Registered practitioners were surprised and alarmed by this announcement given that only 10 months ago at the College’s Annual General Meeting the College’s Council and Registrar/CEO reported to the membership and stated the College was enjoying a strong financial position and said no fee increase was being considered at that time.
Registered practitioners of the College made clear demand of Council and the Registrar/CEO to provide a detailed explanation outlining what had caused such a dramatic change in the College’s financial position.
Despite this request, the College lacked either the desire or ability to provide a level of transparency that practitioners felt was adequate.
After reviewing the Alberta College of Paramedic’s Bylaws and relevant Legislation, an online petition was launched on June 22, 2016 calling for a Special Meeting during which Council and the Registrar/CEO would have another opportunity to explain to practitioners why it was felt that fees required such a substantial increase. Additionally, changes to the College’s Bylaws were proposed to restrict the fee increase if the practitioners in attendance were, once again, not satisfied with the information presented to them.
At this time, the Alberta College of Paramedics has not provided any information to the practitioners that adequately explains the need for the fee increase that is being imposed upon them. The College has also refused to call a Special Meeting for that purpose despite receiving a clear and binding mandate from the practitioners to do so.
Attached to this release is chronologically ordered correspondence between our group and the Alberta College of Paramedics.
We met with the College on August 26, 2016 at which time we were unable to secure a commitment from Council that the Special Meeting would be called in accordance with the College’s Bylaws. Astoundingly, the College representatives stated that any Special Meeting the College held would be at their sole discretion, the agenda of the meeting would be set exclusively by Council and any motions brought forward and voted upon would be considered non-binding upon the College and would be accepted only as information for future Council discussion.
We strongly feel that the Alberta College of Paramedics in clearly in contravention of their Bylaws. We fear the College is hoping to stall long enough for the Legislation that governs the College to change. Presently, the Alberta College of Paramedics is governed under the Health Disciplines Act. The Government of Alberta has indicated that the College will be transitioned into the Health Professions Act in the very near future. This action will necessitate a review of the College’s Bylaws and changes could be made without the knowledge or approval of practitioners. It is our concern that Council will use this Bylaw review as a way to side-step their responsibility and obligation to provide transparency and accountability to the practitioners.
As a group we feel our words are now falling on deaf ears at the College. We are still exploring the possibility of taking legal action but, at this time, legal proceedings could not reasonably conclude in a timely fashion and would represent significant expense. Therefore, we are calling upon the Minister of Health to intervene on behalf of the practitioners in Alberta and direct the Council of the Alberta College of Paramedics to comply with the College’s Bylaws and call a Special Meeting for the purposes clearly outlined in the petition. Additionally, we are also requesting the Minister of Health delay the contemplated legislative transition of the College until such time as this matter is properly resolved under the current legislation.
Transparency and accountability should not be hollow political buzz words but, rather, ideals that our Government holds to a high standard. As the Alberta College of Paramedics is formed under Legislative Authority, we assert it is proper that our College be directed by the Minister of Health to conduct themselves in accordance with the College’s Bylaws. Failure to do so would be a grievous insult to the dedicated practitioners that diligently serve Albertans.