A Parliamentarian is an expert at interpreting and applying Rules of Order for meetings. Sport organizations usually have established parliamentary procedures that they follow for their meetings and Roberts Rules of Order (Newly Revised) is likely the most familiar. A Parliamentarian provides advice to Boards and presiding officers to ensure that meetings are conducted in a manner that abides by the rules of the organization while enabling members to participate equitably. A Parliamentarian also has expertise in Bylaws, elections, and governance.
Why do sport organizations need a Parliamentarian?
In the Canadian sport system, there is an ongoing movement towards creating more effective governance models driven, in part, by Sport Canada at the national level but embraced by PTSOs and clubs as the sport system evolves to being more organized and professional. Many Boards are recognizing that it is no longer effective for them to be operationally-focused given that they have professional staff with expertise in sport management. Part of this focus on governance includes the necessity of ensuring that meetings of the Board and meetings of the Members follow some form of parliamentary procedure and adhere to the governing documents of the organization. With the federal implementation of the Canada Not for Profit Corporations Act (“NFP Act”) and similarly modern legislation being considered or adopted provincially (such as in BC and Ontario), Members now have much greater power to affect the direction of an organization and it is incumbent upon Boards to ensure that proper procedure is observed.
Using an independent Parliamentarian during meetings ensures a degree of neutrality during sticky discussions, allows for teaching moments during meetings as different procedural rules and terminology are implemented, and ensures that the relevant Act, organization’s Bylaws, and rules are correctly interpreted and upheld.
Parliamentary procedure and the rules of the organization, when properly applied, can help to ensure that issues are discussed and decided in a fair and equitable manner.
What can we do for you?
We provide parliamentary services to sport organizations for meetings of the Board and for meetings of their Members (e.g., Annual Meetings and Special Meetings). These services include:
- Agenda development
- Chairing of meetings and/or providing support to the Chair
- Advising on proper procedure during a meeting
- Ensuring accurate minutes
We work with Boards to enhance their governance structure, develop good governance principles and ensure an understanding of parliamentary process so that they are better equipped to lead their organization.
Finally we are available to give orientation presentations to Boards to ensure that all Directors are aware of and understand their legal responsibilities.
The following writings on our website contain additional information related to this topic: