NSDA Newsletter - October 2019

Article Index

 Board Update

Happy fall everyone!

I would like to start my message by welcoming our two new Board members, Sarah Campbell-Bligh and Erica Reynolds. I would also like to thank all our returning Board members for their continued work and commitment to the NSDA board.

To conclude our last fiscal year, the Board hosted an education day and annual general meeting (AGM) in Dartmouth. The education day focused on continuing competency – in line with our strategic plan. Feedback from the education session and AGM was greatly appreciated and will be taken into account for future planning. 

Into 2020, our Governance and Nominations Board Committees continue with their work and will continue to be led by Sarah MacDonald and Melissa Campbell respectively. Our risk lead for the next year is Megan Austen. A huge thank you is extended to these individuals for their commitment to the work of the Board. 

There is a lot of very beneficial information presented in this newsletter. Please take the time to read it.

The main content of this message revolves around an inquiry that was conducted into the performance of the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia (CDSBC).

In March 2018, British Columbia's Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced the appointment of Mr. Harry Cayton, then-CEO of the UK's Professional Standards Authority, to conduct a review into board governance as well as the administrative and operational practices of CDSBC. The objective was to enhance the ability of a health college to carry out its public protection duties and to enhance governance, transparency and accountability of a college.

The outcome of this review is the Cayton Report and this report is of great significance to all self regulatory authorities. It is an extremely interesting and compelling document. If you have interest in this area, the report itself can be seen HERE.   Click HERE to read a summary of the report.

I will attempt to present some highlights of the Cayton Report as succinctly as possible.

The Overall Message of the Report

The Cayton Report is very clear that regulatory authorities must be cognizant of the need for improved governance and regulatory performance in the interest of patient and public safety.

Members versus Registrants

The report specifically denotes the difference between “members” and “registrants.” It states that the term “member” implies that the membership body at large owns and controls the College, whereas the term “registrant” implies that individuals are accountable to the College. Another term commonly used is “licensee.” It is very important that NSDA registrants fully understand the difference between these two terms because, as a regulatory authority, NSDA does NOT have members, but rather registrants, meaning that the registrants, that is, all of us licensed by NSDA, are in fact accountable to NSDA for professional practice and all that impacts our professional practice. 

Twenty years ago, NSDA dropped its association role and began functioning solely as a regulatory body. NSDA’s mandate is not to be an advocate for its registrants or the profession, but rather to ensure public safety by ensuring registrants practice in a safe, ethical and competent manner.

Self-Regulation is Changing

The way in which professions regulate varies from province-to-province.  There is a trend for more government oversight and more public representation on boards.  Governments/the public may perceive that professions are not regulating in the public interest. Therefore, as a self-regulatory authority, it is of paramount importance that all of the work and practices of the NSDA board and organization itself, ensures public protection. Board recruitment, selection, orientation and ongoing training of board members is critical to ensure that the college is governed in an acceptable manner. Once proclamation as a College is obtained, we will be required to have public members on our Board (those who are not dietitians). This helps to ensure decisions are made in the public interest.

Transparency – No Secrets

Although this concept applies to transparency of the Board and the organization to its’ registrants and the public, in the Report’s context, that is not the case. In the Report’s context, it relates to the relationship of the board with employees, and in our case as a small organization, operational volunteers. 

“The Board should partner with staff to achieve the organization’s mandate; staff do not just administratively implement board directions. Dysfunction in an organization occurs when board members and staff no longer respect and trust each other.” 

As such, Amanda Connors, Practice Advisor will attend board meetings.


To help clearly portray the importance of the Cayton Report to NSDA, I would like to close with a direct quote from the summary provided by the law firm Steinecke Maciura LeBlanc (SML).

“The report makes a number of sweeping short term and long term proposals for regulatory reform for all health professional regulators. These include a completely appointed board of twelve people, half of whom are public members, merging regulators, separating out the adjudication of discipline matters and the operation of a single public register, and the creation of an oversight agency that would review and report on the regulatory performance of the regulators.

This report is broadly consistent with recent developments in British Columbia and other provinces, including Ontario and Nova Scotia, and the regulatory regime that has existed in Quebec for many years.”

We are indeed privileged to still be a self-regulated profession, but we must be prepared for the possibility that this may change in future years.

Until next time, 

Judy Lowe 

NSDA President 2018-2020

NSDA board Sept 2019

 2019-20 Board of Directors.  From left to right/top row: Valerie Joy, Jennifer Hemeon, Sarah MacDonald, Amy MacDonald, Laura Bockus-Thorne. From left to right/bottom row: Jennifer Josey, Erica Reynolds, Megan Austen, Melissa Campbell, Sarah Campbell Bligh, Judy Lowe. Missing:  Janice Terry.