Sept. 27, 2022

Town hall on SMA governance review planned for Oct. 18

The Saskatchewan Medical Association’s (SMA) review of its governance processes has been proceeding apace this fall and includes a virtual Town Hall for physicians on Oct. 18, 2022.

The Town Hall will provide SMA members a chance to provide feedback on draft changes and weigh in on where they think changes are needed. The virtual link to the Town Hall is:

https://smaca.webex.com/smaca/j.php?MTID=mc92180eb3e37b3bc428422b31e9da5bf

“The engagement and consultation phase will help the Special Committee on SMA Governance finalize ideas for presentation at the 2022 Fall Representative Assembly,” said Dr. Lenny Pillay, a member of the committee, which has been spearheading the review. “After that RA, there will be additional time to process feedback and recommendations culminating in the presentation of final recommendations and bylaw amendments to the spring 2023 RA and Annual General Meeting.

“It is hoped that this extensive year-long opportunity for members to consider, discuss and debate governance issues will result in a strengthened, more effective and more efficient organization. I do believe that when members are engaged, we get much better outcomes.”

The governance review process began with a restructuring of regional medical associations to better align with new divisions established by the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Newly minted Medical Staff Associations are now in place and the process of establishing new constitutions and building more robust election structures is almost complete.

At the SMA’s 2021 Spring RA, delegates referred a resolution to the Board of Directors asking for an external review of the SMA’s governance structures and processes. Following a presentation to RA delegates at the 2021 Fall RA, the RA voted to establish the Special Committee on SMA Governance, comprised of five physicians.

“The review committee has been busy over the last year or so,” said Dr. Grant Stoneham, a member of the committee. “In the course of their work, committee members opted to do a thorough review of the SMA’s governance, taking as much time as is needed to do the job right. Engaging and consulting with physicians is vital to the review of SMA governance processes and structures. As a member-driven organization, members will ultimately decide how best to structure the SMA for the future.”

Committee discussions led to a number of proposed amendments to regional governance clauses in the existing SMA bylaws, some of which were brought to the most recent Annual General Meeting held in May in conjunction with the 2022 Spring RA.

“However, we heard at the AGM that more discussion was required. The Special Committee on SMA Governance was given more time to complete its work,” said M.S. Renuka Prasad, a member of the committee. “A Special Meeting of the General Membership and a Special Meeting of the RA were held in June where members clearly expressed the need for further engagement and consultation with the membership. Given the importance of the governance process, that signal from the members is a healthy outcome.”

A dedicated email – governance@sma.sk.ca – has been created to solicit feedback from members whether or not they are able to attend the Town Hall. In addition to the Town Hall, the President and Vice-President’s Tour now underway provides an opportunity for members to hear from and question SMA leaders.

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