Spotlight on resolutions at the AGM

  • November 13, 2018

Not to put Christmas on display before Halloween is over, but it’s time to get moving on resolutions for the February AGM.

One excellent way for members to take a role in shaping CBA policy on issues of interest to them and to the benefit of the legal profession is through the resolutions up for debate at the AGM.

Changes in the way resolutions are handled this year will make the process more interactive, giving more members a greater opportunity to participate in the deliberations.

As always, proposed resolutions are submitted to Executive Director of Advocacy Tamra Thomson. This year’s deadline is Dec. 4. Details about form and format are available on the website.

Over the next month they’re translated, checked for accuracy, and vetted by the Policy Committee to ensure they’re clear and concise.

A new procedure starts in mid-January, when the resolutions are posted online, each with its own discussion board. Any member can log in and post comments. They won’t just sit in a vacuum – sponsors of the resolutions will be required to participate as well. Members will also be able to post documents to support their arguments on the board.

“The discussion board is your opportunity to discuss issues before the meeting starts,” says Tom Laughlin, Board member and Chair of the Policy Committee. “Members said they wanted to be more involved in the process of setting CBA policy, and this is a step in that direction. We think of it as CBA Advocacy 360, a full circle where members have a say in and know more about the work in CBA’s advocacy agenda.”

Also new this year, any proposed amendments to a resolution must be submitted (again to Thomson) by Jan. 25. So members are encouraged to visit the site early, to study the resolutions on offer, and to check out the discussion around them – in case they think something might be missing.

Members should also let Thomson know if they plan to speak to the motion at the AGM. Knowing what to expect from the floor helps the organizers better plan the meeting agenda because it gives them an idea of how much time they will need to set aside for debate. Movers will have five minutes to speak, while other members will have three.

“With the new process we’re trying to streamline the debate at the AGM, where there’s limited time available, but still give everyone a chance to have their say,” says Laughlin, noting that the 2019 meeting will be extended from 2½ to three hours. “Some members have been frustrated by the short time for debate, so these measures ensure that we have more time for discussion.”