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President's Message

President's Report September 2021

Over the past six years of volunteering with the Canadian Association of Orthodontists I have had the pleasure to work with some amazing people. I have watched Past-Presidents Jean-Marc Retrouvey, Rick Odegaard, Bob Hatheway, Jay Philippson, Mike Wagner and now J. Eric Selnes bring their own unique experiences to the forefront. I have seen some dramatic changes during my time, and I want to share some of the important ones with you.

The Presidents before me had the insight to make significant changes to the Board that gave me the confidence to ascend up the Line. First, they implemented a committee structure that enabled all CAO Board Members to join smaller committees. These committees focused on various topics ranging from insurance, the web site, membership, advertising etc. and had the autonomy to work outside of the limited number of in-person board meetings per year. 

The true power of the committees is that they can complete tasks more efficiently in comparison to when tasks required approval of the entire Board. Big decisions are still brought to the group, but the majority of the work is streamlined. The improved structure results in reduced mental strain for the Line and allows great ideas to flourish at an accelerated rate. 

The second change was the request that Past-Presidents remain on the Line for an additional year. The Past-Presidents have the experience to guide the incoming Board and are given special projects as committee leaders or liaisons to our valued to stakeholders such as CDA, RCDC, WFO, AAO etc. The past leaders provide the younger board members with the confidence to engage in larger roles knowing that they have support and experience by their side to help out when needed.

Another effective change was the transition to our new management company TouchPointAMC. This company has prioritized the CAO and provides an unparalleled level of support to facilitate operations. Their level of professionalism and accountability was instrumental in getting the CAO through some challenging times. They kept the CAO functioning via countless Zoom meetings and put together a fantastic Webinar Series that has already been attended by hundreds of our members. 

New ways of communicating with our membership and the public have been brought to the forefront. The Website Committee, led by Dr. Gina Ball, has redesigned the CAO web experience. The Members Section brings together valued information for practitioners, while the public side of the site emphasizes the benefits of seeing an orthodontic specialist. A key feature is the Doctor Locator, that provides visitors the names of CAO members who are practicing closest to their postal code.

Looking ahead, there are numerous on-going Projects: 

  • The Advertising Committee continues to examine ways to educate the public on the advantages of entrusting their orthodontic treatment to those with specialty training. Our campaigns continue to engage and educate the public.
  • COVID-19 restrictions/regulations continue to evolve at different rates across the country. All CAO representatives provide the most current information from their home cities and provinces to the Board. The CAO advocates on your behalf and encourages you to contact the CAO with any concerns.
  • The National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE) remains a source of tension and frustration for our residents. The CAO has voiced these concerns to CDRAF and to each provincial regulatory association. The CAO emphasizes that an orthodontic specialty exam is vital to the students, to determine clinical competence and is vital to the public to promote the protection of patients and parents who seek treatment. 

I hope that the year ahead returns to some degree of normalcy for all. We have shared the stress, fear and exhaustion that this pandemic has brought to our practices as well as to our personal lives. There are amazing people at the CAO who work on your behalf to meet the challenges that we all face. The relationships that I have formed have been some of the most valuable that I have ever known, and I know that they will continue for the rest of my career.

If you have question or are wondering what we are doing to address a certain topic, please call or email the CAO office at any time. If you are interested in becoming more involved, please reach out to your Provincial Representative.  CAO committees are always looking for more great people to help lead the organization into the years ahead.


Dr. Brian Phee