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Dental Surgeons of Ontario
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Council Highlights - June 18, 2020

The 422nd meeting of the RCDSO Council – and the first ‘virtual meeting’ of Council - was held June 18th, 2020.

RCDSO President Flavio Turchet welcomed Council members, guests and RCDSO staff to the meeting.  He noted that this was the 63rd and final Council meeting for Registrar Irwin Fefergrad, who announced his plans to retire late last year. Flavio spoke of the many contributions made by Irwin during his twenty year tenure as Registrar and CEO. Flavio told Council that, under Irwin’s leadership, the RCDSO has become recognized as a leader in regulation in Canada and around the world.

In his Executive Committee Report, Flavio described recent work on governance at the College, including developing competencies for eligibility.

Council members are not currently in favour of eliminating the elected model for Council, but they have fully endorsed the notion of enhancing the current eligibility requirements to include competencies.

Once the competencies are met for a member to run for election to Council, they would not have to be reviewed again unless the competencies were modified from the first time they were met. Competencies will be reviewed and modified by Council, if required, from time to time. 

Proposed by-law amendments were circulated via on the College’s website for feedback. There were no substantive comments and the Executive Committee made the following recommendation:

THAT Council amend the College’s by-laws so that they would apply to the next Council election in December 2020 and any new selection of a selected Council Member.

One outcome from the governance exercise was that the Registrar interviewed all current Council members, some other national and international regulator, and staff to obtain feedback on what competencies are required to make a good Council member. Effective regulation depends on the professionals involved. The Executive Committee discussed whether public members on Council should meet the same competencies as are being suggested for elected and selected Council. This will be a decision for the Ministry of Health to make.

Council approved three Core Competencies - Values and Behaviour, Relevant Knowledge, and Skills and Abilities as the Competency Requirements that must be met to be eligible to run for Election or to be selected to Council.

Clint Shingler, Director, Health System Emergency Management Branch Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) addressed the meeting.  He spoke about the evolution of approaches to the COVID-19 crisis and noted that, while Ontario seems to be steadily improving at the moment there is still great concern about the potential for subsequent ‘waves’ of the virus through the province and the resultant impact on our health care system. The CMOH’s office is developing possible scenarios for the future. One key concern is the arrival of flu season and how individuals may find it difficult to differentiate between the respiratory symptoms of the different viruses. He said the Ministry of Health and other health care system partners are working to be ready for whatever happens.

The Audit Committee presented the audited 2019 Financial Statements for the College. Although the College’s financial position in 2019 was secure there is concern about the impacts of the current pandemic on members and the College.

In the meantime, the College continues to operate on a work from home/remote basis. The suspension of some court activities has delayed discipline proceedings. However, virtual panels continue to sit. College staff have been kept extremely busy in continuing to provide services to members and information to the public. Call and email volume is up many times over pre-pandemic numbers. Direction from the Government of Ontario has been evolving as conditions have changed. 

Each time that happens, College guidance must change to match the new direction.  Dentists were permitted to open for non-essential care across most of the province at the time of the meeting. It is expected that more changes to protocols and policies will be needed and new information emerges. While ‘business as usual’ is not expected at the College for some time yet, Council was told that the RCDSO continues to successfully meet its statutory mandate.

The next Meeting of Council is planned for Tuesday, November 17, 2020 in Toronto.