Role and Responsibilities of a Member of Council
The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), the Health Professions Procedural Code and the Dental Hygiene Act, 1991 (DHA) provide the legal foundation for the College’s governance structure, activities and powers. The College is required to fulfil the role of a regulatory college established in this legislation. All Council decisions must be consistent with this legislation.
It is important to note that the link of accountability is different than in a membership organization, such as a trade or industry association. Once elected to Council, dental hygienists are not accountable to the registrants in their district, but instead to protecting the interests of the public.
While a Council member does have a role in bringing regional perspectives to the Council table and in communicating Council decisions to his or her region, an elected Council member does not represent the electorate.
For example, if you are sitting as a member of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee, or the Discipline or Registration Committees, you are bound by statute to confidentiality and cannot report back to the dental hygienists in your district.
As a Council member, you have a fiduciary relationship with the College. Knowing that the root of the word “fiduciary” comes from the Latin word meaning “trust”, you have a sense of what that means. You have a legal duty to act in the best interests of the College and to adhere to its legal mandate. This means you must govern the functions and affairs of the College in a way that regulates the practice of dental hygiene to protect and serve the public interest.
By accepting a position as a Council and/or committee member, you occupy a position of trust and confidence. Your personal interests and the interests of any constituency that you may be affiliated with must at all times be subordinated to acting in the best interests of the public.
All Council members, whether dental hygienists or public members, are equal around the Council table and participate equally in discussion and decision-making. Likewise, they are commonly bound by statutes, and the CDHO Confidentiality Agreement.