Leadership Message: May 2021

  •   May 6, 2021
  •  Karin Eldred, Council President

It is late April as I write this message and looking out my window I can see that it is snowing, again. I read the news and find that travel restrictions are being instituted between Alberta and BC, again. My kids’ schools are considering moving to online learning again and many of my patients are canceling as case numbers increase in our town, again. On one hand I feel weary and frustrated like so many others, but on the other I feel strangely philosophical and meta about my experiences over the past year.

It started when I was a part of an outbreak at my work site in November 2020. My symptoms were mild but being isolated in one’s bedroom for 10-14 days is an experience I would not choose to re-live. I often describe my convalescence and recovery from COVID-19 as other-worldly. I spent a lot of time staring out the window reflecting on the state of the world and fearing for the health of my family, friends, coworkers and patients. Once I became well again, I found it difficult to detach from that foggy state of contemplation. My clinical thinking has shifted somewhat, as have my philosophies around the role of Physiotherapy Alberta - College + Association.

On December 9, 2020 the Legislative Assembly of Alberta passed The Health Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 46) which mandates the separation of regulatory colleges from professional associations. I had initially thought of this as an arduous and momentous task of frustratingly uncertain benefit to regulated members. I now feel this is an achievable objective that has the potential to strengthen our profession’s voice in the province of Alberta. Many issues over the past months have highlighted Physiotherapy Alberta’s current challenge of protecting the public while advocating for and supporting professional interests. Upon reflection, I am hopeful this change will provide the opportunity for the creation of two strong, independent provincial physiotherapy organizations with defined roles and responsibilities. To this end I have volunteered, along with fellow council member Grant Fedoruk, to participate in a process to select the inaugural board for a future physiotherapy association in Alberta. We have the guidance and experienced assistance of Halford Consulting, an organization supporting other joint college and associations to undertake this same endeavor.

Over the next weeks and months, Physiotherapy Alberta will divest itself of association responsibilities while supporting this new organization to create and meet its objectives. Alberta physiotherapists need broad thinkers and experienced leaders who are willing to take on the task of creating a strong and sustainable professional association. You have already seen messaging from Physiotherapy Alberta regarding the recruitment of members for the association’s inaugural board. I encourage you to think of members with solid governance and advocacy skills who might be interested in participating in this exciting opportunity. I envision a vibrant and skilled team of physiotherapists who will build a strong foundation for our new association.

Wishing you good health,
Karin Eldred
Council President