2016 will mark the 70th anniversary of the Ontario Opticians Association. It was previously known as the Ontario Association of Dispensing Opticians. Next year’s Inside Optics, being held on April 2nd & 3rd, will be a celebration of this great milestone in our history. All Ontario opticians, past and present, share this milestone. More about our event and history will be shared in the months to come culminating in a party on the evening of Saturday April 3rd and the largest Inside Optics ever on Sunday April 3rd.
When I reflect on celebrating our history it makes me think about all the people who have come before us and helped get us to where we are now, and the role they continue to play. The College of Opticians of Ontario (COO) as part of their commitment to transparency and in compliance with Provincial Regulations circulated, among other draft proposals, bylaws which include a COO member designation of “Lifetime Member”. This is not a new member category.
3.1 Life Membership
(b) Any person who was a registered optician, having permanently retired from the practice of opticianry, and having the number of years that he or she has been registered with the College and years of age that together total at least 85, may apply to the Registrar, or be nominated for designation as a Life Member, and shall be considered for such designation at the next meeting of Council based on these criteria and additional criteria established by the Council from time to time.
Intellectual history is very important. As individuals and organizations we need to take advantage of the experience, knowledge, and perspectives of those who come before us. The COO is no different.
The COO committee reviewing this bylaw has determined that a Lifetime Member shall not be required to pay membership fees and will be eligible to vote in COO elections. The committee also decided that a Lifetime Member should not be permitted to be an appointed or elected member of Council. This prohibition is also extended to participating on COO committees.
1.e) A person who has been granted the designation of “Life Member” and who is not practising the profession shall be exempted from the payment of the annual fee, and shall be entitled to vote in elections of members to the Council and receive all publications of the College at no charge but shall not be a member of Council.
Part of the mandate of the Ontario Opticians Association (OOA) is to review and comment on proposed amendments to Regulations, Standards of Practice, Bylaws, and Policies put forward by the COO. As stated below in an excerpt from our comments submitted to the COO, we question the reasoning behind the Life Member designation. What is its purpose?
1.Life Membership: The OOA fully and enthusiastically supports the Life Membership Category. Individuals who have committed their lives to the profession, understand the history and have developed a deep expertise in the profession should be encouraged to continue their involvement as long as they are willing and able to do so. But what is the purpose of establishing a Life Membership Category if the College cannot make use of the professional knowledge and experience these individuals have accumulated? Accordingly, the OOA recommends that Life Members be eligible for election to the College Council, as well as eligible for appointment to Council committees and subcommittees in the same way as regular Members.
Maybe the purpose of the Lifetime Member category should not only be to recognize the member’s years of practice, but also to encourage the sharing of their professional knowledge and experience?
Lifetime Member… Great concept but maybe it should go a little further.
Lorne Kashin, RO