Roles and Responsiblities of Board Members

Board Profile

Introduction

Diversity in the backgrounds, skills and experience of board members can enhance the effectiveness of a board by bringing a wider range of perspectives and knowledge. The development of a profile of the core competencies required by the board members as a collectivity can provide the framework against which individual selection processes can be developed. As vacancies occur, the board profile can be used to identify gaps in the core experiences and competencies currently available to the board and the individual selection process can be tailored accordingly. For example, if the board as a collectivity does not provide the necessary level of linguistic competencies required in fulfilling effectively its mandate, then the linguistic competency should be emphasized when the next vacancy occurs.

The development of a board profile starts with an understanding of the statutory framework and the mandate of the board.

Statutory Provisions: Patent Act

Establishment

91. (1) The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board is hereby continued, and shall consist of not more than five members to be appointed by the Governor in Council.

Tenure

(2) Each member of the Board shall hold office during good behaviour for a period of five years, but may be removed at any time by the Governor in Council for cause.

Reappointment

(3) A member of the Board, on the expiration of a first term of office, is eligible to be reappointed for one further term.

Acting after expiration of appointment

(4) A person may continue to act as a member of the Board after the expiration of the person's term of appointment in respect of any matter in which the person became engaged during the term of appointment.

Example: In respect to findings and decisions following a hearing on which the former member sat prior to the expiration of his/her appointment.

Remuneration and expenses

(5) The members of the Board shall be paid such remuneration as may be fixed by the Governor in Council and are entitled to be paid reasonable travel and living expenses incurred by them in the course of their duties under this Act while absent from their ordinary place of residence.

Advisory Panel

92. (1) The Minister may establish an advisory panel to advise the Minister on the appointment of persons to the Board, which panel shall include representatives of the provincial ministers of the Crown responsible for health, representatives of consumer groups, representatives of the pharmaceutical industry and such other persons as the Minister considers appropriate to appoint.

Consultation

(2) The Minister shall consult with an advisory panel established under subsection (1) for the purpose of making a recommendation to the Governor in Council with respect to the appointment of a person to the Board.

Chaiperson and Vice-chairperson

93. (1) The Governor in Council shall designate one of the members of the Board to be Chairperson of the Board and one of the members to be Vice-chairperson of the Board.

Duties of Chairperson

(2) The Chairperson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Board and has supervision over and direction of the work of the Board, including

(a) the apportionment of the work among the members thereof and the assignment of members to deal with matters before the Board and to sit at hearings of the Board and to preside at hearings or other proceedings; and

(b) generally, the conduct of the work of the Board, the management of its internal affairs and the duties of its staff.

Duties of Vice-chairperson

(3) If the Chairperson is absent or incapacitated or if the office of Chairperson is vacant, the Vice-chairperson has all the powers and functions of the Chairperson during the absence, incapacity or vacancy.

Mandate of the PMPRB

The PMPRB is an independent, quasi-judicial body created by Parliament as a result of revisions to the Patent Act in 1987 that increased patent protection for pharmaceutical products and introduced, for the first time in Canada, direct price regulation of patented drugs. The PMPRB represents a strategic component of federal policy to balance consumer protection and affordable health care with the trade and industrial development objectives (research and development, investment) of pharmaceutical patent legislation. The objective of the PMPRB is to protect consumer interests and contribute to Canadian health care by ensuring that prices charged by patentees for patented drugs sold in Canada are not excessive. The determination of what constitutes an excessive price is guided by statutory factors that include changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prices of the drug in other countries and the prices of other drugs in the same therapeutic class. The PMPRB develops and keeps under review a set of pricing guidelines that enable patentees, voluntarily, to establish prices to be consistent with the Patent Act.

Further amendments to the Patent Act in 1993 granted to the PMPRB stronger remedial powers. While the PMPRB makes every effort to promote voluntary compliance with the pricing guidelines, it has the power, after a hearing, to order a reduction in the price to a non-excessive level and to enforce that order. The Board is also able to order the patentee to offset the excess revenues it may have received from excessive pricing and, in cases where there has been a policy of excessive pricing, to double the amount to be offset.

Responsibilities of Board Members

The Members of the PMPRB, including the Chairperson, are responsible collectively for the implementation of the applicable provisions of the Patent Act. Together, they establish the guidelines, rules, by-laws and other policies of the Board as provided by the Act (section 96) and consult as necessary with stakeholders including ministers of health and representatives of consumer groups, the pharmaceutical industry and others.

Members are appointed by the Chairperson to hearing panels for purposes of hearings under section 83 of the Act, to hear evidence, prepare findings and recommendations and participate in forming the decisions of the Board with respect to excessive prices for patented medicines. Members also issue various Board orders under sections 81, 82, 83 and 88 of the Act.

All five Board Members are involved in the following core activities:

1. Operational

2. Quasi-judicial

All members, including the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, serve on a part-time basis. The Board meets quarterly and, as may be required, for hearings and public consultations (for which there are no set time frames). A full hearing may take up to three weeks of full time attendance when required.

Members are responsible to keep current on Board activities. Members may also take training for members of administrative tribunals. Members participate in periodic conference calls. Members may attend conferences.

Board Members are subject to the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders and the Guidelines for the Conduct of Members of the PMPRB.

PMPRB Profile

A review of the fields of study and experience of the current and previous members of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board provides a basis for establishing the Board Profile.

Fields of Study and Expertise

Members of the PMPRB may have training and experience in one or more of several relevant disciplines, including but not restricted to:

Abilities

Personal Suitability

Diversity and Representativeness

With every opportunity to recruit new Board members special attention should be taken to ensure the appointment process facilitates the consideration of qualified people from the four designated groups – women, aboriginal people, members of visible minorities and persons with disabilities – and the consideration of qualified people from the various regions of Canada.

Linguistic Capacity

Collectively, the Board must have the capacity to fulfill its mandate effectively in both official languages.

Profile: Chairperson

In addition to meeting the qualifications described above for all Board members, the Chairperson should bring to the position:

Significant managerial knowledge and experience to carry out the responsibilities of the PMPRB's Chief Executive Officer.

A significant level of discretion and judgement to manage relations between an arms-length, quasi-judicial tribunal and the government. Privy Council Guidelines to ministers requires that “ministers shall not intervene, or appear to intervene, on behalf of any person or entity, with federal quasi-judicial tribunals on any matter before them that requires a decision in their quasi-judicial capacity, unless otherwise authorized by law.” At the same time, the Minister of Health is the minister responsible for the PMPRB and the Minister and the Chairperson must communicate from time to time on a number of administrative and related matters. The Chairperson must work with the Minister to ensure the appropriate communications between the Minister's Office and the PMPRB and between Health Canada and the PMPRB.

Highly developed communication skills to serve as Board spokesperson; to appear before Parliamentary Committees; to act as the PMPRB's media spokesperson; to represent the Board with a wide range of stakeholders and in public forums; and to give speeches in various forums.

Profile: Vice-Chairperson

In addition to meeting the qualifications described for all Board members, the Vice-Chairperson should bring to the position:

Managerial knowledge and experience to assist the Chairperson in fulfilling the responsibilities of the PMPRB's Chief Executive Officer and to act as Chairperson when required.

Developed communication skills to act as the PMPRB's media spokesperson on sensitive issues; to represent the Board with a wide range of stakeholders and in public forums; and to give speeches in various forums.

Main Accountabilities – Chairperson

Exercises direction, as Chief Executive Officer, over the quasi-judicial and operational functions of the PMPRB and exercises authority as Deputy Head under the Financial Administration Act.

Establishes corporate vision and values, defines strategic priorities and plans and establishes the organization structure and operational systems and processes to guide the work of members and staff.

Directs the development of Board policies, recommends their approval to Board members and oversees their implementation.

Chairs the Board's Executive Committee.

Apportions the work among the Board members and assigns members to deal with matters before the Board and to sit or preside at hearings of the Board or other proceedings.

Issues Notices of Hearings and Board Orders.

Chairs or sits as a member of a Hearing Panel with other Board members.

When Chair of a panel, directs the preparation and issuance of Board decisions and reasons.

Pursuant to the Compliance and Enforcement Policy, approves Voluntary Compliance Undertakings and issues Advance Ruling Certificates in the name of the Board.

Exercises leadership by safeguarding the independence, integrity, reputation and image of the Board as a quasi-judicial institution in its dealings with the public, stakeholders and members of the government.

Submits reports to Parliament through the Minister of Health and appears before Parliamentary Committees.

Provides advice and recommendations to the Minister on the framework for the review of patented medicine prices, on financial and administrative issues related to the work of the PMPRB, on developing trends that could impact on PMPRB's capability to fulfill its quasi-judicial mandate and on the appointment of Board members.

Approves Treasury Board submissions and various planning documents to ensure the adequacy of human, financial and materiel resources for achieving the PMPRB's mandate and objectives and championing government-wide initiatives within the organization.

Ensures that research carried out by staff is based on sound principles that reflect good judgment in the selection of the techniques and methodologies employed.

Is the official spokesperson of the PMPRB, approves Board publications and delivers speeches at various forums.

Time Commitment

The Board meets quarterly and, as may be required, for hearings and public consultations (for which there are no set time frames). A full hearing may take up to three weeks of full time attendance when required.

In addition to hearings and public consultations, the Chairperson can be expected to work 50 to 100 days per year.

Main Accountabilities – Vice-Chairperson

Assists the Chairperson and replaces the Chairperson should the Chairperson be absent, incapacitated or the Office be vacant. The Vice-Chairperson would then exercise all the powers and functions of the Chairperson. The Vice-Chairperson works closely with the Chairperson, maintaining knowledge and understanding of PMPRB activities.

Advises the Chairperson on issues related to the policies and processes of the PMPRB and participates with the Chairperson in the development and recommendation of Board policies.

Makes decisions on Board guidelines and policies as a member on the full Board.

Sits on Hearing Panels and hears and decides cases assigned by the Chairperson.

Prepares for hearings by reading briefing materials and evidentiary documents filed by the parties to understand fully the issues before the Board; listens to arguments, weighs the facts, reviews evidence before the Board and makes decisions with other sitting members.

Participates in the issuance of Board decisions and reasons.

As assigned by the Chairperson, is a spokesperson of the PMPRB, assists in approving Board publications and delivers speeches in various forums.

Time Commitment

The Board meets quarterly and, as may be required, for hearings and public consultations (for which there are no set time frames). A full hearing may take up to three weeks of full time attendance when required.

In addition to hearings and public consultations, the Vice-Chairperson can be expected to work 35 to 50 days per year.

Main Accountabilities – Member

Sits on Hearing Panels and hears and decides cases assigned by the Chairperson.

Prepares for hearings by reading briefing materials and evidentiary documents filed by the parties to understand fully the issues before the Board; listens to arguments, weighs the facts, reviews evidence before the Board and makes decisions with other sitting members.

Participates in the issuance of Board decisions and reasons.

Participates in decisions of the Board on matters relating to guidelines and other policies.

Reviews and provides to the Chairperson comments on Board publications prior to their publication.

Time Commitment

The Board meets quarterly and, as may be required, for hearings and public consultations (for which there are no set time frames). A full hearing may take up to three weeks of full time attendance when required.

Members are responsible to keep current on Board activities. Review of documents requires on average two days a month (not including the review of documents related to hearing). Members may also take training for members of administrative tribunals. Members participate in periodic conference calls. Members may attend conferences.

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