As a member of Council, I have had the opportunity to travel to every Regional Group at some point in my term. Each group has always tried hard to provide items and issues of interest to its regional members. Sometimes the topics are successful, sometimes not so much.
So what does it take to provide insightful sessions that entice the members for more reasons than just CPD points? Regional Chairs often struggle with this question. In my opinion, the answer to a successful Regional Group "business" meeting is membership involvement, whereby the members are making presentations to their group of some experience or knowledge in a topic that will assist in everyone's education. Education, not "trade secrets".
This year I have the privilege of joining the Eastern Regional Group (ERG) as their Liaison to Council. Eastern Regional Group is chaired by Paul Miller. Many of the ERG members have commented to me on how fortunate they are to have Paul as their Chair. Paul gets attendance. Paul combines topical educational meetings with a friendly and fun atmosphere. Paul would modestly tell you that he takes direction from his members on topics of interest, but there is obviously a tremendous effort behind the scene.
On April 25th I experienced an ERG meeting that really hit it out of the park. The meeting was held at the Donald Gordon Conference Centre (Queens University). Attendance was about 75. The topic of the meeting was "Roads". It was a full-day meeting with discussions on Forced Roads, Highway Plans, Road Formulas, Quarter Session By-Laws, and a series of interesting court cases.
Every topic was presented by an ERG member. Some used PowerPoint, and others were less technical, but all were very well presented. My understanding is that the speakers were "voluntold" their topic/case and given time to research and compile the details of their presentation. I would suggest that these presenters have acquired some beneficial Continued Professional Development hours under the Professional Activities category.
Paul had also arranged for two municipal specialty lawyers (Tony Fleming and David Munday), of Cunningham Swan LLP, to attend and add comments on the court cases and presentations. Their fee? A shameless business plug for future municipal real estate law consideration.
The end result was an excellent venue, with an engaged audience, great commentaries and some good friendly banter.
In closing the meeting at 4:30 pm, Chair Paul Miller challenged his members to email him with business meeting ideas for the future. I am sure those will come.
A perfect meeting, and worth the drive to Kingston.