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Governance Referendum: Smaller Board, Broader Representation

December 6, 2016

How a system is designed can dramatically affect how well it works. Over the last decade, there have been a number of reviews and proposals for change to the Doctors of BC governance structure; some initiated by the Board, some by individual members. 

Governance (structures, systems, and processes) determines how well your voice is heard, how well we respond to your needs, and how we are held accountable to you, our members. Recent proposals have received significant levels of voter participation indicating an appetite for change. 

A referendum is now underway, the results of which would enable Doctors of BC to better understand our members and more effectively govern the Association. 

Why change is needed

Our current 39-member Board, the largest of all Provincial Medical Associations in Canada, can be slow and inefficient in its decision making, and in its ability to act on decisions. In consultations over the last few years and in our Member Survey, we heard that you want us to be more responsive and proactive on your behalf – to be more relevant in your professional lives. You also said that you want us to better understand your professional needs at the local and community level. This is what our proposed model has been developed to achieve. It will allow the Association to be more nimble and proactive, while at the same time providing broader representation across the profession – no matter your type of practice, whether you’re a family physician or specialist, or whether you’re an urban or rural physician.

The proposed model

Informed by extensive feedback from members and other stakeholders, we are proposing a “dual” model, comprised of:

  • A much smaller, more nimble and flexible Board that can make timely decisions on behalf of our members, and
  • A new Representative Assembly (RA) that will provide wide-ranging representation from: all geographical areas of the province, GPs/FPs and specialists, those practicing in rural and First Nations communities, medical students, residents, and those members in early years of practice.

The goal is to strike a balance between an efficient, nimble governance body (the Board), and a body that will ensure members’ views are fully represented (the RA).

Click on the tabs below for further details. Additional information can be found in the Executive Summary & Table.

The Board
  • Role would primarily be that of a decision-making and strategy-setting body.
  • Will maintain its legal fiduciary and oversight responsibilities, and will be accountable to the Representative Assembly and the entire membership.
  • Comprised of 9 members – the President, President-Elect and 7 Directors at Large – allowing for efficiency in decision-making and the ability to quickly respond to events that arise.
  • Of the 7 Directors at Large, 3 will be Specialists, 3 will be GPs, and 1 will be the ‘opposite’ of the incoming President (i.e., a GP if the incoming President is a Specialist, and a Specialist if the incoming President is a GP).
The Representative Assembly (RA)
  • Role would be that of an influential body representing members’ interests and providing guidance to the Board, enhancing accountability between the Board and members.
  • Will have 104 voting delegates representing all Sections, all geographical areas including rural and First Nations communities, students and residents, the Society of Specialists, Society of General Practitioners, and the CMA. There will also be a non-voting Speaker and Deputy Speaker; the 9 Board Directors would be non-voting participants.
  • Has the power to remove Board Directors at Large if it feels they are not acting in the interests of the broader membership.
  • Marks the first time ever that a governing body of Doctors of BC will have an equal number of Specialists and GPs.

For further information

Casting your vote

All eligible members were sent an email from Everyone Counts Canada (ECC) on Tuesday, December 6th inviting you to cast your vote. This email includes a link to the voting site, as well as all necessary login information. The voting window will be open from Tuesday, December 6th until midnight on Wednesday, January 18th.

If you did not receive this email or you have questions regarding the proposed changes, please contact For technical issues such as not receiving the initial email invitation, troubles finding the email invitation, problems accessing the voting site, or problems logging in, please contact ECC directly at

We encourage you to read all of the information presented to you, and to give much consideration to the proposed new governance structure. This is your Association – have your say in helping shape its future.