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Connexions Council governance Office of the Registrar

Council is in session: publicly appointed members

Our Council is made of 24 individuals, 14 of which are RECEs who are elected by their peers. The remaining ten are appointed by the Government of Ontario. Find out more about the expertise and perspectives they bring to governance.

How does someone become a public appointee?

While those elected to Council are selected by their peers and must be Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs), anyone from the general public can apply to become an appointee. The experience gives individuals an opportunity to support the governance of public agencies as they work to benefit Ontarians.

“After being a teacher for close to 40 years, as well as a curriculum consultant, I retired in 2010,” says Ann Robichaud-Gagné, the College’s longest standing public appointee. “I wanted to continue contributing to the learning process and happened to hear that the College of Early Childhood Educators needed public appointees. It really interested me, so I took the time to apply.”

The government also keeps an ongoing list of agencies looking for public appointees. That way interested members of the public can apply and bring their experience and expertise to the boards or agencies of their choice.

What’s the purpose of public appointees?

 The inclusion of public members in the College’s governance is a hallmark of effective self-regulation, and something that all regulatory colleges have. While all members of Council are responsible for ensuring that the College acts in the public interest, public members bring that perspective to the forefront of all Council deliberations.

“Our first and foremost role is to serve the public interest at all times,” explains Ann. “And what was interesting about my tenure as an appointee, is that each year we were delegated to serve on different committees.”

Public members are a vital source of diversity on Council. They bring valuable skills and experience that complement the perspective of members elected from the profession. For example, current and recent public appointees bring skills such as financial and legal expertise, bilingualism and knowledge of children’s mental health and anti-racism.

Getting involved in governance

There are different ways you can get involved in governance:

  • Visit the Ontario government’s webpage that shares how you can become a public appointee at an organization you’re passionate about.
  • Consider running for a seat on College Council when your district is up for election. Each year, different districts elect their representatives. Find out more on our website.

Contemplate responding when the College puts out periodic calls for volunteers to serve on committees.

Endings bring new beginnings

“My point of view was always taken with respect and professionalism – even if my peers had different opinions,” Ann says, reflecting on her time as appointee. “It’s been a wonderful experience but it’s time to turn a page.”

Public appointees for the College cannot serve for more than ten consecutive years. “We extend our sincere thanks to Ann for her commitment to the College and contributions during her term. We look forward to working with our newest appointees — Adesua Ezeokafor, Cindy Harrison, Shernett Martin and Ulana Pahuta — and I know we will all benefit from the experiences and knowledge they bring to Council,” says Beth Deazeley, Registrar and CEO.

“I’m so proud of the work I’ve been involved in,” Ann says. “I was part of a strong team with other appointees and elected RECEs to make the College one of the most respected by elevating the role of RECEs so they’re known as professionals.”

“To every RECE in the province: you are leaders and professionals,” Ann says. “You have a strong Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice to guide you in being a role model, a leader, a professional and someone who cares for every child with compassion, respect and connection to your communities.”

What’s next for Ann? She continues to be involved in her passion for early childhood education as she teaches the French Kindergarten program part time at the University of Ottawa. She also looks forward to one day lending her expertise to another board or agency.

Final thoughts

Whether a public appointee, an elected Council member or a non-Council committee member, those we have on Council and its committees are committed to excellence in governance. With a clear, shared vision, the College can pursue its vision of ‘Leadership in early learning and care, by trusted, accountable professionals.’

Have you met your new Council members? Take a moment to discover who’s on Council.