Updated November 2020
In December 2018, the Board of Directors initially approved the decision to review the governance structure of the College in an effort to support the strengthening of public trust in the ability of the College to regulate the profession in the public interest as well as respond to international, Canadian and provincial trends regarding best practices in self-regulation.
In the subsequent meetings throughout the year (June 2019 and September 2019), the Board considered and approved changes related to Board composition, competencies, and selection, as well as remuneration and composition of committees, to allow for drafting of a new By-law. The required By-law changes were presented to the Board in December 2019 and posted for public consultation. In March 2020, the Board ratified the new By-law (see the meeting materials, including briefing note, here).
Why Was Governance Renewal a Priority?
- Strengthening public confidence
Regulating the profession in the public interest is a privilege granted to Ontario’s health regulatory colleges by the provincial government; with that privilege comes a responsibility to ensure the College does all that it can to build and strengthen public confidence in our work.
- Acting proactively to reflect emerging best practices
The Board felt it should be proactive in its efforts to evolve how it functions in order to continue to appropriately and effectively meet its obligations, which includes a growing commitment to ensure that the College’s and Board’s activities reflect the diversity of issues and needs of the patient population that we serve. By reflecting the emerging best practices in health regulatory governance, as seen nationally and internationally, the Board believes that these changes are an important opportunity to demonstrate the profession’s and the College’s ongoing commitment to the public and our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing healthcare landscape.
- Aligning with ongoing work at other health regulators
The focus on governance reform also aligns with ongoing work at the College of Nurses of Ontario (Vision 2020) and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. In addition, it recognizes that the Ontario Ministry of Health has maintained an interest in ensuring that regulatory frameworks strengthen the accountability of health regulatory colleges, and has recently confirmed its support for ensuring that health professions are overseen by a modern and effective regulatory framework.
- Taking a leadership role in evolving the sector
By taking a leadership role and committing to governance reform, the Board firmly believes that the College’s mandate will be better served and that it will continue to be an effective governing body entrusted with an important responsibility in our society.
While the College has taken the steps to implement best practices, there is still an ongoing commitment to continue to work with the Health Professions Regulators of Ontario (HPRO) and the Advisory Group for Regulatory Excellence (AGRE) to develop options for legislative changes to support governance reform in Ontario’s health regulatory colleges and applicable legislation. This partnership allows the College to join other regulatory leaders to proactively work with government to support change, rather than having changes imposed on the sector.
Key Changes to Governance
The changes made to the governance structure of the College can be broadly classified into four categories.
1. Reduction in Board size to allow for parity between professional and public members
- The total number of Board members was reduced from 28 to 20 (which is the minimum required by the Pharmacy Act). The makeup of the Board is now: nine elected members (two pharmacy technicians), nine public members (appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of Ontario) and the two deans of the Universities (University of Toronto and University of Waterloo).
- This allows for parity between public members and elected professional members, with the intent of ensuring that decisions at the Board are made with a balance of perspectives.
2. Shift to a competency-based council from a regionally based one
- Pharmacy professionals elected to the Board are not there to represent their voting constituents, but rather to ensure that the public interest is served.
- To reinforce this, there has been a shift from the current geographical districts to ensuring that the professional members elected to the Board have experience serving various patient populations, such as acute, rural, community, hospital, Indigenous, northern and others.
- Additionally, the Board has established key competencies to guide the qualification of pharmacy professionals to run for election.
- A more robust and transparent qualification process to run for election, including the screening of applications by a Screening Committee for the key competencies and experiences, has been put into place.
3. Separation of Council and statutory committees
- The mandates of the Board and committees (such as ICRC, Accreditation, and Quality Assurance etc.) are different and require different competencies. The Board is focused on governing and setting policies while committees are charged with applying those policies and adjudicating matters.
- The Board appoints all elected professional members to the Discipline Committee, as it is the only statutory committee where legislation requires elected members. Additionally, only two public members are appointed to each statutory committee for which public members are mandatory under legislation.
- In order to maintain the public voice on committees, as well as reduce the significant demand on the nine government-appointed public members, the College is recruiting and appointing lay members to committees as needed. Lay committee appointees are selected using the same competency-based recruitment and screening process as professional committee appointments and receive the same honorarium as professional committee appointees.
4. Other changes, including term limits, terminology and introduction of an honorarium
- Elected Board members are limited to a maximum of two consecutive three year terms in order to ensure that fresh perspectives are brought to the table regularly, while also respecting the need for continuity and transition planning.
- The name of the governing body is now the Board of Directors (previously it was named Council), with individual members referred to as Directors. The President is now known as the Chair and the Vice-President as the Vice Chair. In alignment with this change, and in recognition of the College’s relationship to pharmacy professionals, members are now referred to as “registrants.”
- Additionally, the Board and committee members have begun to receive a taxable honorarium for time spent on College work in accordance with common practice followed by other health colleges and public members appointed to the Board by the Lieutenant Governor.