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Oct 17, 2023

Governance Updates and Reform at COTO

Governance modernization has been a significant priority for the College since 2020.  In the absence of legislative reform, our Board of Directors began to implement changes to the governance structure through bylaw changes to align with best practices.

With all these changes, we are sharing more information and in the near future, new opportunities for registrants to get involved and make a difference.

Some key reforms approved by the Board include:

Titles and Terminology

  • We changed titles and terminology to eliminate the potential for confusion and to enhance public and professional understanding of the role of the College.
  • For example:
    • Council was changed to the "Board of Directors"
    • President was changed to "Chair of the Board of Directors"
    • Member was changed to "registrant".

Eligibility and Disqualification Requirements

  • We expanded the eligibility and disqualification requirements for both Directors and Committee appointees.
  • This includes adding a “cooling-off” period and making a mandatory orientation module part of the election and appointment process.

New Governance and Finance & Audit Committees

  • We redefined the role of the Executive Committee by delegating work to our newly created Board Committees: Governance and Finance and Audit Committees.

Reducing the Size of the Board

  • We are gradually reducing the size of the Board of Directors to achieve a greater balance between elected professional directors (occupational therapists) and public directors (appointed by the government).
  • This is achieved by redistributing the electoral districts from six to three.
  • This ensures a balance between professional and public directors. The new electoral districts also more evenly redistribute the number of registrants in each district.
  • This will allow for a broader range of expertise and competencies on the Board, and help strengthen public confidence in the regulatory system.

Board and Committee Competency Frameworks

  • The College has developed a Board Competency Framework and a corresponding Committee Competency Framework
  • They support our new competency-based process for selecting Board and Committee members. Candidates are also screened by an independent Nominations Committee
  • The Nominations Committee ensures that candidates have the necessary competencies to support the right mix of knowledge, skills, and experience to serve on our Board and committees.

Separating the Board and Committees

  • By April 1, 2024, we will eliminate the overlap in membership between Board and statutory committees. 
  • This means that Board Directors will only serve on the Board and that committee members will only serve on Committees.
  • The competencies required to make decisions at the committee level is different than the competencies needed for organizational oversight. 
  • Separating committee membership from the Board will enhance the integrity and independence of both groups.

These governance reforms reflect emerging best practice. They demonstrate the profession's and the College’s ongoing commitment to the public. The Board believes these changes are critical to modernizing health regulatory governance in a rapidly changing healthcare landscape.