Introduction

The College of Naturopaths of Ontario has initiated a consultation on proposed changes to its by-laws. The College is seeking feedback from its Members and other stakeholders on the proposed changes.

Background

The Registrar & CEO, in concert with General Counsel to the College, recently undertook a comprehensive review of the College’s by-laws. The proposed changes may be categorized as follows:

  1. housekeeping changes;
  2. modernization changes;
  3. improving Council and College nimbleness; and
  4. increasing public participation.

For this kind of consultation, the College would typically issue a document that provides a table with the current provisions and the proposed revised provisions. Due to the extensive nature of these changes, such a table is not possible.

Instead, the proposed changes are summarized based on the four categories set out above and a redlined version of the current by-laws is below for reference.

By-law Amendments
(Adobe PDF File)

Proposed Changes

1. Housekeeping Changes

A number of housekeeping amendments are being proposed.  These are required as the by-laws have gone through a number of changes over time resulting in certain inconsistencies.  These inconsistencies are being addressed as follows:

  • “Member” is being capitalized when it is referring to a Member of the profession;
  • When the term “member” is being used in the context of a Council member or a Committee member or both, it is not capitalized;
  • Grammatically,
    • a colon is now being used consistently at the end of an introductory statement and a semi-colon after each subsection;
    • the second to last subsection in each section has “and”; and
    • the last subsection ends with a period.
  • Numbers are now being written in full, i.e. thirty, but no longer followed by the numeric value as it is not required;
  • Removing terms or references that are not necessary in order to improve readability of the by-laws;
  • Any references to “articles” have been removed in favour of “sections”.

2. Modernization

Historically, legal documents such as these by-laws have used terms like his/her or he/she when referring to persons in order to ensure that the by-laws refer to male and female genders. Societal changes now recognize that gender is no longer restricted to the male or female and in recognize new terminology for individuals who have or are transitioning or who identify as neither gender. 

In order to modernize the by-laws, all references to his/her, he/she are proposed to be replaced with more neutral pronouns of “their”, “they” and “them”.

By making these changes, Section 1.02 Singular and Plural / Masculine and Feminine is proposed to be repealed as it is no longer necessary.

3. Improving Council and College Nimbleness

Council recently accepted recommendations from the Executive Committee for significant changes to the terms of reference of Council Committees. The intent of the changes was to establish flexible composition requirements for committees. The goal is to increase the nimbleness of the Council and its Committees, and therefore the nimbleness of the College overall.

As these changes were approved by the Council, the same changes must be introduced into the by-laws for both consistency and to bring forward the same principles of nimbleness into the by-laws.

Specific changes include:

  • Where committee terms of reference had required both a minimum and a maximum number of members, one proposed change will allow the Council to appoint as many individuals as it believes are needed to meet work demands based on recommendations from the Committee.
  • Where Committee terms of reference previously required a higher number of Council members to serve on Committees (Members of the profession and Public Members appointed by the Government), these are being reduced to a minimum of one of each type of Council member to reduce the burden placed on Councilors who must sit on these Committees.
  • Where the entire Council was previously appointed to the Discipline and Fitness to Practice Committees, this has been changed to recognize that the persons who are appointed to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee are not eligible to sit on a Discipline Panel and therefore need not be appointed to these two committees.

There is also an intent to strike by-laws provisions that required a majority of Committee members to be Members of the profession. The intent of the change is both to provide the Council with maximum flexibility in terms of appointments and also to recognize that this might not be necessary in certain circumstances, such as with an Audit Committee for example, where the competencies of committee members are not related to the profession itself. 

4. Increasing Public Participation

A new provision is being introduced that will allow the Council to appoint members of the public who are not on the Council, i.e., who are not appointed by a Government Order in Council, to Committees.

There are several important principles behind this proposed change.

  • Public participation in the regulatory process is of vital importance to be able to obtain and keep public trust. Recent news articles and research indicate that public trust is waning. The College supports increased public participation as an essential requirement to improve public trust in the regulatory process.
  • The College has a number of Committees:
    • Seven statutory Committees required by legislation, and
    • Five Council Committees as based on Council’s needs.
  • On the other hand, there are only seven public Council members who are appointed by the Ontario Government. Assuming that the Council has a full complement of public appointees, each appointee must sit on a minimum of two Committees. As several committees need more than one public appointee to meet panel requirements, the reality has been that public appointees sit on at least three Committees.
  • In recent months, the number of appointees from the Ontario Government has been reduced. Presently, the Council has five appointees instead of the usual seven. This serves to further increase the workload on the public appointees serving on Council who are required to also serve on a number of Committees.
  • Finally, Committees established by the Registrar & CEO to assist in operational matters have no members of the public involved because using Council appointees would blur the lines between the functions of Council (policy) and staff (operations).

To address these issues, a new provision is proposed to be added to the by-laws under section 13.10.1 Appointment of Non-Council Members of the Public, which states:

The Council may, at its discretion, appoint members of the public who are not Council members, and who are not members of any health professions as set out in Schedule 1 of the RHPA, to any Committee except the Executive Committee.

The first part of this provision enables the Council to appoint members of the public who are not appointed to the Council by the Ontario Government.

The second part of the provision places a restriction on such appointments so that any person appointed cannot be a member of another health profession regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. This is intended to prevent any real or perceived threat that another regulated health profession might exert control on this College and the profession through the Committee appointments process.

Feedback

The College of Naturopaths of Ontario is seeking feedback from Members and all stakeholders on these proposed changes.

Feedback should be provided in writing by no later than 5 p.m. EST, Monday, June 3, 2019 as follows:

By E-mail to: registrar@collegeofnaturopaths.on.ca

By facsimile to: 416.583.6011

By mail to:

Registrar & CEO

College of Naturopaths of Ontario

150 John Street, 10th Floor

Toronto, ON  M5V 3E3