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Changes in CIC structure approved by council.

Alleviating the concerns of local sections was a priority for management council before it approved the Strategic Planning Committee's recommendations for re-organization

At its meeting in Sherbrooke in June, the CIC Management Council approved recommendations made by the Strategic Planning Committee concerning the future structure of the CIC.

The following report summarizes these recommendations, reports on the discussions in Sherbrooke by the society boards and CIC council and indicates the current actions underway which will lead to a vote by the membership on the proposed changes in 1994.


The current planning exercise was initiated in the last quarter of 1991 to resolve issues which resulted from the restructuring of the mid-1980's. With the adoption of the three-society structure, each society with its own board, and superimposed on this the "umbrella" role of the CIC and its Management Council, there has been undesirable duplication of effort and complexity which negatively affects several areas, including member perception and workload on volunteers and on the National Office. Other issues relate to the diversity of our membership base amongst Constituent Societies, local sections and regions, and subject divisions, and the requirement for accountability to the needs and wishes of these sectors of our membership.

In the summer of 1992, the Planning Committee put forward for comment a proposal which would see the dissolution of Council and acceptance of a strengthened role for the Constituent Society boards. A rather large "Joint Board" of the CIC, consisting of 12 CIC and society officers, was also proposed to identify areas of synergism and manage a group of defined common responsibilities. (ACCN, September 1992, p. 9).

Consultations have taken place since mid-1992 and have produced two main concerns:

* The need to improve the representation of local sections and to facilitate their communication with the management structure;

* A strong recommendation to streamline the CIC Board even further from the rather top-heavy "Joint Board" envisioned in the initial proposal.

The Strategic Planning Committee met again on April 8 in Toronto to consider these concerns in preparing a final recommendation to the CIC council and society boards for presentation at the Sherbrooke meetings.

Scope and mission of the CIC

As a working principle, the planning group agreed that the CIC should be the embodiment of its three strong Constituent Societies working together. In keeping with this principle, the following Mission Statement is proposed:

The Chemical Institute of Canada is a federation of three Constituent Societies: the Canadian Society for Chemistry, the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering and the Canadian Society for Chemical Technology. The purpose of the Institute is to promote common scientific and technical interests and to provide service to all the members throughout Canada.

The CIC board will coordinate and manage policies in the following areas which bridge the interests of all members:

* Synergy within the common interests; * Regional and local section interests; * Publications, including ACCN; * CIC awards and the Fellowship; * Financial affairs; * Chemical Education Trust Fund; * Operations of the National Office.

In discussing the composition of the type of CIC board needed to manage this interaction between the societies, and the common activities, the planning group confirmed that the scope of the interaction should be more than simply a liaison function. There is significant synergy to be gained in areas which bridge the interests of all members of the societies and of the CIC. To manage and co-ordinate this interaction, and to provide continuity, it is recommended that the CIC board be composed of two CIC officers (chair of the board, and vice-chair), elected directly by the overall membership, in addition to the three presidents of the societies, with the executive director as an ex-officio member. See the proposed organization chart.

Consultations on the original proposal indicated that the dissolution of council was causing much concern over the continued representation of local section and regional views. As a result, the following strategies were proposed.

* A local sections workshop will take place annually, presided over by the chair of the CIC board, to provide a forum dedicated solely to regional views and issues and to provide a direct route for communication to the CIC board as well as to the societies.

* Meetings of local section representatives will continue to take place at the annual conferences of the CSC and the CSChE and regional meetings of local sections will also be encouraged.

* All society boards have emphasized that special efforts will be made to address the representation needs and concerns at the local level. A reasonable regional balance will be maintained. The CSChE board will continue to be chosen "with due regard to geographic and other interests of the membership". The CSCT board is developing a three-year plan which will stress interaction with local sections.

The CSC board will contain two new local section directors whose responsibilities will be focused on regional communication. All directors on the CSC board will in future be responsible for liaising with the local sections in their region and bringing local section concerns directly to board meetings or to the attention of one of the local section directors. Directors nominated by a subject division shall be chosen with due regard for regional representation.

* Local sections will be able to identify with one or more Constituent Societies. The preferred option will be joint sections of all societies, to be referred to as CIC local sections.

Sections will report through their appropriate board member to the society board and, as noted already, will communicate with the CIC board through the chair of that board. All sections, regardless of declared affiliation, will have a single program person contact at the National Office. Financial support will be managed through the Finance Committee composed of the three society treasurers.

Lengthy debate in Sherbrooke

The changes recommended by the Strategic Planning Committee were debated at some length by the Management Council at its meeting on May 30 in Sherbrooke. It was reported that the society boards strongly supported these recommendations and it was noted that in 1985 the societies took responsibility for divisions and that it is a natural evolution that they will now have increased responsibility for Local Sections.

Various councilors commented on the progress that had been made in efforts to address the concerns of the local sections. Concerns were still evident, however, over the lack of direct representation of the local sections on the CIC board, over the high level of synergy and commitment needed within the smaller proposed CIC board, and over the need for effective liaison between the local sections and society boards. It was also stated that meetings of local section executives held at conferences may not be appropriate for industry-oriented local sections, since the two annual conferences tend to be research oriented and academic in character.

The debate in council generally sent a strong message to the planning group and the societies that the local sections want to be heard and their views represented at the CIC board level. It was agreed that under the proposed changes, it will be specifically understood that "The Chair of the CIC Board will have as a major responsibility the representation of Local Sections". Council also urged in a motion that the local section workshop make the generation of nominations for CIC chair and vice-chair one of their important items of business.

With council's approval of the model proposed by the Strategic Planning Committee, the revision of the CIC bylaws will now proceed. A final draft will be presented for approval to Management Council in February 1994 prior to the vote by the membership. If approved, the new structure would then take effect in June of 1994.

The changes proposed and approved by council respond to the issues identified at the beginning of this planning exercise. The smaller and more focused CIC board should reduce the complexity of managing the common interests of and services to the membership-at-large with improved accountability to the Constituent Societies. At the same time, the diversity of the several constituencies in The Institute has been recognized by strategies for improved representation of local section and regional interests within the three-society structure.
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Title Annotation:Chemical Institute of Canada
Author:Capes, Ed
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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