September 30, 2020

By TIFFANY WILSON

Sometimes change is inevitable and sometimes it is the result of a unanimous decision.
During the Conestoga Student Inc. (CSI) monthly board meeting on Jan. 25, an excited discussion on change within the corporation and the decline in claims for both the health and dental plan sparked a thought-provoking evening.
The immediate change to the governance structure requires the generation of a separate board for the directors who will then have no connection to the operations of the corporation. This means that they will attend only the monthly meetings, the strategic planning weekend, grand openings and anything else that requires student representation and student advocacy.
The new set of board of directors will start in May.
Before the change, directors maintained office hours and did daily tasks, such as creating surveys, creating new policies and advocating for students. In order to compensate for losing their help in operations, CSI is considering hiring one or two full-time interns, starting in the summer, and part-time students throughout the school year (duties and responsibilities have not been determined).
CSI president, Ciara Byrne, said, if they proceed, they will offer students two different leadership opportunities (as interns). The first opportunity would be for students who want to learn to be on a board, how to manage a company and to make huge decisions. The second opportunity would be for students who want to learn the behind-the-scenes of a company and operations.
If hiring more staff is approved, CSI will consider hiring internally first for the summer intern to make it fair for the present board members. However, if no one is interested from the board, they will open the opportunities up to the student body, said Byrne.
The pros and cons of the proposal were debated for more than five minutes.
Trish Crompton, director of external relations, said, “The pros are that more students are going to have more opportunities. Don’t get me wrong, that is fantastic, I just don’t like the fact that there is such a huge disconnect between all the different aspects of the corporation now.”
However, Byrne said it takes the right people as general manager and president to create a relationship with the board of directors that is not disconnected and has faith that the corporation has the right individuals for those positions at the moment.
In other business, the board was told there seems to be a monthly decline in health claims and a fractional decline in dental claims. This could potentially decrease the cost of the program when they reset the cost for next term.
Brian McLaughlin, a representative from Conestoga’s insurance brokers, Gallivan & Associates, said the claims are trending downward. However, no one knows what will happen with claims because it becomes dependent on student needs. He said there are two factors that could have contributed to the decline of 20 per cent in the health claims.
“Two years ago, most of the population of the school were second career students and for many of them, the use for the health plan is much higher than students who are just coming out of post-secondary school,” he said.
The second factor, which started in September, is all prescription drugs that can be claimed must fall under the Ontario Formulary, McLaughlin said.
The Ontario Formulary is a list of prescriptions that are covered under the plan, including methadone, which CSI added to the list.
This can potentially bring down the costs in claims, which in turn can potentially bring down the cost of the program.