We have the right to chart our profession's future
In each election, we've heard the same old lines from candidates: We need to work as a team. We need to manage our money wisely. We need to be more relevant. We must protect the public. We are obligated to ensure competence of our practitioners.
All very true. But why does our Council persist in thinking the members—who own this profession—cannot be trusted to choose the best course for their profession? It's an issue which underpins all the other issues, and keeps popping up every few years. ("Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.") Read my 1998 letter to the Attorney-General.
I am alarmed that recent Councils have forgotten that we are a member-directed, self-regulating profession. A few years ago, Council adopted a new Strategic Plan which did not even list the members as a stakeholder in our profession! The "consultations" with the members about the "PEAK" Compulsory "Professional Development" were little more than dog-and-pony shows by the program's proponents. No equivalent presentation of the opposing view was allowed. In the meantime, Council secured changes in the Regulation allowing it to impose decisions on the members—without securing their approval. In 2020, Council approved a report from consultant Harry Cayton and colleagues, then, bypassing input and approval from the members, adopted it and created a "roadmap" to implement it! The consultants whined that candidates in our elections dared to have "populist" platforms which impeded the conversion. Elections keep getting in the way of their plans, and some would like to do away with them!
Council has the power to implement changes about how it operates. It does not have the right to make major structural changes to the profession without explicit approval from the members who comprise the Association.
There may very well come a time when we might discuss changing the nature of our professional regulation, but that change must come from the bottom up, not be dictated from the top down. We might even decide to turn the whole thing over to the provincial government, and let them run it, as is done in U.S. states. Or, we might change over to the system of some jurisdictions, where you simply pay 45 $, and are issued a licence, sort of like licensing your car or your dog! Our members have become so disengaged that last year's participation in our elections dropped to 12 %, down from 16 % just a few years ago!
We have not yet come to the point where we all have given up on PEO, however, but I am troubled that almost all of the present Council and some of this year's candidates seem blissfully ignorant of the dangerous path we are continuing on. They have been obsessed with "governance" and divesting their duties to external, well-paid "consultants", while neglecting valuable input from member volunteers, chapters, and committees. Perhaps this agreeableness and deference among councillors while "Rome is burning" is what alarms me the most. Groupthink is the last thing a profession in trouble needs!
Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact me.