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Sep 15
Are the College's Bylaws "old school"?

The membership of the College Board has changed significantly: 14 out of 18 board members joined the Board since July 2016. With this in mind the Board has done something incredibly brave. We have hired an independent consultant to set up a board self-evaluation process. This will allow the Board to function at the highest level possible in fulfilling our responsibility, authority and oversight in the College's sole mandate of public protection. We are also developing an evaluation process to assess and develop the skills of the Board's sole employee: the Registrar/CEO.

One major item that the Board will be tackling is a rewrite of the College's Bylaws. We have set up a Bylaws Working Group to recommend revisions to the bylaws that will promote clarity and transparency in our governance and regulatory process. We are also paying close attention to what is happening with other regulatory boards in B.C., across Canada, and around the world.

When we compare ourselves to the best practices among regulators in other jurisdictions, Bylaw Part 2 (College Board) that outlines board composition, size and election process appears "old school." While there is nothing wrong with "old school," it behooves us to look into what changes could make the Board function better.

There are consistent elements that I see in the evolution of board size, composition, elections and succession planning. Boards are getting smaller to be more nimble and efficient. Sizes of 9-12 seem to be the norm. Elections are changing from regional representation to more qualification-based representation that enlist certain skill sets. Succession planning is most often accomplished with the president or chair being voted for by the Board who, in turn, are voted in by the registrants.

My first year as president involved more than 40 hours per week of study to bring myself up to speed. The presidency position was designed to allow a practising dentist to take one day a week out of his or her practice to manage College affairs. This role was not designed to require a dentist to devote five or even six days a week to College activities.

It would not be fair to expect a working dentist to parachute into the presidency without knowledge or history of the College. For this reason, I am a strong advocate of some sort of succession plan. A succession plan could be something as simple as a president-elect as we see with the BCDA or, of the many variations on a theme, it could be election of a president or chair from the Board.

Do you have thoughts about possible changes to Bylaw Part 2 (College Board)? This will be a discussion topic at the fall 2017 listening sessions in Vancouver (25 September), Kelowna (19 October) and Prince George (15 November).

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