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​How to become CMA president

Nomination and election

Candidates for the position of CMA president-elect may be nominated in three different ways:

  • when the provincial/territorial medical association (PTMA) to host the annual meeting at which the president-elect will become president (that is, the next annual meeting) presents a nominee (see schedule of upcoming annual meetings)​
  • nomination of a candidate by any 50 CMA members, which must be received 90 days prior to the first day of the CMA's General Council (GC, held in mid-August)
  • nomination of a candidate by five delegates on the first day of GC

By way of example for the first scenario, the CMA annual meeting will be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba in August 2018. Doctors Manitoba has been invited to conduct an election to determine that provincial medical association's nominee for CMA president-elect. The nominee will be brought forward to the 2017 General Council in Québec City for election by delegates to the position.


To be eligible for nomination for president-elect via the PTMA nominee route, a person must:

  • be a member of the medical profession
  • be a member in good standing of the nominating PTMA and the CMA
  • have his/her registered mailing address in the nominating PTMA
  • have been a CMA member for the preceding five (5) consecutive years
  • agree to stand as a candidate

Relevant timeline

Late fall (generally Nov. 30 deadline)

  • call for nominations for the divisional president-elect nominee position is issued by the PTMA hosting the annual meeting at which the president-elect would officially become president (next annual meeting; see schedule of upcoming annual meetings)
  • candidates submit the nomination paper, signed by 10 PTMA members in good standing residing in that jurisdiction

Early winter (generally from mid-January, six-week period)

  • election and voting begins

Mid-winter (generally end of February)

  • voting ends and ballots counted; then name of PTMA president-elect nominee is communicated

August - General Council

  • election for new President-Elect

Presidential duties

Once elected at and by General Council, the president-elect serves a three-year term as a member of the CMA Board of Directors and as one of the five CMA officers (president, president-elect, immediate past president, chair of the board of directors, chair of the audit and finance committee) who serve on the CMA Executive Committee (a sixth member is chosen by and from the board of directors).

First term
The president-elect assists the president in performing the presidential duties. He or she is provided with training that may include orientation about CMA and issues facing the association, how to deal with the media and other training, as required by organizational needs and individual competencies. The president-elect assumes the office of president at the next annual meeting and serves as president for the subsequent association year.

Second term
The president - as the association's senior elected officer and primary spokesperson - presides at the business and ceremonial sessions of the annual meeting, delivers a presidential address and chairs the executive committee. As well, she/he speaks at various annual meetings of the provincial/territorial medical associations and to parliamentary committees and stakeholder organizations.

Presidential duties are shared with the president-elect and the immediate past president to:

  • allow for representation at more than one event, when there is a scheduling conflict
  • ensure that the person with expertise on a given issue is speaking on CMA's behalf
  • ensure that the person with the appropriate language capacity is speaking on a given issue
  • provide the president-elect with opportunities to develop and hone his/her skills prior to assuming office

The president is expected to represent the association for some 150-225 days during the one-year term as president. The president, president-elect and immediate past president are each remunerated through an annual stipend, and receive honoraria and maintenance allowances when on official CMA business. This helps compensate practising physicians for time away from their practices.

Third (final) term
The immediate past president serves on the staffing committee and as chair of the committee on nominations, and presides over elections at General Council.

Candidates for president-elect are asked to consider in advance any potential conflicting responsibilities and duties, as well as timing constraints, should he/she decide to take on the role. The candidate may wish to consult the CMA Board of Directors' Conflict of Interest Guidelines, available upon request.

For further information see CMA Bylaws or contact CMA Governance Services, 800-663-7336 x8260.