Phone or Text | 416.272.3370
Welcome! I am now providing my services both virtually and in person. Please scroll down to learn more.
As a Registered Parliamentarian, I provide organizations, their boards and committees, executive officers, and members with advice on parliamentary procedure and rules of order.
I have considerable experience in reviewing and drafting bylaws, and can provide advice and assistance to clients in creating or amending constitutions, bylaws and other governance documents.
If necessary, I can provide a formal written parliamentary opinion to help resolve differences in the interpretation of bylaws or conflicts that might exist within a bylaw.
I am able to conduct an audit of your governance documents, and recommend changes that reflect best practices. Many organizations have found that they do not have authority to hold meetings virtually; I can draft appropriate enabling language to provide this option.
I can also assist in drafting a code of conduct for your board, officers or general membership.
Typically, I attend meetings and conventions to assist and provide procedural advice to the chair/presiding officer at the meeting; provide advice on agenda planning and strategy before the meeting (such as reviewing whether motions and other proposals are in order); write scripts for presiding officers; and assist or offer guidance in the drafting of minutes, reports, recommendations, motions or resolutions.
I am able to accommodate organizations who have decided to continue to meet virtually, as well as those who have started to meet again in person.
I am also able to serve as a neutral and professional chair or presiding officer at meetings, including conventions and AGMs, or even at parts of a meeting. This is often useful during discussion of a contentious item; if the regular chair needs to participate in debate; or if a member is unable to preside because of a conflict of interest.
I have experience presiding at virtual meetings, and can provide advice on their organization and the mitigation of risks.
I organize and deliver training and orientation sessions on parliamentary procedure (basic or advanced), plus workshops on presiding and rules of debate. Training can be customized to meet specific client priorities, including references to an organization's bylaws.
During the pandemic, recent training has been exclusively virtual, using the Zoom platform, but I am now available to offer workshops both on line and in person, depending on client preferences.
I also believe strongly in engaging in public education, primarily through this website - see the pages on FAQs and Resources, as well as my Blog. In addition, I post procedural information on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Medium: the Tuesday Teachable Tweets in #ParliamentaryProcedure (2020-2022), and the Monday Myths in #ParliamentaryProcedure (starting in 2023).
In addition to being a Registered Parliamentarian, Michael Mouritsen has over 45 years of professional experience providing advice and support to boards, committees, conventions, and other governing bodies in the not-for-profit, public, and labour union sectors.
Professional Governance Experience
During his career, Michael has served as the secretary to a hospital board of trustees, a university board of governors and the executive board of a labour union. He has drafted new and revised hospital, university and union bylaws and committee terms of reference; prepared minutes of meetings; drafted agendas, reports, resolutions and motions; and written scripts for presiding officers.
He also worked for 12 years as a senior policy advisor in the Ontario Public Service, where he conducted policy reviews, drafted briefing notes with recommendations for Ministers, and wrote Cabinet Submissions.
In addition, Michael has:
More information on Michael's professional experience can be found on his LinkedIn profile.
Parliamentary Credentials and Education
Michael was certified as a Registered Parliamentarian (RP), after successfully completing a series of examinations supervised by the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP). He is a member of the NAP, the American Institute of Parliamentarians (AIP), the Ontario Association of Parliamentarians, and the Parliamentary Society of Toronto (which he has served in the past as president, vice-president, and program director).
Michael has a BA in History from York University, where, as a student representative, he was first exposed to parliamentary procedure in action.
As a Registered Parliamentarian, Michael is required to engage in continuing education and relevant professional activities in order to maintain his credential. He has expertise in Robert’s Rules of Order, the AIP Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, and Bourinot's Rules of Order, and is knowledgeable in other parliamentary authorities.
Michael works both as a sole practitioner and in association with Canadian parliamentarian James (Jim) Lochrie, who is a former AIP President; author of Meeting Procedures: Parliamentary Law and Rules of Order for the 21st Century; and a co-author of the most recent (2012) edition of the AIP Standard Code.
In his practice as a parliamentarian, Michael is committed to following the Code of Professional Responsibility for Parliamentarians, which was jointly adopted by the NAP and the AIP in 2001, and updated in 2020.
Since becoming a Registered Parliamentarian, Michael has worked with individuals and organizations (large and small) in both Canada and the U.S., including national and local professional associations; unions (teachers, public service employees, university faculty); student organizations; school board trustees and staff; condo boards; religious bodies; municipal council staff; real estate associations; librarians; and community boards. Some clients need advice on a one-time basis, while others seek ongoing parliamentary services.
In one case, Michael was appointed under a court order to organize and chair a corporate AGM because of litigation between members. The procedural requirements of most clients, however, are usually not so dire! Other clients have asked him to review bylaw amendments; to advise on whether a particular motion was in order; or to attend a meeting to assist the chair with potential issues. Most clients have also asked him to provide training - basic, advanced, or targeting specific groups such as committee chairs or newly-elected convention delegates.
Michael Mouritsen is based in Kincardine and Toronto, Ontario, and can provide services either virtually or in person, depending on client needs.
Michael Mouritsen, when he was Director of the York University Secretariat (York Gazette photo).