Council voted to amend the College’s Bylaws to adopt a competency-based appointment process to select new Council members.
Council is composed of individuals who govern the physiotherapy profession in the public interest, including six regulated members of the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta and the number of public members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council in accordance with the Health Professions Act. Council terms are staggered to facilitate continuity of Council operations and decision-making, with the terms of two of the regulated members serving on Council ending each year.
Historically, the College has held an election each spring to fill the two regulated member Council vacancies, with new Council members beginning their terms in June.
What are Competency-Based Appointments?
Under a competency-based appointment process, each year the skills, knowledge, and attributes of existing Council members will be assessed to determine where gaps may exist as the terms of the two regulated members serving on Council expire. Council will then recruit individuals to fill the two vacancies, focusing on filling the gaps identified during the assessment process.
Approximately one-third of health profession regulatory Colleges in Alberta have initiated or have already implemented a competency-based appointment process for the selection of their Council. In Spring of 2022, Council conducted a similar process to identify the inaugural board of the Alberta Association of Physiotherapy.
Why is the College moving in this direction?
The Health Statutes Amendment Act (also referred to as Bill 46) introduced sweeping changes to health profession regulation in Alberta, including the requirement that the College cease association functions. Under this Act, Colleges were also encouraged to carefully consider whether their governance practices reflect the mandate of a regulator with a sole focus on protecting and advancing the public interest.
One of the drivers for the changes seen with the Health Statutes Amendment Act was a concern that regulators were not acting in the public interest. Removing the election process helps to reduce the perception that regulated members serving on Council are elected to represent their peers and the interests of the profession.
As a regulatory College, all Council members are required to protect and advance the public interest. It is the role of the professional association to serve the interests of the profession.
How will this improve College governance?
The move to competency-based appointments is anticipated to have several benefits.
The main benefit is that a change to competency-based appointments increases transparency of the Council member selection process for all stakeholders and increases public confidence that the College is acting in the public interest and not in the interests of the profession.
Through the competency-based appointment process, new Council members who posses the skills, knowledge, and attributes to fill identified gaps will be selected, resulting in a Council with a broad set of competencies. This breadth of skills, knowledge, and attributes will help to ensure a high-functioning Council.
In addition to increasing the diversity of competencies of Council members, it is anticipated that the appointment process will also increase the diversity of the regulated members serving on Council in a more general sense.
Finally, moving in this direction helps to create an objective and fair process for regulated members of the profession to apply for a position on Council.
How can registrants become involved?
Eligible registrants who are interested in serving on Council will be asked to submit an expression of interest, identifying the competencies they bring to fill the identified competency gaps.
Why is this being announced now?
The College is informing registrants of the change now as, in past years, the notice that nominations were open and the election dates were announced in the month of December.
What comes next?
College staff are currently working to operationalize this change. In the coming months, the College will provide updates on the details of the change and the steps to follow to apply to become a Council member. More information will be made available on the College website.