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This article is the second in a three-part series on amalgamation in the regulator landscape in Canada. We have partnered with The Regulator’s Practice to share insights from industry experts and regulators who have experienced the consolidation process firsthand.

For many climbers, the toughest challenge isn’t reaching the summit. Often, the real struggle lies in summoning the energy and motivation to begin the descent. For regulators experiencing the amalgamation process, this may sound familiar.

The amalgamation date is often viewed as the most significant milestone for regulatory bodies involved in this process. It signifies the culmination of extensive planning and preparation to merge operations, but it’s also just the beginning of a long road to successful integration.

“There’s a massive amount of preparation that needs to occur leading up to the official amalgamation, which in itself is a huge achievement,” says Jesse Meyer, Incite partner. “But, from our perspective, an equal amount of work needs to take place following the official consolidation to ensure a successful integration.”

For most regulators, they hear the word amalgamation, and their blood pressure rises.

Amalgamation refers to the process of combining multiple organizations into one cohesive whole. In the case of British Columbia’s recent health regulator amalgamation, it involved consolidating 11 regulatory colleges into just two.

More than ever, regulatory bodies across Canada are facing the pressures of amalgamation. It’s the solution of choice for governments hoping to:

  • Provide members of the public with a central point of contact for questions and concerns about the health professionals the college regulates
  • Enhance public protection by creating greater consistency in how these health professions are regulated
  • Increase capacity with greater access to resources and expertise

“For most regulators, they hear the word amalgamation, and their blood pressure rises,” says Jesse. “And rightly so, because for many of them, it’s a mandated change and they don’t have a say in who they’re amalgamating with, or what the timeline will look like.”

Effective communication can help quell some of those concerns and manage the expectations of various external partners, including staff, clients, partners and the public.

Silence Can Speak Volumes

One of the major challenges organizations going through amalgamations can run into is a hesitation around what to communicate, and in the silence their external partners making assumptions.

“If you don’t communicate and share information, in detail and through the right mediums and channels, people will be left to their own devices to fill in the blanks on what it all means,” says Jesse. “When you don’t have all the information, your brain fills in the gaps. And unfortunately, our brain will fill in the negative.”

Jesse’s top tips for successful post-amalgamation communications:

  • Keep the public informed
    Anticipate and address potential concerns or questions from external partners through proactive communication and targeted outreach.
  • Bring your team along the journey
    Provide regular updates throughout the process to keep employees informed about milestones, progress, and any changes in timelines or strategies.
  • Communicate early 
    Inform employees as early as possible about the decisions being made, planned outcomes and potential impacts on their roles and responsibilities.
  • Cast the net wide
    Be inclusive; seek perspectives and insights from as many areas as possible to help identify risks and direct change management efforts.
  • Be clear, concise and consistent
    This is a simple concept in terms of best practices but when we’re stressed or strapped for time, we can start to overexplain and overcomplicate. Find the simplest, clearest way to explain something, then stick to that message.

Incite is a strategic consulting firm supporting clients with marketing and brand strategy, M&A communications and integration, and strategic planning. We have significant experience in working with regulators and our team of skilled strategists understands the nuances of the regulatory spaces and the complex considerations of amalgamations.

The Regulator’s Practice is a collective of experienced regulatory practitioners with a passion for a supporting the leaders who have chosen to serve and protect the public. The Practice works with professional regulators across the country to navigate their unique challenges and develop governance and strategy solutions to fulfill their public protection mandate.