I am honored to have been elected as the President of Council. I last served in this role in 2017 and many things have changed in the intervening years. As the Council sets out on another year of work, we are facing an interesting year both locally and nationally.
The membership of the College will be aware that our Registrar, Dr. Karen Shaw, will be retiring as of July 1 of 2023. Over the last half of 2022, a search committee was struck to seek out applicants to fill the role of Registrar. Karen has provided such incredible leadership and stewardship of College resources over her years as Registrar that seeking a replacement was a daunting task, to say the least. In association with Boyden, a nationally recognized executive search firm, the search committee was lucky enough to obtain exceptionally high-quality applicants for the Registrar role. These applications came from within Saskatchewan and as far away as the East Coast. After many interviews and presentations, the search committee was able to offer the position to Saskatoon Area Chief of Staff Dr. Grant Stoneham. Grant has a long track record of clinical excellence as an interventional radiologist. In addition, Grant has served the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) as Area Chief of Staff (ACOS) in Saskatoon. We are very pleased that Grant is no stranger to the Council. Grant has served the public of Saskatoon as a long-standing Councilor and president of Council in 2010 and 2015. We feel confident that Grant’s proven leadership and his in-depth knowledge of College operations will permit an effective transition into the role of Registrar.
As one of the longer serving Councilors, I have worked beside Grant and Karen for over a decade. I look forward as President to helping Karen pass the torch to Grant. Truly, I cannot adequately express my admiration for Dr. Shaw. She has been a colleague, mentor, and friend for as long as I have been working with the Council. On behalf of the Council and the membership at large I would like to offer my sincere thanks for her tireless work on behalf of the public we all serve. A well deserved, healthy, and enjoyable retirement is our sincere hope for her in this next exciting phase of her life.
Many will be aware that there are substantial efforts being put forth in support of the development of a well-structured, cohesive and fair national licensure for physicians. This has been a matter on the national stage for years, but it seems to have finally gained sufficient traction to reach possible implementation. The CMA recently reported on widespread support for national licensure amongst physicians across the country. This is likely the case, but we must all take the time required to scrutinize this new model of medical licensure to ensure that it meets the needs of all practitioners and jurisdictions. Undoubtedly, national licensure will bring increased flexibility for physicians to work in multiple jurisdictions and move from province to province in a more seamless fashion. Certainly, this may be attractive to many, but there are some risks to smaller provinces and those with less favorable geographic factors, or remuneration models. There is no question that we are all proceeding along this road, we must however proceed with caution and careful consideration of both advantages and potential unintended consequences.
Regulatory authorities across the country are witnessing a degree of governmental interest in the oversight of self-regulating professions that has never been seen in our history. As physicians, we enjoy the privilege of self regulation with Government maintaining an arms-length collaborative approach. Other jurisdictions have not been so fortunate to maintain such independence. Recent regulatory changes in British Columbia have reorganized all of the self-regulating professions into new groupings under new legislation. In addition, governmentally appointed oversight committees are being set up too with wide reaching powers over how many professions are allowed to self-regulate. While our own Government has not demonstrated any immediate intent to follow suit in taking over the regulatory process, they are watching the evolution of regulation in British Columbia with keen interest. Saskatchewan is a relatively small province, and the medical community shares an enviable collegiality as a result. As a profession, it is going to be very important that we collectively follow the changes to professional self-regulation on the national stage and ensure that we advocate for our profession and the public we serve to ensure that we maintain effective, independent self-regulation moving into the future.
We live in interesting times. We continue to slog through what we all hope to be the end of the pandemic. The Council remains focussed on our mandates of protecting the public and guiding the profession. As President for 2023, I am humbled to play my role in this journey.
My sincere wish for your wellness in 2023 and beyond.