2016 CLEAR Award Recipients

CLEAR Service Award  |  Nancy McLennan

Nancy McLennanThe CLEAR Service Award for Lifetime Achievement recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution and commitment to CLEAR, demonstrating dedication and integrity. The recipient shall have shown exceptional leadership, vision and creativity in the fulfillment of the goals and objectives of CLEAR. CLEAR is pleased to present the 2016 CLEAR Service Award for Lifetime Achievement to Nancy McLennan. 

Nancy was skilled in enforcement matters, dedicated to the integrity of her work and to consumer protection. She was a devoted CLEAR member, faithfully contributing to numerous committees and initiatives. Her contribution to CLEAR, while unjustly brief, left a lasting impact on our culture. She was in every committee meeting she could be a part of. She went to every networking event, every midyear and every conference during her membership. She served with dedication, thoughtfully participating in each conversation at the morning meetings as well as the late ones. 

Nancy served on the NCIT and Program committees, but often made the rounds to others at CLEAR’s in-person committee meetings. Nancy was the Director of Standards Enforcement with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta. From this perspective, overseeing the complaint process for Alberta accountants, she served on the Transition and Succession Planning Working Group, the Making CLEAR Clearer initiative and participated in the review of the NCIT Specialized Program. In several committee leadership positions, Nancy advanced numerous projects and discussions at CLEAR, especially concerning investigator issues and substance abuse. Nancy was a devoted and valuable committee member giving her time, energy and commitment.

CLEAR’s members are united in a common mission, all dedicated to regulatory science and excellence, but it is our people that bind us together. Nancy was just that person, embodying and living out the culture that we value through her easy-going, genuine presence. She made everyone feel welcome and helped new attendees and members get connected within the organization. 

Sadly, Nancy passed away in June 2016 after a three-year battle with ALS. CLEAR benefited immensely from Nancy’s efforts and her dedication, work ethic and engaging nature will be sorely missed.

CLEAR Consumer Protection Award  |  M. Daniel Roukema

CLEAR’s Consumer Protection Award recognizes an individual who has innovatively contributed to enhancing a broader public understanding of regulatory issues with respect to consumer and public protection and citizen advocacy. This award also serves to acknowledge an individual who has successfully demonstrated public information and consumer outreach in addition to education efforts and initiatives. CLEAR is pleased to present the 2016 Consumer Protection Award to M. Daniel Roukema, Director of Communications for the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).

Mr. Roukema joined ICCRC as Director of Communications in 2013. During this time, he has focused on raising awareness about unauthorized representatives that provide immigration services. In 2013, Mr. Roukema launched the ALERT program, a confidential online whistleblowing tool to help consumers inform law enforcement about unauthorized representatives. Following ALERT’s introduction, the number of convictions against unauthorized representatives has increased. Mr. Roukema also facilitated a partnership with the Competition Bureau that allowed ICCRC to participate in Canada’s Fraud Prevention Month campaign. Fraud awareness campaigns were launched on YouTube and social media to expand ICCRC’s outreach efforts. Videos were produced in English, French, Punjabi and Mandarin and 17 ethnically-diverse newspapers carried printed ads and editorials about the issue.

Mr. Roukema’s contributions have surpassed the requirements of his position and he has also taken on the role of Chief Privacy Officer. He is the consummate professional, but as the son of immigrants his job is also personal. Mr. Roukema understands the many challenges that immigrants face and works tirelessly to make the immigration process easier and safer. By expanding ICCRC’s marketing and outreach efforts to as many outlets as possible, the campaigns Mr. Roukema directed have reached 15 million people.

Regulatory Excellence Award (Team)  |  National Nursing Assessment Service

The CLEAR Regulatory Excellence Award recognizes an outstanding contribution to the enhancement of occupational or professional regulation. It celebrates exceptional leadership, vision, creativity, results and outcomes that are above and beyond the regular functions of the job or expectation, and beyond what is normally achieved. CLEAR is proud to present the 2016 Regulatory Excellence Award to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). 

A Canadian not-for-profit established in 2012, NNAS provides an innovative service to its twenty-one organizational regulatory body members. Through the leadership of the members, NNAS successfully created a single-point-of-virtual contact and entry for internationally educated nurses (IENs) and harmonized the preliminary steps in the Canadian nursing licensure process for the three nursing groups (RNs, LPNs, and RPNs) across nine provincial jurisdictions within a Pan-Canadian context. All IENs applying within participating jurisdictions undergo the same registration application process, document authenticating process, education credentials assessment, and have the same types of conclusion reports on education compatibility. The nursing profession in Canada is the only health profession that has harmonized to this degree. 

This harmonization work is the result of significant change management efforts and collaboration. It required that all members agree to adopt the same policies related to the preliminary IEN registration process, to change their own jurisdictional legislation, regulations, and processes. The NNAS’ preliminary IEN registration intake and assessment process ensures fairness for all the parties involved. Further, because the education credential assessment process is evidence-based and replicable, this has enhanced defensibility for the regulatory body when rationalizing registration decisions. The centralized and common intake and IEN registration process has also eased the navigation process for the IENs by streamlining the application and preliminary registration process. NNAS has reduced the workload for its members, reduced file and document management and reduced IEN call volume inquiries on the registration processes.

The NNAS is an excellent case study of how leadership, innovation and partnership can help transform the professional regulatory sector. The work of NNAS shows that significant improvements in professional health registration can be achieved. Leadership and commitment from the twenty-one regulatory body members was crucial in helping to drive a strong and ambitious vision and engage in significant systems change. Members voluntarily agreed to change their existing processes, legislation, regulations and structures in order to adopt the new NNAS system, and support harmonization. As a result, other Canadian health and social services professional regulatory bodies are looking to the NNAS as an example of how to achieve standardization and centralization within their own profession

Regulatory Excellence Award  |  Shelly Edgerton

The CLEAR Regulatory Excellence Award recognizes an outstanding contribution to the enhancement of occupational or professional regulation. It celebrates exceptional leadership, vision, creativity, results and outcomes that are above and beyond the regular functions of the job or expectation, and beyond what is normally achieved. CLEAR is proud to present the 2016 Regulatory Excellence Award to Shelly Edgerton, Director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. 

Ms. Edgerton has led a department-wide effort to improve regulatory processes and improve customer service, as part of the Reinventing Performance in Michigan (RPM) program. The department’s licensing process has moved from an extensive and lengthy paper application process that gathered much more information than was statutorily required to a streamlined process that allows online applications and has eliminated unnecessary and redundant requirements. For the Unarmed Combat Commission (UCC) for Professional Mixed Martial Artists (MMA), or Professional Boxers, process improvements resulted in a 60 percent reduction in processing time. Applicants are no longer required to drive to the office to apply in person and a wider variety of payment methods are now available. Today, 70 percent of all UCC applications are received online and same-day processing has become standard. The new process has saved a significant amount of time for the applicant and the state.

The initiative in paperwork reduction and customer service improvement by Ms. Edgerton combined with the success of the UCC licensing process overhaul helped to build the case for RPM taking hold and gaining strength, popularity, and success within the department. Overall, the department exceeded its goal of a 50 percent reduction in paperwork, and individual bureaus saw a paperwork and regulatory reduction of more than 60 percent, including some bureaus that were able to achieve a reduction of more than 75 percent. The initiative continued to grow and is still in play, having transcended the department, with other state departments requesting RPM resources to better align their work process and agencies piloting RPM methods. The Governor’s Office recently issued an executive order to centrally coordinate and expand the adaptation of RPM throughout the state. Without success stories like the UCC licensing process, this initiative would not be expanding today.

CLEAR Investigative Excellence Award (Team)  |  Real Estate Council of Alberta—Conduct Review Team

The CLEAR Investigative Excellence Award recognizes a team of investigators who have demonstrated exceptional performance in a particular case that resulted in a direct and significant impact to the protection of the public. CLEAR is proud to present the 2016 Investigative Excellence Award to the Real Estate Council of Alberta—Conduct Review Team.

Over a period of four years, the RECA Conduct Review Team investigated an individual who was trading in real estate and dealing in mortgages without authorization. The individual used the anonymity of the internet to prey upon vulnerable home owners who needed to sell their house or find a way to stave off foreclosure and home buyers who did not qualify for conventional financing. Between 2011 and 2013, home owners and buyers were defrauded out of an estimated $400,000. Each time RECA issued an Administrative Penalty, or the case was covered by the media, or the matter was before the courts, the defendant and his associates would adjust their techniques in an attempt to further distance themselves from detection.

The RECA Conduct Review Team relied on a number of investigative techniques to continue pursuing this individual. The team developed and maintained effective relationships with sources, located and thoroughly interviewed witnesses and employees quickly and effectively, posed as a potential employee in order to gain first-hand knowledge of instructions and training and drilled down for key evidence related to web presence. RECA’s investigation resulted in $115,000 in Administrative Penalties being issued and a court injunction was obtained. The extensive and comprehensive work of RECA’s investigators provided evidence to prove that the defendant had repeatedly and brazenly breached the injunction. Consequently, the defendant was found to be in civil contempt of court and is facing jail time as a result of this rare court finding. None of this would have been possible without the knowledge, skill, professionalism, tenacity, and extraordinary effort of this team of RECA investigators.

RECA investigators’ relentless dedication to exposing this fraud scheme, and stopping unauthorized activities, generated extensive media coverage and focused the public’s attention on the importance of working with licensed real estate and mortgage professionals. The investigation not only raised the profile of RECA’s role in the industry, it raised public awareness throughout Alberta, informing Albertans how they could identify and protect themselves from fraud schemes.

CLEAR Investigative Excellence Award  |  Renee Bruess

The CLEAR Investigative Excellence Award recognizes an investigator who has demonstrated exceptional performance in a particular case that resulted in a direct and significant impact to the protection of the public. CLEAR is proud to present the 2016 Investigative Excellence Award to Renee Bruess, Investigator for the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission.

Investigator Bruess conducted a three-year investigation of an OB/GYN physician. The complaints against this physician ranged from over-billing to performing unnecessary procedures that caused harm or risk of harm to patients. In total, Investigator Bruess completed 24 investigations, concerning 52 patients. She interviewed 49 individuals, from patients to hospital staff, and gathered and reviewed over 6,800 pages of medical records and other evidence regarding the physician’s standard of care. When it became clear that summary action was needed to protect the public, Investigator Bruess worked at a remarkably swift pace to achieve a very strong outcome.

The review of patient records and patient interviews showed that the physician performed an unusually high number of post-delivery dilation and curettage procedures. Investigator Bruess used her medical and legal training in conjunction with this information to determine that many of these procedures were completely unnecessary. In at least three cases, there were complications from the procedure that prevented the patient from being able to have any more children. The dedicated and thorough work of Investigator Bruess allowed the Commission to take action against the physician to ensure he was not able to hurt any more expectant mothers.

Renee Bruess is a registered nurse with a Master’s Degree in Health Law. Since April 1, 2011 she has been conducting complex standard of care investigations and completing practice reviews for the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission. She is able to use her clinical and legal skills to conduct these complex investigations into allegations of negligence, incompetence, substandard care or impairment on the part of physicians and physician assistants. Her clinical competency and proficiency when conducting investigations involving complex medical issues makes her a very deserving recipient of this award

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