I am not sure where the last year has gone as it has been a busy and eventful time for the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta and its Council.
The College Council has spent much of 2022 preparing for the changes to health profession regulation incurred with the Health Statutes Amendment Act (also referred to as Bill 46). Under this Act, Colleges were encouraged to consider whether their governance practices reflect the mandate of a regulator with a sole focus on protecting and advancing the public interest. Changes in this Act resulted in moving to a single mandate organization with the separation of the College and the Association.
In addition to this change, Council made the decision in late 2022 to move towards competency-based Council appointments, rather than elections to fill future regulated member vacancies. Many regulatory colleges in Alberta have explored and are planning to transition or have transitioned to competency-based appointments. By removing the election process, it is expected to reduce the perception that regulated members serving on Council are elected to represent their peers and the interests of the profession. In addition, the change to a competency-based appointments should also increase transparency of the Council member selection process for all stakeholders and, by 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.
The College 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 public members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council in accordance with the Health Professions Act. Historically, the College has held an election each spring to fill two regulated member Council vacancies, with new Council members beginning their terms in June. Under the new 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.
If the last year is any indication, we will continue to see changes in the regulatory landscape in Alberta. I encourage eligible registrants, who are interested in physiotherapy regulation and protection of the public interest, to consider submitting an expression of interest to become a member of the College Council. Additional information will be posted on the College website in the coming weeks.
Wishing you all a healthy 2023,
Melissa Merritt, BScPT, MHM