1. Purpose

    The Professional Relations Committee (hereinafter referred to as the "Committee") is basically a mechanism to deal with problems of a professional relationship nature which occur between members of the NLASSA. It may also be able to deal with relationships between the members and their Boards. The services of the Committee are provided under the mandate of the Membership Assistance Program.

    Based on the premise that NLASSA members are often willing to accept the advice of their peers, the Association has set up the mechanism of this Committee to assist members in resolving professional relationship problems. Such a mechanism can help resolve problems which may occur between members before they reach such proportions as to require external mechanisms.

  2. The Relationship between this Committee and a Disciplinary Committee

    It is important to distinguish clearly between Professional Relations Committee procedures and disciplinary procedures.

    It is intended that the functions of each be distinct and separate, and in no way sequential. If the Committee has not been successful in resolving a professional relations problem, only another written request can commence the disciplinary procedure.

  3. Terms of Reference

    1. Membership

      1. The NLASSA Executive shall maintain a committee, not to include members of the Executive, to be known as the Professional Relations Committee.

      2. The committee shall consist of 5 members of NLASSA appointed by the Executive.

      3. The term of the committee members shall be 2 years. Past members of the Committee shall be eligible for re-appointment.

      4. The Executive Director shall act as secretary to the Committee.

    2. Role of the Investigating Officer

      1. Upon receipt of a written complaint or a written request for investigation of professional relationships between members, the Committee shall cause a preliminary investigation to be made by an investigating officer.

      2. Question: Who may serve as an investigating officer? (Some organizations use an administrative staff member.)

      3. After contacting the parties involved, the Investigating Officer shall, as is practical, make the appropriate persons aware of the procedures to be followed in the investigation and in the operation of the Professional Relations Committee, and shall clarify the application of the Code of Ethics.

      4. The Investigating Officer shall interview, as is practical, all persons who may be able to provide information about the complaint or the matter of professional relations, and shall a record of each interview.

      5. The Investigating Officer may attempt to resolve the problem in professional relations if, in the Officer’s judgement, there is a strong likelihood of being able to do so successfully.

      6. If the Investigating Officer succeeds in resolving the problem in professional relations, the officer shall so report, and shall recommend that the Committee take no further action.

      7. If the Investigating Officer deems the problem in professional relations as stated in the request for an investigation to be frivolous or vexatious or so minor as not to justify further consideration by the Committee, or if the Officer deems that the involvement of the Committee is inappropriate to the circumstances, the officer shall so report, and shall recommend that the Committee declare the matter to be closed.

      8. Should the member(s) who initiated the complaint feel that it has not been handled satisfactorily, the member(s) may then register a second complaint. The subsequent Investigating Officer shall be different from the first. If, in both cases, the Investigating Officer’s recommendations are similar, no further complaint will be accepted.

      9. If the Investigating Officer deems it inadvisable to attempt a resolution on his/her own, or if any attempt appears to unsuccessful, the Officer shall recommend within three days thereafter that the Committee establish a hearing to investigate the professional relationships of the parties involved.

      10. Prior to the commencement of hearings, the Investigating Officer shall provide the Committee members with confidential reports of interviews conducted during the investigation.

    3. Operation of the Committee

      1. In carrying out the business before it, the Committee shall meet and, subject to any instructions from the Executive, regulate the convening notice, place, anagement, adjournment of its meetings, mode of deciding questions, and the general transaction and management of business.

      2. Every hearing conducted by the Committee held for the purpose of investigating a complaint shall be held at such time and place as is most convenient for the parties involved.

      3. At least one week before the hearing, the Secretary shall serve notice upon the person or persons whose professional relations are the subject of the inquiry and upon other persons who may provide information; and such notice shall contain a statement of the subject matter of the hearing, and shall specify the place and date of the meeting. The notices to the parties in the dispute shall be by registered mail or by personal delivery.) Function of the Committee

      4. The Committee shall initiate an investigation ordered by the Executive in any case where the complaint has been lodged against a member or members of the Association regarding the proper practice of the profession or the failure to maintain proper professional relationships. After determining the cause(s) of the problem(s) in Professional relations, the Committee may take any or all of the following courses of action:

        • attempt to conciliate the dispute by arranging conferences between/among the persons concerned.

        • discuss with appropriate persons more professional ways of conducting their professional practice or the their professional relations.

        • inform the member(s) of their jeopardy under the Code of Ethics of the Association and/or the Schools Act.

      5. Where the Committee is satisfied that its efforts to mediate and conciliate are likely to have resolved the problem(s) in professional relations, and no report of the nature indicated in 3. (e)(iii) is intended, the Committee shall instruct the Secretary of the Committee to so report to the Executive, in such terms and such detail as seems appropriate to the Committee.

      6. Where the Committee is not satisfied that its efforts have resolved the problem(s), it shall prepare a report for the consideration of the Executive containing findings and recommendations which the Committee believes should be communicated to members or groups of members. Without restricting the generality of the foregoing, in preparation for such a report, the Committee may recommend:

        • that a member or members be informed of more professional ways of conducting professional practice or professional relationships.

        • that a member or members be supported or not supported in any further professional relations action.

        • that a member or members resign their contract or designation.

        • that other involved parties act or refrain from acting in specified ways.

    4. Role of the Executive

      1. The Executive shall receive the report of the Committee and, when no action pursuant to Item 3. (e)(iii) is proposed, shall cause the parties to be informed that the work of the Committee has been concluded.

      2. When action pursuant to 3. (e)(iii) is proposed by the Committee, the Executive shall receive the Committee’s findings and recommendations or may reject any or all of them. Those recommendations approved by the Executive shall be submitted in writing to the parties concerned. The Executive, at its discretion, may submit additional recommendations to the parties.

      3. In the event of written a complaint that the recommendations of the Committee may not have been followed by a member, or that the conditions which existed prior to the Committee investigation still prevail, the Executive shall order a further investigation. If the results of the subsequent investigation indicate that the recommendations of the Committee were not observed, the Executive may lay a disciplinary charge. If disciplinary action follows, the records and findings the Committee shall not be made available to the Disciplinary Committee.

    5. Reports

      1. Any reports of a Committee become the property of the Association.

      2. Members affected by the reports will be informed only of those parts which affect them.

      3. Reports will be stored in an appropriate place with due regard for their confidential nature.

    6. Miscellaneous

      1. In the event of deliberate non-attendance of any of the parties, the Committee, upon proof of service of notice referred to in Item 1. (d)(iii), shall proceed with the hearing and, without further notice to such person or persons, make a report of its findings or take such action as may have been authorized.

      2. When a member of the Executive or of their family, or an NLASSA staff member or a member of his/her family is also a member of the staff or group in which relations are under investigation, the member shall not see or participate in any way in the consideration of the Committee’s report, findings, and recommendations.

      3. For attendance at hearings of the Committee, the Association shall pay approved expenses of the members of the Committee and of those invited to appear at the hearings.

  4. Guidelines for Appointment to the Professional Relations Committee

    1. The Executive shall appoint the Committee as follows:

      1. one member nominated by the Western Regional.

      2. one member nominated by the Central Regional.

      3. one member nominated by the Eastern Regional.

      4. two members appointed by the Executive. One of these appointees shall be designated as chair.

    2. The following criteria are used in selecting members of the Committee:

      1. Seniority in the Association.

      2. Knowledge in human relations.

      3. Balanced according to role.

      4. Training in conciliation.

      5. Not members of the Disciplinary Committee.

      6. Not members of the Provincial Executive.

  5. Identification and Training

    1. The Regionals may make nominations for membership to the Committee in addition to their designated nominations.

    2. The members of the Committee should receive at least one in-service opportunity within one year of their appointment.