FAQ – What the New Constitution and Bylaws mean to Individual CIPS Members
How can I be Informed on the Details of the new Constitution and Bylaws?
CIPS has provided extensive explanatory documentation on the Governance Website. In addition, there will be a number of local Town Hall meetings held to provide opportunity to respond to questions members will have about the new governance arrangement. There will also be two National Virtual Town Hall meetings held electronically in the fall of 2011 prior to the vote on the new Constitution and Bylaws.
What if I still have Questions after Reading the Material and Attending a Town Hall Session?
You can e-mail your individual questions and concerns to the CIPS National Constitution Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will send you a personal response. For questions of national interest, this FAQ will be updated.
What is the Most Significant Change in the new Constitution?
The most significant change is that the Provincial Societies will become the only voting members of CIPS National. Individuals will still be members of their Provincial Societies, but they will not be members of CIPS National. The Provincial Societies drive the national agenda through their representatives on the National Board.
How is the National Board Selected?
Since the bylaws were changed in 2008, individual members of CIPS have not selected representatives on the National Board (currently called the CCITP). Board members are appointed by the Provincial Societies. How the Provincial Societies select their representatives on the National Board is left up to them. The new bylaws do not change this process.
Do the Proposed Changes Disenfranchise Individual Members?
In terms of governance, these changes do not materially affect individual CIPS members. They remain members of their provincial societies which manage the profession in their province, and they will still elect their governing provincial boards as before, but they will become indirect members of the National organization. They will still receive the same benefits and privileges as before – through their Provincial organizations. This is the Canadian model for managing the professions.
Individual members are encouraged to participate in national activities through their provincial societies and through participation on various national committees and councils.
Will Members’ Dues Be Affected?
Individual membership dues are not expected to change significantly as a result of this proposed governance change.
What happens to National Fellows and Honorary Members?
It is recognized that it is desirable to continue to nationally honour distinguished members. The Fellow member class will continue, as non-voting members of CIPS National. The Honorary Membership class will be replaced with an Honorary Fellow category and existing Honorary Members will become Honorary Fellows.
Why are we Making these Changes?
These changes represent the final stage of moving to the New Governance Model, approved in 2006 and partially implemented through bylaw changes made in 2008.
In addition, we have incorporated changes required by Bill C-4, new federal legislation for not-for-profit corporations under which CIPS National operates. Bill C-4 gives us 3 years to make the changes and re-register our society or face automatic dissolution.
Why is the Name of the CCITP Changing back to the National Board?
Under the bylaw changes of 2008 the name of the National Board was changed to clearly indicate the significant change in its makeup. Now that the changes are being completed it is appropriate to revert to the old name which more clearly reflects the purpose of the board.
FAQ – What the New Constitution and Bylaws mean to the Provincial Societies
Will the Provincial Societies need to make Changes to their Bylaws?
There should be no changes required to provincial constitutions or bylaws. The only exception to this might be if provincial bylaws make specific references to the National bylaws (for example referencing membership types).
What are the Financial Implications for the Provincial Societies?
The bylaws commit the Provincial Societies to providing full funding for national services and activities. It will be up to the Provincial Societies to set the individual membership dues such that they cover their financial obligations to CIPS National.
The details of financial arrangements are in the service agreements (contracts) between the Provincial Societies and National, rather than being itemized in the bylaws. This allows for negotiation between the parties, providing flexibility that would not be available if arrangements were written into the bylaws.
Can Provinces Withdraw from the National Organization?
Yes, it is possible for a Provincial Society to withdraw from CIPS National, but the process is deliberately quite rigorous, requiring an approval by 2/3 of the Provincial Societies’ individual members. It is felt that there has to be a compelling reason for a province to go their own way and there needs to be protection of national professional standards.
FAQ – Constitution Change Process
What has been the Governance Framework Change Process to date?
After the membership approval of the transition governance arrangement in 2008, the CCITP directed the CIPS National Constitution Committee to research and recommend a suitable final governance framework consistent with the direction initially established by the members in 2006. The
What is the Formal Process for Constitutional Change?
Changing the Constitution is a rare and significant societal event. It requires a National Referendum of members for approval. For the vote to be a valid decision, at least 33% of CIPS members must participate. And for the new Constitution to be approved, at least 67% of those participating in the referendum must vote in the affirmative.
Will we use an Electronic Voting Process?
We are investigating the use of a secure electronic voting method that will be based on democratic principles and standards. For members that do not have access to the electronic process, the traditional paper balloting process will be made available.
What will the Referendum Question be?
The actual question on the referendum ballot will be “Be it approved that the CIPS National Constitution and Bylaws dated May 23, 2011 as distributed to members on the CIPS National website be adopted by the Society.”
What if the Members Reject the Proposed Constitution?
CIPS activities and services will continue under the current governance arrangement with the CCITP. CIPS is committed to the governance transition approved by the members in 2006, so the CCITP will assess the reasons for the member rejection and address those concerns before bringing forward another revised Constitution for adoption.
Will the new Constitutional come into Effect Immediately?
There are a number of administrative steps to be completed to register the new Constitution with the Federal Government under the appropriate legislation that is currently in place. So there will be a transition period during which the current CCITP will retain responsibility to implement the new governance framework. It is expected that the transition period will end with the appointment of the new CIPS National Board for the 2012 CIPS
Q: Why are we doing this? Don't we have other priorities that we should be working on?
A: There are a number of reasons that governance changes are being made at this time. A major reason is that the division of responsibilities between the various levels of CIPS has not been well defined. This combined with the fact that CIPS has elected representatives at all three levels of the organization has resulted in the organization often going in different directions. There is no requirement for each level to work together towards common goals and objectives. This has been the root systemic cause of many of the problems we have today, such as a plethora of different dues, inconsistent messaging about the organization and, to an extent, lack of perceived value leading to member disillusionment.
Governance changes are not the only thing we are working on, nor should they be. However, it is believed that by putting in place a simpler, more unified organization structure, we can better work towards increasing value to the members.
Q: What are some of the main features of the new model
- Replacement of the current CIPS National Board of Directors with a smaller body called the "Canadian Council of Information Technology Professionals" with members held accountable to, and appointed by, the Provincial Societies.
- All CIPS members become members of their respective Provincial Societies.
- Responsibility for local CIPS Sections is transferred from the CIPS National Board of Directors to the CIPS Provincial Societies.
- Establishment of the "Office of the Executive Council" to include CIPS volunteers and paid staff.
Q. What happens to Sections under the new model?
A. In many cases sections will continue to operate much as they have. The primary difference is that sections will be connected constitutionally to provincial bodies rather than to a national body as they are currently. Other than that, sections may continue to function as they have in the past, carrying on activities at the local level.
There may be some changes under the new governance model. For example, in situations where there is only a single section in a province it may make more sense to have one single board - the provincial board - rather than duplicating effort through both provincial and section boards. In such cases, activities previously organized by a section might be organized through a committee of the provincial board.
Q. What happens to International Members-at-large under the new model?
A: Under the new governance model all members of CIPS must be a member of a Provincial Association. As an international member you will be contacted over the summer months and asked to pick a Provincial Association which you wish to belong to (usually your province of residence at the time of leaving the country). This will be entirely your choice.
Q: Currently the provincial associations only include certified members. What happens to non-certified members under the new model?
A: The governance model puts non-certified members under the control of the Provincial Boards and leaves it to the Provincial Boards to decide how this will be done. The governance committee has issued some recommendations as to how to deal with this. Although this could, in theory, leave non-I.S.P.'s in a province completely without a vote, this is unlikely. The provincial associations have all expressed a willingness to include non-certified members.
Q: Some provinces do not have provincial associations. What happens to members in those provinces?
A: Most of the provinces now have or are in the process of creating provincial associations. For those provinces that do not currently have formal associations the section(s) will select a representative for the province to represent thier members.
Q: The model seems to do away with the one-person/one-vote concept. Won't the vote of individuals from small provinces have much greater relative weight than the vote of individuals from large provinces?
A: Depending on how the provinces choose to handle non-certified members, we may end up closer to one-person one vote than we have today. Today members get to vote for one to three levels, depending on whether they are certified or not or whether or not they live in a city with a local Section.
The proposed national body is a federation model where at the National level each constituent province is represented with a single delegate. So, all provinces do have the same number of votes at the National level. The intention is to keep this body fairly small. As a senate type model, it is expected that there will be a high level of diplomacy among representatives. There should be few if any issues that would be decided by a close vote.
Q: What is the CCITP?
A: The CCITP is the Canadian Council of Information Technology Professionals and replaces the existing CIPS National Board. Its members are appointed by the Provincial bodies. There will be one member from each province, as well as two directors at large, appointed by the Council.
Q: It appears that under the new model, the Council will only provide a periodic oversight of actions by the National Office. Does this provide sufficient control and direction?
A: The CCITP as the elected National Body will have executive authority and responsibility for oversight of the National Office (Oiffice of the Executive Council. or OEC). The model as presented anticipates a target state where, as the organization grows, there will be additional staff in the National Office (including IT Professionals). In this target state, some executive responsibility could be delegated by the CCITP to the Office, for example to a paid (IT Professional) President. The oversight role of the CCITP is constant regardless of how much executive responsibility is transferred to the office and how many times per year the CCITP thinks it may need to meet.
Q: It appears that there will be no necessary involvement of IT Professionals in the operation of the National Office. What kind of people should be part of the Office staff?
A. The model anticipates a target state where staff can be added to the National office to augment many of the activities currently performed by volunteers alone. This includes IT Professionals as staff, for example a paid president. It is expected that we may not be able to move immediately to this office staffing model due to financial constraints. How much and how quickly will be at the discretion of the CCITP. The governance transition task list has a number of activities at the National level to identify the right skills required for the National Office, for example:
- Identify needed skills for the OEC
- Develop job description for Paid President
- Perform gap analysis between current and needed skills
Q. How do we put the right capabilities in the National Office during the transition?
A. The skills required in the OEC (Office of Executive Council) will be identified by a task in the governance transition plan. Which of these skills we put in place first and how quickly we move to this target state will be decided by the CCITP and will be based, among other factors, on the funds required to implement. In the interim, these activities will continue to be performed by volunteers.
Q. Why do we still have individual members at the National level if the new model is intended to be a federation of provinces?
A. The national governance document consists of two parts: the articles of incorporation commonly referred to as the Constitution and the Bylaws. Changes to the Constitution require more effort to complete. In order to achieve most of the required governance changes in the shortest period of time, we have restricted the proposed changes to the Bylaw section only. We believe that we can materially implement the new governance model by doing so. Additional changes, including changes to the Constitution can be made, if desired at a later time. The desire is also not to devalue what has been granted to Honourary or Fellow members. These members value the National recognition that comes with the privilege granted to them.