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By-Laws Amendments: Election of Executive Committee and Annual General Meeting

Status: Closed
Feedback Deadline: September 08, 2023

Report on Consultation

Consultation Period: July 6, 2023 until September 8, 2023

Submissions: 28 submissions

What is the Issue

Executive Committee Elections

In December 2022, during the Executive Committee election, there was a tie for one position on the Executive Committee after the first round of voting. The current By-Laws, in Section 6 (Election of Officers), state a tie must be broken by lot (pulling a name from a hat) by the Registrar after a first tie. The current set of By-Laws were approved in 2018 and there has not been a need to test the rules for a tie until now.

The current rule for breaking a tie seemed to interfere with a more natural process of allowing a second round of voting to determine if the tie could be broken after additional commentary from the candidates. College Council directed a legal review of this section of the By-Laws. College Council was presented with a change to the mechanism used to break a tie in order to assure a more robust opportunity for College Council to make their final selection. 

Following review of the By-Laws and advice from College’s legal partners, College Council was provided with proposed with language that saw the opportunity for two rounds of voting, rather than one, when a tie between two candidates exists. The proposed change would afford for a more fulsome process in the event of a tie.

Annual General Meeting

The requirement to hold an annual meeting of members was linked to the College’s obligations as a body corporate under the Not-For-Profit Corporations Act. In 2021, the Veterinarians Act was amended to remove any obligation of the College to hold meetings of members, which is consistent with regulatory organizations across Ontario. As a result, all sections of the By-Laws that apply to an annual meeting of members are no longer required.

In June 2023, College Council was presented with proposed changes to the By-Laws Sections 1, 4, 21, and 22. These changes would see the elimination of the requirement for the College Council to hold an Annual General Meeting of Members. 

The amendments would align the College with its statutory obligations consistent with the Veterinarians Act. The amendments would assist in assuring that College Council has final approval of the annual financial audit, and that the section on an annual member meeting along with the rules for that session be removed as the obligation no longer exists. With these changes finalized, the By-Laws would be in alignment with other legislation. In recognizing this change, College Council has already committed to holding interactive sessions periodically with licensed members to help facilitate a two-way exchange on current topics concerning the practice of veterinary medicine in Ontario.

As per College By-Laws, this proposed wording was circulated to members and available on the website for comment for 60 days.

What We Heard 

Major Themes 

  1. General agreeance to changing the election process.
  2. Suggested amendments to the proposed wording to include the Past President rather than the Registrar break the tie by lot when necessary.
  3. Strong disapproval of the elimination of an Annual General Meeting

Sample Comments

The following quotes, summarized from comments received, reflect suggestions received through the College consultation: 

  • I agree with the changes to by laws that would affect a tie between candidates for the executive committee. Leaving this situation up to a draw is not democracy.
  • I AGREE with the First Proposed By-Laws Amendment Section 6: Election of the Executive Committee - there should be a second vote in event of a tie. I DISAGREE with the Second Proposed By-Laws Amendments Sections 1, 4, 21, 22: Elimination of the annual meeting of members - we should not eliminate the opportunity for members to participate in an annual general meeting whether it be virtual or in person there should be an option.
  • In the event of a tie for an election, a discussion and second round of voting is a more reasonable way to decide who gets the position than drawing a name from a hat. It is of upmost [sic] importance to decide whomever is more suitable.
  •  I believe that in the event of a tie that the Immediate past president should act as the tie breaker and not the registrar.
  • I do not agree with removing the annual meeting for members. CVO has already separated itself from the membership to the point of losing practicality at times. Removing the meeting results in even less accountability to the members.
  • I believe that an annual general meeting should be continued whether or not it is required by law. It allows members to attend a meeting, and to be kept abreast of what is happening. I believe that it should be a forum where members can ask questions in a setting that other members have access to. Why the need to not have an AGM? It seems like an act of secrecy.
Council Direction and Decision

In September 2023, consultation feedback was presented to College Council for its review and consideration. This feedback was accompanied by additional information that the College had received from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA). 

Following discussion, College Council directed that the Executive Committee Elections by-laws be approved as amended, with the change from the Registrar to the Past President as the individual who breaks a final tie by lot. College Council also directed that the Annual General Meeting by-laws be approved as presented, seeing the removal of the Annual General Meeting. College Council did, however, reaffirm its commitment to hosting other opportunities for licensed members to engage with the College.