CMTBC’s 2017 Annual General Meeting was held Saturday, April 29, 2017 at the Sandman Signature Vancouver Airport Hotel & Resort in Richmond. The following includes:
As part of the College’s commitment to provide more and better communication and transparency, CMTBC documented the AGM by video, prepared detailed summaries of registrant resolutions and the CMTBC Board’s responses to them, and provided thorough responses to registrant questions.
The following are videos taken at the AGM. The videos have been slightly edited to remove breaks in the proceedings and portions where procedural instructions were being given to those in attendance.
This year, in preparation for the College’s 2017 AGM, the Board decided to take a new approach to registrants’ resolutions. In contrast to previous years, in which resolutions were voted on as matters for debate, the Board decided in advance of the AGM that each resolution was worthy of consideration. Therefore the Board decided it would consider each resolution delivered to the College in accordance with the Bylaws, except for resolutions that were withdrawn or voted down at the AGM.
As announced at the AGM, the Board considered some of the resolutions at its June 23, 2017 meeting (its first meeting following the AGM), and considered the remaining resolutions at its September 15, 2017 meeting. The Board considered the following resolutions on June 23, 2017:
“Registration Renewal Reminders” (Moved by Tilman von der Linde)
Summary of resolution: (1) That CMTBC adjust the registration renewal deadline to reflect the registration expiry date of December 31, and (2) That CMTBC conduct the process of registration renewal by sending out an email notice on November 1 informing registrants that registration renewals are now being accepted, followed by two friendly registration renewal reminder notices by email within 30 days prior to the registration renewal deadline.
CMTBC Board response: The Board reviewed and considered the resolution, but decided that no formal motion was needed in light of staff’s commitment to providing a higher level of renewal reminders for the 2018 renewal period. The Board also noted that, as communicated by the Registrar at the AGM, this higher level of communication would be facilitated by the new registrant database and online portal, and would include personalized reminders during the renewal period for 2018.
The Board also discussed whether the renewal deadline should be moved to December 31 (instead of December 15) as proposed, but was of the view that this was not necessary and that it would create operational challenges for the College and registrants. The Board declined to change the renewal deadline.
“Pre-Requisites for Entry into a Massage Therapy Program in British Columbia” (Moved by Anne Horng)
Summary of resolution: That the CMTBC Board work with RMTBC and educational stakeholders to reintroduce pre-requisites as admission requirements to all recognized massage therapy programs in British Columbia.
CMTBC Board response: The Board reviewed and considered the resolution, and agreed with the information provided at the AGM that the College has no legal jurisdiction to impose pre-requisite requirements on massage therapy programs. Massage therapy education programs operate under the authority of the Ministry of Advanced Education, not under the authority of the College or of the Ministry of Health (the College’s supervising ministry). For this reason, the Board determined that no further action would be taken on this resolution.
“Quality Assurance Program” (Moved by Anne Horng)
Summary of resolution: (1) That the CMTBC Board direct staff to hire a recognized expert in quality assurance for a health care profession, and (2) That the expert research, consult, and make recommendations to the Board as to the development of a new Quality Assurance program that reflects the professional responsibilities of RMTs.
CMTBC Board response: The Board reviewed and considered the resolution. Staff members indicated that the College will communicate changes to its Quality Assurance program to registrants in more detail. The Board received a report from staff regarding a meeting with RMTBC to discuss cooperation on Quality Assurance, and were advised that the meeting was positive, and that the College and RMTBC will continue to hold discussions about upcoming changes to the Quality Assurance program. The Board determined that these actions were responsive to the concerns set out in the resolution.
“Consultation and Collaboration between RMTBC and CMTBC” (Moved by Anne Horng)
Summary of resolution: (1) That CMTBC engage in meaningful dialogue and collaboration with RMTBC specifically on the development of revised Standards of Practice, and (2) that the CMTBC Board direct staff to engage in ongoing consultation with RMTBC on all issues of mutual concern regarding, but not limited to, practice requirements, continuing education requirements, and registration requirements.
CMTBC Board response: The Board reviewed and considered the resolution. The Board noted that there has been increased communication between the College and the RMTBC. The wording of the resolution raised some concerns, as collaboration with a professional association should, from a regulator’s perspective, only take place where the collaboration serves a regulatory purpose and assists in carrying out the regulatory mandate. Regulators are already under scrutiny by the public and by the government, both of whom are alert to the possibility that a regulator is acting to further the interests of the profession it regulates, rather than the public interest. However, the Board agreed with the spirit of the resolution and intends to continue to seek opportunities to engage in collaboration and communication with RMTBC where this serves to fulfill the College’s regulatory mandate. With respect to standards of practice for the profession, the Board felt that this was a key regulatory function and that it was not appropriate for a professional association to play a substantial role in the initial development of new standards of practice, although consultation on draft standards would be appropriate once the standards have been sufficiently developed, but before they are finalized.
“CECs for Upcoming Cycle 12 Change” (Moved by Linda Ann Farruggia)
Summary of resolution: (1) That CMTBC, and specifically the Quality Assurance Committee, investigate and recommend that CMTBC have registrants complete 12 professional and 12 practical CECs in Cycle 12 and in future cycles, and (2) That the Board amend the current Bylaws as well as direct staff to investigate the continuing education programs of health care professions in British Columbia.
CMTBC Board response: The Board reviewed and considered the resolution. Dr. Marilynne Waithman, Chair of the Quality Assurance Committee, advised that the Quality Assurance Committee will discuss Cycle 12 at its next meeting and provide a more detailed framework for Cycle 12. The outcome of this work will be communicated to registrants as it is finalized.
The balance of the resolutions (except for those withdrawn or voted down at the AGM) will be considered by the Board at its meeting on September 15, 2017 and will be reported on in early to mid-October.
Prior to the presentation and discussion of the resolutions, registrants who attended the AGM heard reports from CMTBC Board Chair Catherine Ryan, Registrar Eric Wredenhagen, Director of Finance and Operations Monica Winter, and CMTBC’s auditor, Donna Diskos of Grant Thornton LLP. Following these reports, registrants asked questions about the information that was presented, and the College committed to answering questions on the CMTBC website if they could not be answered immediately at the AGM.
The following are the answers to questions asked at the AGM that could not be fully answered at that time because more information was needed to answer the questions correctly and completely. Because in some cases more than one question was asked about the same subject (e.g. 2016 operating expenses), the questions below are not attributed to individuals. In some cases, for clarity, two or three questions that overlapped may have been amalgamated into a single question. However, the answers aim to respond to every substantive inquiry made at the AGM.
1. Question: Can you provide a breakdown of office expenses for 2015 and 2016?
Answer: The following table provides a breakdown of office expenses. Please note that these are presented as they were recorded at the time, not as CMTBC will be recording and reporting financial matters going forward. (See answer to Question 2 below.)
|Business Fees & Licenses||$21,587.67||$18,330.31|
|Computer Software & Hardware||$37,064.21||$16,717.42|
|Courier & Postage||$20,655.21||$13,214.88|
|Criminal Record Checks||$200.00||$28.00|
|Parking & Mileage||$7,879.05||$6,630.91|
|Petty Cash Over/Short||$10.04||$12.03|
|Repairs & Maintenance||$985.60||$504.00|
|Telephone & Internet||$10,054.86||$10,472.89|
2. Question: Why was there an increase in office expenses of over $70,000 between 2015 and 2016?
Answer: As a number of registrants noted, CMTBC’s reported operating expenses were reported as $277,025.45 for 2015, and $348,018.11 for 2016, an increase of $70,992.66 – about 25.6% – over the course of one year. Understandably, there is interest in knowing what caused this large apparent increase in costs.
Once we looked closely at the numbers, however, it became clear that what looked like a large increase was actually a by-product of CMTBC’s (former) accounting practices. Here’s what happened. Looking at the 2015 and 2016 numbers broken down by expense category, it is clear that the largest increases occurred in just two categories: “Computer Software & Hardware” and “Computer Support”. The increases in these two categories alone added up to $60,398.10, accounting for 85% of the overall increase in operating expenses between 2015 and 2016.
When we dug further into these categories, it became clear that what looked like a large increase occurred because CMTBC was, for the first time in 2016, calculating expenses related to its new Brightspace learning management system (LMS) as operating expenses, rather than as capital expenses – which is how the LMS costs had been recorded in 2015, the year that the LMS was acquired. The Brightspace LMS was licenced from Desire2Learn (D2L) corporation in 2015, as an online learning platform that was used first for CMTBC’s Law, Ethics and Professionalism course (part of the entry-to-practice examination that graduates must write to become RMTs). Subsequently, in 2016, CMTBC developed continuing education credit courses on the LMS. The costs of LMS licensing, support, and course technical development costs were all included in the “Computer Software & Hardware” and “Computer Support” categories for 2016.
In 2015, these same costs had been recorded as capital costs, so there was zero operating expense associated with D2L or online course development in 2015. This “capitalization” meant that LMS-related expenses appeared in the 2015 financial statements under the heading, “Amortization of Intangible Assets.” This was considered an acceptable accounting practice, on the basis that they there were set-up expenses for a new program. However, this decision caused an apparent sudden sharp rise in 2016 “Office Expenses”, when the LMS costs were treated as part of the operating budget for the first time.
One thing that is evident is that neither the capitalization of LMS costs in 2015, nor their characterization as “Computer Software & Hardware” and “Computer Support” operating expenses in 2016 (or as “Office Expenses”, for that matter), makes it clear and obvious to registrants what their money is being spent on. Since the purpose of the LMS is ultimately to support CMTBC’s statutory mandates in the areas of registration (the entry-to-practice examination) and quality assurance and continuing competence (online courses and assessments), expenses relating to online courses will be clearly accounted for, and divided between, those two budget areas.
CMTBC is committed to increased transparency in its accounting, and has committed to working on ways to make its expenditures clearer and more understandable to registrants.
In terms of other increases between 2015 and 2016, smaller but still noteworthy increases occurred in the categories of “Advertising” (from $524.05 in 2015 to $3264.19 in 2016) and “Courier & Postage” (from $13,214.88 in 2015 to $20,655.21 in 2016). The increase in the “Advertising” category related primarily to advertising in connection with the recruitment of a new Registrar in 2016, following the resignation of the former Registrar. The increase in “Courier & Postage” occurred primarily due to an increase in the amount of metered postage (regular mail) being sent out, which is the main component of the total cost item: in 2015, CMTBC sent out $11,550 of metered postage; in 2016, that amount increased to $18,900. While that is a significant increase, it appears that between $2,000 to $3,000 of the increase may be due to 2016 being (unlike 2015) a year in which a CE cycle ends; in the previous cycle-ending year, 2014, the metered postage amount was $13,650, significantly higher than 2015. Further elements contributing to an increase are increased numbers of registrants overall, as well as a steady increase in the number of complaints from the public requiring a regulatory response under the Health Professions Act. The College will continue to monitor these costs and look for ways to contain them, including increased use of electronic communications wherever possible.
Finally, “Meeting Expenses” increased from $2,295.31 in 2015 to $7,936.93 in 2016, largely as a consequence of increased costs for the AGM resulting from the move from a public venue (Vancouver General Hospital) to a private one (Inn at the Quay). The College looked into the possibility of using VGH in 2017, but was advised that VGH would not guarantee availability for a specific date. Also considered was registrant convenience in being able to attend the CMTBC and RMTBC AGMs on the same date.
3. Question: Can you explain what costs are captured in the “Ensuring Continuing Competence” category?
Answer: The total amount of $105,176.40 included an attributed amount of $27,900 for staff salaries and benefits as an accounting estimate of the value of staff time spent on continuing competence matters. However, this was not an actual out-of-pocket expense for the College; rather, it was an accounting attribution, since staff salaries had to be paid in any event. Deducting the salary amount leaves $77,276.40, the majority of which ($73,174.40) was spent on content and technical development of CMTBC’s online continuing education courses. The balance was spent on Quality Assurance Committee meeting expenses and committee member remuneration.
As with its office expenses, in future CMTBC will report its expenses in a way that more clearly relates them to its statutory mandate, and provides more clarity and transparency to registrants.