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Council Approves 2002 Budget and Membership Fee Increase

Council approved the College’s 2002 budget as well as a fee increase at its June 7-8 meeting. The approval follows months of preparation by the Finance Committee and a meticulous point by point review by Council.

The budget for 2002 is set at $21.9 million compared to $20.2 million for 2001. The College is currently operating with a projected deficit of $1.8 million, which would nearly exhaust the fee stabilization reserve. Without a fee increase, the College would run a similar deficit in 2002, putting the College at financial risk.

"This budget reflects what we need in the way of financial resources to run this College to fulfil its mandate in the year 2002. A careful and thorough process was carried out — unit by unit — of the College’s 17 units. We looked at the College’s mandate to protect the public interest and to serve the profession both effectively and efficiently," said Finance Committee Chair Solette N. Gelberg.

"The budget must ensure fiscal responsibility as directed by the College’s statement of financial objectives that require that services will be appropriately funded, that fees be set at a reasonable level and that resources be accumulated to ensure stability and financial independence."

M E M B E R S H I P    F E E    I N C R E A S E 

Next year, the membership fee will increase from $90 to $104. The College fee remains the lowest of all self-regulated professions in Ontario. The nursing profession’s fee, which was also at $90 in 1999, increased to $125 in 2000.

"We looked at various items, we reduced many items, we deleted some items from the list and we added some revenue items to try to help to deal with the bottom line," said Gelberg.

To simply balance the budget for 2002, the College would require a fee of $100 but then, the fee required in 2003 would be $104 and $108 in 2004.

Gelberg said, "The fee that we looked at we hope will be able to carry over to 2004. We are trying to have some stability and to not have to do this every single year. This will leave the next Council a year before they have to deal with this again."

The College estimates that the fee increase will produce a modest excess of revenue in 2002, a balanced budget in 2003 and a deficit of approximately $1 million in 2004. Over the three years, the College would be able to keep its reserves at or above the minimum acceptable level.

O T H E R    F E E S    A D J U S T E D

Council reviewed other College fees to help increase revenues, starting with the registration fee, which will now be set at $80 to better reflect the staff time and other resources required to set up a new registration file. It has been $25 for the past five years.

Council also agreed to set the fee for evaluating out-of-province credentials at $225 to fully recover the cost of evaluations. A review of evaluation services showed that there is no distinction based on cost between the work required for an out-of-country application and an out-of-province application. Currently, evaluations for out-of-province applicants cost $125 and evaluations for out-of-country applicants cost $225.

The $100 reinstatement fee will be reduced to $80 in 2002. The change takes into consideration the current teacher shortage and the fact that the fee applies to a large number of teachers who are retired or suspended for non-payment of fees because they have not written to inform the College about their retirement.

S P E C I A L    P R O J E C T S    A N D    O U T R E A C H

The Finance Committee recommended to Council that the College seek partnerships for two special projects. The first one is Transition to Teaching, a study that will follow Ontario new graduates through their first several years of experience in Ontario schools. The second is a career awareness project seeking to renew interest in the teaching profession.

Council also agreed to pursue ongoing initiatives — like the College’s Thinking About Becoming a Teacher and job fair booth — to look into new initiatives to help deal with the teacher shortage and to ensure that Ontario children are taught by qualified and certified teachers. The College published the initial study on teacher shortage in Ontario in December 1998 and has also produced and released a followup study in February of this year. The followup study is available at www.oct.ca/english/news releases/news archive/ 010222.asp

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