Student Vote at CDA

June 28, 2010

I was recently informed that as a result of CDA’s reorganization, its bylaws were changed. In the past, one student member received a vote at the meeting of the voting members. Now, as far as I understand, that vote has been rescinded.

Voting is a fundamental right in our democracy and also shows respect for those granted that privilege. I hope that the Board of Directors will reconsider its decision.

We need to show our future colleagues the respect they deserve.

Dr. Lorne Chapnick
Toronto, Ontario

Response from Dr. Gary MacDonald, CDA Board Member

I thank Dr. Chapnick for expressing his concern with the loss of the student vote at CDA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

For clarification purposes, it is the voting members of the General Assembly who approve the new CDA general bylaws, and not the CDA Board of Directors.

The new bylaws approved at the AGM in April will result in the elimination of a student voting representative at the CDA AGM. A communiqué will be sent to students in September outlining the reasons behind the decision of the voting members and also reaffirming organized dentistry’s commitment to continue to serve the needs of our dental students.

CDA recognizes the importance of organized dentistry maintaining an effective and productive relationship with our dental students. To this end, CDA has convened a Student Strategy Working Group, with representation from students, recent graduates, provincial dental associations, the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry, CDSPI and CDA.

A survey of students and new graduates was recently completed by the working group, which will be using the information gathered to make recommendations to the Board of Directors on how students can best be integrated into the new membership model; what programs, services and products students should be offered; and how and by whom they can be most effectively provided.

The working group has also been tasked with the development of strategies on how best to engage dental students in CDA, in particular, the most effective way to provide students an opportunity to have their views and concerns heard at CDA’s AGM.

Students may wish to consider the feasibility of a national student federation or association, similar to what currently exists for dental students in the United States and medical students here in Canada. This could serve to give Canadian dental students a united voice. If such an organization existed, section status within the new CDA might be a possibility.

In spite of the fact that the student vote is gone, students will still have a forum at the AGM and our students will continue to have a meaningful relationship with organized dentistry.

Dr. Gary MacDonald
CDA Board of Directors

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