outreach to the community and show up at all the events possible and represent PTS in a diplomatic way,” Crevier says.

From LGBT support groups to socializing, from outreach to educational resources like the Dr Kelly McGinnis Library, PTS has a lot to offer, and as board president, Crevier hopes the new year will bring in many new members.

“The primary goal of PTS is to be the queer centre of Ottawa,” he says.