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Section E: Council Member's Conduct

RCDSO Protocol & Processes

From time to time, concerns may arise about the conduct or actions of a Council or committee member. College Council has proactively approved by-laws and protocols that address these types of concerns so that there are fair processes in place if any issues arise.

These processes and the possible sanctions for inappropriate actions by Council and committee members are clearly set out in the following documents:

Governing Statute – Section 36, Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA)

In Section 36 of this legislation, the Ontario government included provisions covering the confidentiality of information entrusted to Council members, committees and staff.

There is recognition that Council and committee members, in addition to College staff, have access to extremely sensitive patient medical information and to personal information about the conduct of fellow members of the profession. This information is to be held in strict confidence.

Section 36(1) reads:

  1. Every person employed, retained or appointed for the purpose of the administration of this Act, a health profession Act or the Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act, and every member of a Council or committee of a College shall preserve secrecy with respect to all information that comes to his/her knowledge in the course of his or her duties and shall not communicate any information to any other person…

The RHPA sets out that any person who contravenes subsection 36(1) is guilty of an offence and, on conviction, is liable to a fine of up to $25,000 and a jail term of up to six months.

RCDSO Code of Conduct

In June 2000, Council passed a Code of Conduct for Council members. This Code of Conduct emphasizes that Council members must exercise care, diligence, skill, civility, and prudence when carrying out the business of the College. In the event of a breach, the Code of Conduct provides for sanctions, including removal from Council.

This Code of Conduct aims to provides instruction and guidance to Council members regarding confidentiality, communication between Councillors and communication with local dental societies, conflicts of interest and general decorum.

Conflict of Interest by-law

In April 2002, Council enacted a Conflict of Interest by-law. This by-law defined related persons and related corporations and sets out what type of action or inaction may result in a situation of conflict of interest or a situation where there may be the appearance of a conflict of interest.

This by-law also provides guidance and protocols for Council members to follow if they are unsure as to whether they may be acting in conflict. All Council members should be aware that there are possible conflict of interest scenarios that are not specifically addressed in the by-law. There is an ever-evolving body of law that must be considered when assessing potential conflicts of interests.

Election and Selection of Councillors

While legislation provides for the number of elected dentists, the by-laws set out the College’s electoral districts, eligibility of members (dentists) to vote, nominations and electoral procedures, eligibility of candidates to stand for election, and the selection of two academic representatives.

The by-laws also detail the process for disqualifying an elected or selected member from sitting on Council, including procedural and other safeguards. The same provisions apply to the members of Council who are selected from the universities, with slight modification.

Campaign Guidelines for Council Elections

These guidelines, passed by Council, are for dentists seeking election or re-election to the Council of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario and are intended to apply to written campaign materials, oral presentations/speeches and general decorum of candidates:

  • Be respectful, polite, dignified and professional in everything you do.
  • It is more effective and credible to announce your qualifications than to try to denounce another candidate’s qualifications.
  • Only rely on and promote information that is both factual and provable.
  • It is not appropriate to mount a personal or professional attack on any candidate.
  • Focus on your ideas and the positives that you have to offer.
  • Ensure that the words you use are inclusive and would not offend any specific group.
  • Remember the mandate of the College and the Council, and don’t make promises that could be viewed as contrary to those mandates.
  • Avoid empty rhetoric.
  • Be mindful of the College’s Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct, Professional Misconduct Regulations and common law.
  • Remember that you are a professional and a member of an important and well-regarded profession, and so are your opponents.

College staff cannot support any particular candidate or incumbent and, while they may be a resource for certain information where appropriate, they must not be asked to assist in a campaign.

Transparent Decision-Making

The RHPA requires that all Council meetings are open to members of the public, and discussions, committee recommendations and council decisions are transparent. The only exceptions are discussions that take place in camera.

Council members are expected to make informed decisions by preparing before all Council meetings and listening attentively to the presentation of committee reports by each Committee’s chair. A well-informed, non-biased decision should be the outcome.

Council members should not make deals, negotiate by email and/or pre-decide before a decision is made. If another Council member writes to you or gets in touch with you about Council-related business, decline participation. If anyone else outside of the organization writes to you about Council business, do not reply without checking with the College’s Registrar or the Director of Communications.

Articulate and Represent College Views

Each Council member comes to Council with their own ideas. Opinions and ideas should not be influenced by any particular agenda. Council members should be apprehensive of any biases or perceived biases from themselves and others. Council must always keep in mind the organization’s mandate: protection of the public and putting patients first. Once Council makes a decision, Council members must always represent the College’s point of view.