History of Ostomy Canada Society - Part 2 (The Evolution)

The United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc. (UOAC) became an independent entity following a meeting of representatives of Canadian Chapters in Calgary in June 1997. In 2014, the name changed to Ostomy Canada Society – read more of our history below.

Prepared by the Bylaws Committee January 5, 2017

Here is a brief history of the evolution of governance of Ostomy Canada and the efforts to keep that governance effective, including a synopsis of the governance review process and a summary of the recommendations of the GAWG.


  • Representatives of ostomy support groups in Montreal and London met with their American counterparts to write the constitution and bylaws for the United Ostomy Association (UOA).  They decided to incorporate as a federation of autonomous local ostomy support groups bound by affiliation agreements.
  • Voting Memberships – Individuals and chapters.  According to the 1981 UOA bylaws, National Council had two classes of voting members: individuals and affiliated member chapters (with a formula for weighted voting).
  • Voting Memberships UOAC incorporated under Canadian law, while remaining legally affiliated with UOA.  UOAC adopted the same structure of governance and conditions of membership as UOA.
  • Voting Memberships – Affiliated Chapters and satellites.  National Council amended the Bylaws to eliminate individual voting memberships and to change the formula for weighted voting so that each chapter or satellite, regardless of size, had a single vote.
  • Non-voting individual and corporate memberships.  National Council introduced four categories of non-voting memberships: national individual, international individual, health care professional and corporate partner.  Membership dues were required.
  • UOAC severed legal ties with UOA.
  • Voting Memberships – Affiliated Chapters only.  National Council amended the Bylaws to change the formula for weighted voting to favour larger chapters.  Voting rights for satellites were eliminated.
  • District Support Services (now Chapter Outreach).  National Council approved the District Support Services Manual, in which they delegated many of their responsibilities for governance to the Chair of District Support Services, in particular the responsibility for the affiliation agreements with Chapters and Satellites.
  • Non-voting outreach groups.  National Council approved the creation of SASO, the first of several outreach groups that could be part of the national organization without having to go through the process of formal affiliation and participation in governance.  Since then, other outreach groups have formed (20/40, Parents of Children with Ostomies, Youth Camp, Social Media Groups).  In most cases, no membership dues were required to participate.
  • Electronic meetings.  New technology allowed for monthly Board and Staff meetings with a minor cost for an annual subscription for the software.
  • Non-voting individual and corporate memberships.  In anticipation of the impending federal legislation and the proposed changes to the rights of members, non-voting individual memberships and dues were eliminated and replaced by Ostomy supporters and their donations.
  •  Conditions of Membership.  At the August 18, 2013 Board meeting, a motion to change the definition of member to an individual was approved by a vote of 5 against 2.  No conditions of membership were defined in the motion.  It was decided at the November 16, 2013 Board meeting to suspend any further decisions to change the membership structure until after receipt of the Certificate of Continuance from Industry Canada.
  • UOAC re-incorporated under new federal legislation as Ostomy Canada.
  • GAWG Mandate.  The President invited Chapter Presidents to appoint representatives to form the Governance Advisory Working Group (GAWG) with a mandate to make recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the governance structure of Ostomy Canada Society in light of the changes in the strategic and legal environments, especially with the implementation of the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act.  Ten Chapters participated in preparing the final report.
  • Non-voting peer support groups.  Based on the analysis of the GAWG, it was recognized that not all ostomy support groups are interested in governance, and based on the popularity of other non-voting outreach groups, the Board introduced the concept of the community peer support group with no responsibilities for governance.
  • Regional Directors.  Based on the analysis of the GAWG, the size of the Board was increased to allow for regional representation.  These regional directors are taking over some of the duties of the duties of the COSS Administrator.  Regional directors are able to meet regularly with their Chapters by electronic means without incurring travel costs.  This decision partially reversed the 2000 decision to delegate responsibilities for governance to COSS.
  • GAWG Revised Mandate.  The GAWG concluded that National Council was no longer effective and could not be fixed.  The GAWG recommended that the path to effective governance required changing the membership of the governing body.  National Council accepted the Governance Advisory Working Group (GAWG) Report Phase One by unanimous vote.  National Council revised the mandate of the GAWG to examine alternatives (GAWG Phase Two Step One) and to draft a transition plan to change the governing body of Ostomy Canada (GAWG Phase Two Final Report).  Participation increased to 10 Chapters representing about half of the eligible votes in National Council.
  • GAWG Final Report Implementation.  The Governance Advisory Working Group (GAWG) Report Phase Two, which examined alternative governing bodies, was circulated to all Member Chapters for discussion and feedback.  National Council decided more time was needed to build a consensus for change.  Several Chapters took advantage of the additional time to submit their thoughts.
  • Participation at meetings by electronic means.  Rules and procedures are being introduced to allow for simultaneous in–person and electronic meetings.  This will allow greater participation at meetings of National Council.  This makes it easier and less expensive for delegates to remain engaged in the decision-making process.

The highest award given by the United Ostomy Association Inc. is the Sam Dubin Achievement Award. This is presented annually to the individual who has contributed most to the concepts and ideals of the organization during the preceding year.

Little known is the story of the man in whose name the award is given – Sam Dubin. This, in some ways is appropriate, for Sam Dubin was a quiet man, one who sought no personal recognition.

Born in Haverhill, Mass., Sam lost his father when he was seven years old and began to assume responsibilities as the oldest son. The family moved to New York City. His mother opened a candy store on the Upper East Side, and Sam delivered newspapers before going to school in the morning. He lacked in physical stature but not courage or determination.

Financial pressures forced him to go to work after completing grammar school. While he did take some courses at “night school,” he never formally completed high school. He was drafted, shipped to France, and served in the Judge Advocate General’s Department. His mother died while he was overseas. Early bouts of intestinal difficulties also developed while he was in France. He returned to this country feeling that he was the responsible head of the family.

The 1920’s were years of establishment for him. He worked and he courted. In 1920 he married Ida Klausner. Marriage was not his only partnership. He became one of the founding partners of Schoerman u0026amp; Mayer. The business flourished, and Sam was able to utilize his talents for business detail and organization and as the partner who took charge of the internal operations of the concern. Then, as later in life, he preferred to be behind the scene making sure that things ran smoothly.

The business grew and prospered. He moved his family to Mt. Vernon, a suburban town in Westchester. Before the end of the ’20’s he had a growing business, three children, and a fulminating case of ulcerative colitis. It is ironic that his illness became active when things were going very well for him. He was already in the hospital at the time of the stock market crash in 1929, and his illness prevented him from ever returning to work during his lifetime.

Sam’s illness was a constant companion. He had a long series of operations and complications. He finally had an ileostomy in 1952. He was relatively free of abdominal complaints after the surgery.

A dream of Sam’s during his last years was a national organization that would weld local ostomy groups into a strong unified force embodying the best concepts of mutual aid. For this goal, he worked untiringly. The final culmination of his dream came in Cleveland at the end of August, 1962. However, Sam was not there to see it – he died of heart failure on August 19, 1962. A gentle man, a giving man, a man who put others before self – he set a high standard for others to follow.

The Sam Dubin Award, presented each year at the Annual Conference banquet is the highest honor of the United Ostomy Association. Recipients are members who have been nominated for their volunteer work at the national level and who have been selected by the Sam Dubin Award committee made up of past recipients. An individual may only receive this award once.

Several Canadians were honoured to receive the Sam Dubin Award, prior to UOAC becoming an independent organization. Their names, and the year the award was presented, are listed below.

1981 – Allan M. Porter*, Hamilton u0026amp; District Chapter, Hamilton, ON
1986 – Dave Metcalfe*, Victoria, BC Chapter, Victoria BC
1990 – Bette Yetman*, Metro Halifax Nova Scotia Chapter, Halifax NS,
1993 – Maria Siegl*, Toronto Chapter, Toronto, ON

Once UOAC became independent in June 1997, it initiated its own awards. The Maple Leaf Award is the highest award presented by UOAC. See the Awards section for more information.

Ostomy Canada Society (UOAC) Conference History

1998Mississauga, ON
1999Edmonton, AB
2000Montreal, QC
2001Richmond, BC
2002Halifax, NS
2003Saskatoon, SK
2004Gander, NL
2005Winnipeg, MB
2006Moncton, NB
2007Calgary, AB
2008Hamilton, ON
2009No conference (AGM in Ottawa, ON
2010Sydney, NS
2011No conference (AGM in Saskatoon, SK)
2012Toronto, ON
2013No conference (AGM in Halifax, NS)
2014St. John's, NL (Co-hosted by Gander, NL)
2015No conference (AGM in Hamilton, ON)
2016Winnipeg, MB
2017No conference (AGM held online and at head office in Mississauga, ON)
2018No conference (AGM held online and at head office in Mississauga, ON)
2019No conference (AGM held online and at Halifax, NS)

View All Directors Since Incorporation

View All Directors Since Incorporation