College Connection - Page 7

college connection ACCOUNTABILITY COUNCIL FOCUSED ON FISCAL ACCOUNTABILITY The Council made a commitment in 2012 to increase transparency to licensed members related to College finances — in particular its expenses. It is no surprise that one of the largest areas of expenditure in executing its legislated mandate is, and will continue to be, legal related expenses. These are also the areas of expenditure fraught with unpredictability — the types of complaints arising, the number of cases referred to discipline and the number of appeals of decisions rendered. While all other 2015 budget lines meet or are below target for projected expenditure, legal expenses are 18 percent above anticipated cost. Detailed analysis reveals two primary sources of increased cost — prosecution of the unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine (mainly in dentistry) and more significantly, court appeals either related to panel decisions or College jurisdiction. At present, these costs represent approximately $150,000 above projections and could not have been predicted based on a five-year analysis of past legal history. Council, in its fiduciary capacity, is considering all options to mitigate these additional costs within its current existing funds. This includes the containment of other lines as appropriate. The College is a regulatory instrument. Due process and procedural fairness are prevailing elements. Yearly legal fees, despite best “guesstimates” are just that, an estimate based on cases in process and previous experience. Such budgeting will always be a challenge. The Council remains focused on meeting its goal of a modest surplus to strengthen its reserves to meet future challenging circumstances. REGULATORY CHANGES MOVING FORWARD Since 2012, the College has been working with the province on several amendments to Regulation 1093. Through extensive debate with policy staff and the legal team at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the College is optimistic the revisions to Regulation 1093 have come to a close. Licensed members were recently consulted on proposed changes to the section of the regulations which deals with advertising. At its March meeting, Council approved two additional changes to the regulations. While exceptio ns to a VCPR are currently in place, such as for emergencies, additions have been made for circumstances such as when a veterinarian is performing a service required by legislation other than the Veterinarians Act, as in the Dog Owner’s Liability Act or the Animals for Research Act, and also when a veterinarian is performing an independent examination for a third party, as in a pre-purchase exam. The second change is related to record keeping rules and providing assurance that record keeping is only commensurate with the role when exemptions apply. The revised regulations are being finalized for government review and, once approved, will come into effect, hopefully by the end of 2015. The College will be given four months to amend documents and provide communication to the public and veterinarians prior to the changes taking effect. Spring 2015 7