Council endorses policy on prorating of membership fees
AT its December 2002 meeting, provincial council reiterated its support of the existing AARN policy on prorating of membership fees and agreed that the policy was reasonable and sound. Members currently pay an annual registration of $278.20 at any time before May 1; members who register after May 1, (i.e. members returning from leave or initial registrations), pay a reduced registration fee of $187.25.
The policy was recently reviewed by the registration committee at the request of provincial council in response to questions raised by some members who did not work a full registration year. Some members have suggested that members should pay a prorated fee based on the number of months engaged in practice. Requests to introduce a different structure for prorating of fees have been brought forward to provincial council for consideration on a number of occasions over the years. (See sidebar on facing page)
The members of the registration committee and provincial council acknowledged that the policy might seem unfair to some members. Their review, however, determined the existing policy supports regulatory policy and professional standards. The introduction of a prorated fee on a monthly basis could compromise the integrity of the register and increase the cost of maintaining the register. The existing fee structure is also consistent with fees in other jurisdictions.
Members pay an annual registration of $278.20; members who register after May 1 (i.e. members returning from leave or initial registrations), pay a reduced egistration fee of $187.25. The AARN will consider requests for refunds in the following two situations:
The member did not practice at all during the year and paid the registration fee. Members can request a refund at the end of the registration year by writing a letter to the registrar stating that he/she has not worked, the reason for requesting a refund, and returning the membership card with the income tax receipt.
2. The member practiced for a part of the membership year due to extenuating circumstances such as permanent disability or death. The member or their representative can request a refund by writing a letter to the executive director.
Rationale for Current Policy
Provincial council’s ongoing support of the current policy on prorating of membership fees is founded on the registration committee’s report outlining a number of factors which support their recommendation.
Legislation governing the AARN is based on the concept of an annual certificate of registration and an annual fee. Section 25 of the Nursing Profession Act refers only to an annual fee and an annual certificate for RNs, which entitles the member to specific professional privileges.
RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES
The annual fee not only provides members with a license to practice and liability coverage through the Canadian Nurses Protective Society but also confers the following membership privileges of a self-regulated profession:
* Nominating and being nominated for office (president-elect, provincial council, provincial nominating committee)
* Voting in AARN elections
* Serving on AARN committees and boards
* Membership in the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), which in turn is a member of the International Council of Nurses
* Subscription to their member newsletter, Alberta RN and CNA newsletter Canadian Nurse.
LOGISTICS AND FINANCE
A fee structure prorated monthly would generate additional administrative costs and potentially trigger increased fees for the general membership. For example, the AARN would be required to implement information system enhancements to track the monthly status of each member to determine their registration status and their eligibility for the above privileges.
Most of the costs incurred by the AARN to represent the self-regulating profession of registered nursing are fixed and do not vary regardless of the length of the license or permit for individual members. The regulatory and professional activities of the AARN, including registration, discipline, promotion of the nursing profession and participation in discussions related to health care delivery, benefit all members. Annual registration fees support the AARN’s leadership role in achieving professional excellence, influencing health policy, and serving the public through ensuring safe, competent and ethical nursing practice.
After careful deliberation of all the above factors, provincial council acknowledged that some members might pay reduced registration fees if fees were prorated on a monthly basis. However, this type of fee structure would have significant negative consequences and the sound reasons for maintaining the current policy on prorated fees outweigh any potential benefits of modifying the policy.
NOTE: The above information is based on a report submitted to provincial council by June Rock, AARN registrar, on behalf of the AARN registration committee at the December 2002 council meeting.
Copyright Alberta Association of Registered Nurses Feb 2003
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