Governing Ourselves informs members of legal and regulatory matters affecting the profession. This section provides updates on licensing and qualification requirements, notification of Council resolutions and reports from various Council committees, including reports on accreditation and discipline matters.
2010 College budget approved
Reduced investment income and a hit from the harmonized sales tax (HST) put unexpected pressure on Council during consideration of the College’s 2010 budget in November.
The 2010 budget includes operating revenues of $32,298,211, operating expenses of $31,187,405 before depreciation, and capital and deferred charges of $2,596,000.
2010 is the first year in the history of the College that revenue has decreased from the previous year. Finance Committee Chair John Tucker told Council that the College predicts revenues will drop by $50,000 in 2010, mainly due to decreased investment returns.
“Just to be clear, the College has not lost money on bad investments. We only put the members’ money in the most secure investments available,” Tucker said. “But those financial vehicles simply do not offer the returns that they did in past years. When the Bank of Canada is lending money at 0.25 per cent, we can’t achieve better returns than the average 1.25 per cent we are budgeting for and the 0.75 per cent we are getting today.”
The full-year hit of the HST will amount to more than $700,000 in 2011, he said.
“Neither the HST nor the $700,000-plus drop in our investment income were foreseen – or could have been foreseen – when Council approved the three-year budget plan and the $120 fee back in late 2008,” Tucker said.
Still, he said, the same budget goals that guided the first Council applied to the 2010 budget, namely that services be adequately funded with appropriate attention to economy, efficiency and effectiveness; that annual fees be maintained at the lowest possible levels, balanced against the other financial objectives; and that resources continue to be accumulated to ensure the College’s financial stability.
With operating expenses of roughly $32 million, status quo plus inflation would normally add $640,000 to the budget. During most years, incoming revenue would offset the costs of inflation. Not this year. The College expects to earn only $231,000 in investment income in 2010 compared to the $1.06 million it received in 2008.
College departments were held to zero-increase budgets except in cases where increases in membership would strain existing resources. The expected addition of another 4,000 members will bring more activity to all departments. Meanwhile, the complement of College staff remains fixed at 168 employees.
More than 72,000 College members – a vital and critical component of the overall membership – pay their fees directly, which accounts for $8.6 million of College revenue. Roughly one-third of those members are retired and two-thirds hope to gain employment in the profession. Survey data suggests that the College’s membership will not wane anytime soon, but that its rate of increase will not be as dramatic as in the past.
Total membership is forecast at 229,800 for 2010. The budget is based on 96 per cent of the membership renewing.
In the past, the College charged evaluation fees to teachers transferring to Ontario from other provinces. Between 400 and 500 such teachers transfer on average every year. However, the Agreement on Internal Trade now prohibits those fees.
In light of the purchase of new facilities, Council also endorsed a larger than normal capital budget for 2010. The building and the renovation of the space within it will enable the College to integrate new equipment and technologies into the construction that reduce energy consumption and operating costs.