CDBC Registration Fee FAQ
Q1. How does CDBC’s registration fees compare to other health regulators in BC?
Health Regulators in BC all have the same mandate, defined in the Health Professions Act, section 16(2). To accomplish their duty and objects as described in that section, colleges rely almost exclusively on registration fees for their revenue. This means that the annual budget needed to conduct operations will be influenced by the number of registrants and the workload the College has to support. Indeed, depending on the nature of the profession regulated, certain functions and programs of the College might be different and generate higher or lower workload. For example, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC processed 1046 complaints in 2020-2021 versus 12 for CDBC. The CDBC registration fees are among the lowest of the BC health regulators that CDBC will amalgamate with through the modernization project of the Ministry of Health, announced in 2019.
Since health regulation is a provincial jurisdiction, comparing registration fees with other Canadian dietetic regulatory bodies is a challenge. Not all provinces are under an umbrella legislation as the BC Health Professions Act and therefore do not have the same defined mandate and duties to fulfill. Cost of living (including real estate but also other services and supplies needed to operate a business) and the number of complaints are other important factors influencing registration fees. BC fees remain within a comparable range with other dietetic regulators of similar size and complaint volume.
Q2. Why doesn’t CDBC consider Dietitians’ wages in its decision to establish fees? What does CDBC need to consider when establishing the registration fees?
Although the CDBC Board is sensitive to the cost of living and Dietitians’ wages, the CDBC is not an association whose role is to advocate for Dietitians’ interests such as salary and benefits. CDBC has a defined mandate in legislation and the Board primarily considers what level of expenses is required to fulfill its mandate, what revenue is necessary to cover those expenses and by extension, what level of registration fees are appropriate. CDBC has invested considerable time and effort over the last three years to optimize its resources. We share many services amongst BC and Canadian regulators to maintain low costs, make use of contractors where appropriate to gain expertise without adding overhead, and have renegotiated our lease to decrease occupancy costs.
Q3. What are CDBC’s expenses?
CDBC’s expenses are directly related to supporting its four main mandated functions: registration, quality assurance, complaints and discipline. As with any business, CDBC has administrative expenses such as occupancy, telecommunications, IT, accounting and HR. Because CDBC is a regulator, we have specific costs related to legal, complaints and examinations. CDBC is diligent in negotiating the best cost possible with all its service providers, however increased costs for some of these services are outside of our control. CDBC’s expenses are also influenced by the number of complaints we receive and investigate, and these numbers have been increasing over the past few years. In 2020, CDBC removed fees for restricted activities and shifted oversight from registration to quality assurance. This reduced registration costs for a majority of registrants and decreased revenue for CDBC. Yet, operations remained within budget for the two follow-up years.
Q4. What is the contingency fund? When can it be used?
The College maintains investments known as “Restricted Funds.” The goal of the College is to maintain Contingency Funds of at least $1 million. This goal was met in 2019. The funds may be utilized, only under a Board resolution, for:
- Unexpected legal fees, hearing-related costs or related unforeseen expenses associated with discipline, complaint or inquiry issues.
- Other major projects or capital expenditures that the Board deems to be of long-term strategic importance to the College. For example, the CDBC IT system overhaul in 2016-2017 used some of the Restricted Funds.
The Board is planning for a portion of the fund to cover CDBC’s share of costs to amalgamate with other health care colleges. For more information on modernization of the Health Professions Act and amalgamation, please click here.
As the restricted funds are meant to support contingency, they should not be used to support regular operations of the College and to avoid increasing fees.
Q5. How can I interpret variation in different expenses throughout the years?
You will find all financial information available in the CDBC annual report. Annual reports are shared with registrants annually via email and can also be requested. CDBC financial statements are audited yearly. The audit comprises rigorous review of management and governance practices with the intent to detect any fraud or error. The audited financial statements included in the Annual Report are a detailed breakdown of CDBC finances. At the AGM, the Registrar presents highlights and variances and receives and answers any questions, in collaboration with the Board.
Some other areas, such as professional fees, which includes legal expenses, will also fluctuate from years to years as they are highly influenced by the number of complaints received. This can be very difficult to predict from year to year as legal costs are case-specific. Operational contract services costs are highly impacted by the number of projects undertaken by the College, but often these project costs are offset by grants received from the provincial government, so the net expense is generally close to zero because revenue is also higher in these cases.