NSCN held its first Annual Meeting virtually on October 1, 2020. As part of ongoing opportunities for learning and enhancement, the Board and leadership of NSCN reviewed Annual Meeting processes for areas of growth, identifying that an NSCN Annual Meeting should:
- Demonstrates NSCN’s regulatory mandate, and
- Provide an enhanced experience for Annual Meeting participants.
As a regulator, NSCN exists to protect the public and the Annual Meeting is an opportunity to report our accountability as a regulator. Last year, NSCN’s first Annual Meeting was based largely on past procedures of the two legacy Colleges. These legacy procedures, including motions from the floor and various requirements for voting, in turn, had their roots in the former association structure. The revised By-laws promote NSCN’s regulatory mandate to demonstrate accountability to the public.
Establishing Annual Meeting processes that promote greater accessibility for stakeholders across the province and enhance our public accountability mandate is important to the Board and staff of NSCN Revised By-laws will allow the Board to use modern technology that improves ease of access and participant experience.
From February 26, 2021 to March 28, 2021, NSCN held a public consultation on the proposed by-law amendments relating to the Annual Meeting, and other housekeeping changes.
The consultation is required by Section 9(2) of the Nursing Act:
The Chief Executive Officer shall send a copy of a proposed by-law, or an amendment to a by-law, to each registrant in accordance with Section 162 and publish notice of a proposed by-law or amendment to a by-law on the College’s website for a minimum of 30 days with a request for feedback.
The proposed By-laws were publicly available on our website during a 30-day period. For additional clarity, the consultation included a plain language summary of the proposed changes, a rationale for the changes, and links to both the current NSCN By-laws and the proposed amended By-laws.
Every registrant received an email invitation to participate in the consultation on February 26, 2021. Registrants also received a reminder through our monthly e-newsletter on March 23, 2021 and via our social media channels, Facebook and Twitter, on March 3rd and March 26th.
Consultation Participation and Response
We requested feedback via email and received responses from seven stakeholders.
The consultation results indicate that there was majority support from stakeholders on the overall proposed by-law amendments. Out of seven respondents, only one individual expressed opposition to the proposed changes. Feedback gathered from respondents included full support for the proposed amendments and a desire to continue adherence to Robert’s Rules of Order. We also received questions asking for clarity regarding how a tie in the Board election would be resolved and whether there is a minimum number of votes required to be cast on a particular matter at the Annual Meeting.
Impact on Proposed By-law Amendments
Addressing Specific Consultation Feedback
Continued adherence to Robert’s Rules of Order
- The revised By-laws remove the requirement to adhere to Robert’s Rules of Order, allowing the Board procedure to be tailored to the unique context of a regulatory meeting.
- It avoids the risk that a meeting may inadvertently follow a procedure that is not precisely in line with Robert’s Rules of Order.
- Imposing the formal speaking requirements of Robert’s Rules of Order could pose a barrier to participation in discussions.
- Robert’s Rules of Order play a significant role in the procedure for motions, which have likewise been removed from the Annual Meeting process the revised By-laws.
- The revised By-laws allow the Board to make Meeting Rules. This revised By-Law will provide the Board the flexibility to decide for a particular meeting whether to adopt Rpbert’s Rules of Order, a modified version of Robert’s Rules of Order or another type of meeting rules that would be appropriate for the type of meeting being held.
The process to resolve a tie in the Board election
- A tie in the Board election would always be resolved by a vote of registrants. The amendment allows the tie-breaking vote to occur in a forum other than an annual or special meeting, such as a further electronic vote.
Clarity regarding a minimum number of votes required to be cast on a particular matter at the Annual Meeting
- The revised By-laws maintain the approach in the original NSCN By-laws of not setting a minimum number of required votes to be cast in order for a resolution to be passed at the Annual Meeting.
- The revised By-laws remove the process of raising motions from the floor at the Annual Meeting. As a result, the only item subject to a vote would be resolutions, which are passed at an Annual Meeting and forwarded to the Board for consideration.
- The point was carefully considered and deemed outside of the goals of improving participant experience in virtual meetings and better aligning processes with NSCN’s regulatory mandate.
Opposition to the concept of a regulator amending By-laws
- Government has granted NSCN the authority to regulate the nursing profession in the public interest.
- The Nursing Act grants the NSCN Board with the authority, “to govern, control and administer the affairs of the College and, without limiting the generality of the forgoing, may make By-laws” that are in keeping with a range of stipulations enshrined in the Nursing Act.
- Proposed By-laws and by-law revisions must be sent to all registrants made available on NSCN’s website for a minimum of 30 days in order for registrants to provide feedback. All feedback is reviewed and considered by the Board.
After full review of the feedback received during the 30-day consultation period, the Board engaged in thoughtful consideration and discussion about the matters raised at a Special Meeting held on April 7, 2021. Following this period of reflection and deliberation, the Board voted in favour of the proposed by-law revisions with respect to Annual Meetings and other housekeeping items. The updated NSCN By-laws are available online.
The NSCN 2020 Annual Meeting scheduled for May 20, 2021 will be supported by and align with the revised By-laws.