Regulatory College Bylaws

Regulatory College Bylaws

Bylaws are internal laws and rules that dictate how an organization is run.  Every regulatory college, regardless of size or profession, has a set of bylaws which the college must adhere to. Bylaws should be freely available to college members and are therefore often featured on the college website. While bylaws can often be extremely lengthy and specific to the college, there are certain principles that are present across the board. 

Purpose of College Bylaws

There are certain government-mandated regulations that regulatory colleges must follow. Various professions will have a corresponding act that outlines how a profession should be governed. In Canada, for example, many colleges represent the medical profession and are regulated by the Health Professions Act in their respective provinces.

However, there are still many rules that are not covered in this act, which leaves your college with a large degree of freedom. The difference between bylaws and regular laws is that the former are decided internally, whilst the latter are mandated by an external authority (i.e. the government). For example, regulatory colleges must hold elections for their council, but the manner in which they hold them is open. 

Bylaws are vital in ensuring the smooth, and legal, running of a college. They are the main reference point when the council wishes to introduce a new policy.  Bylaws also ensure that certain principles remain constant over time and that the college is not simply run at the whim of the council.

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Content of Regulatory College Bylaws

Regulatory college bylaws vary in length and content but tend to follow a similar structure. There are certain bylaws that must be included. Here are some examples:

  • Interpretations/Definitions
    • Bylaws should start by defining the terms that will be present throughout the document. For instance, clarifying that ‘Act’ refers to the Health Professions Act
  • Name and Seal
  • Head Office
    • Where your college is located
  • Council
    • The number of members to be on the council and how many are appointed vs elected
    • The executive positions on the council (ie President and Vice President) and their responsibilities
    • The committees that council members are placed in
    • Where and when the council will meet
    • How they are elected
    • The term of office for each member
  • Membership
    • Criteria for membership
    • Fees – how much and how often do members have to pay the college
    • Revoking membership – what are the conditions for membership to be revoked
  • Finances
    • How college funds may be spent
    • Rules regarding borrowing
    • Rules regarding the budget
  • Bylaws
    • Indicate how bylaws may be changed in the future

Naturally, there are a number of other bylaws your college may want to include. This list is not exhaustive but covers the key points that should be included. 

A large percentage of regulated professions come under health profession and are therefore regulated by the Health Professions Act. Click here to learn more about this act and its contents.

Election Specific Bylaws

Your bylaws should contain information regarding your elections. Elections are an integral part of a regulatory college, and should be clearly outlined in your bylaws. In the case of some college bylaws, elections are the section which receives the most attention. To learn more about the election process, click here. 

The primary elections your college will look to conduct will be for the council. The following point should be covered in your bylaws:

  • The number necessary to constitute a quorum (usually a majority)
  • When the election will take place, and how long in advance it must be announced
  • Duration of the election
  • Nomination process
    • Includes criteria for nomination
    • Includes rules regarding campaigning
  • The method in which the election will be held
    • Methods include online, via post, or in person
    • Bylaws may be open-ended and state that elections can be conducted at the discretion of the college
  • The electoral districts
    • How many members each district has
    • Which geographical region each district represents
  • Voting rights
    • Criteria for voter eligibility
    • Number of votes each voter is given (usually one)
    • Which elections a voter is permitted to take part in

If your college is looking to vote online, click here to receive a free quote.