On June 2nd, 2012, with a 60% majority, the members of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND) voted in favor of re-linking membership between the CAND and the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND), effective as of January 1st, 2013. Holding the position of the Naturopathic Students' Association (NSA) CAND Representative, I recognize the importance of creating awareness about the re-linking of these two organizations. To achieve this, there are several important questions I would like to address.
As a growing profession, there is strength in numbers. When we stand united, we are able to provide a better representation of the profession to the public, government, other health care professions, and insurance companies, to name a few. In this way, we are able to create a more positive viewpoint of our profession to these groups. Division of the CAND and OAND sends a negative message to those we are trying to influence.
From a human resources perspective, linking these two associations will help to reduce duplication of benefits and workload. It will also help to ensure that both associations will have the financial and human resources required in order to effectively address the challenges that our profession faces on both a national and provincial level.
How will re-linking affect naturopathic doctors in Ontario? And naturopathic medical students?
Linking of the CAND and OAND essentially means that naturopathic doctors in Ontario who want to be a member of the CAND or OAND must be a member of both associations. For some, this may initially present a financial challenge as it will require payment of fees to both associations.
Throughout the re-linking process, the CAND and OAND have put considerable thought into the effects that higher membership fees may have. Overall, they see the increased fees as an adjustment that naturopathic doctors in Ontario must make in order to help restore the relationship between the two associations; the focus is on working together on behalf of the profession.
The CAND and OAND view remaining de-linked as a risk for our profession not reaching its full potential in the province of Ontario, and thereby being less likely to become a prominent choice in healthcare. It is important for all members to understand the beneficial effects of having linked membership, and that by the CAND and OAND committing to working together, this will result in improvements in the profession moving forward. Membership fees go toward marketing and promotion, advocacy, professional education and member support; ultimately, the goal is to ensure the financial resources are available to assist Ontario in reaching its full potential.
Additionally, with all naturopathic doctors in Ontario supporting the CAND and OAND, the OAND has committed to reducing its fees beginning in 2014.
Students of The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) will not be financially affected by re-linking as they are already members of the CAND, and membership with the OAND is also sponsored.
For any further questions about the CAND and OAND re-linking, or the CAND in general, please contact me at email@example.com
Sincere thanks to Shawn O’Reilly, Heather Fleck, and Lowell Greib from the CAND for their contributions toward writing this article.