The Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) is a centre of expertise for professional governance matters in BC, and has authority to carry out various functions as required or authorized by the Professional Governance Act (PGA). The Superintendent is the head of the OSPG and is responsible for oversight of systemic or general matters relating to professional governance of the regulatory bodies under the PGA, and acting to protect the public interest. By ‘systemic’ it is meant that the Superintendent will not be looking at individual registrants or professionals or taking on the duties or functions of regulatory bodies.
The five regulatory bodies currently included under the PGA and oversight of the OSPG are:
- Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP)
- Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC)
- BC Institute of Agrologists (BCIA)
- College of Applied Biologists (CAB)
- Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, known as Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (EGBC).
The Architects Act was moved from the Ministry of Advanced Education to the responsibility of the Ministry of Attorney General and the oversight of the OSPG in November of 2020. Work is underway by the OSPG and the Architectural Institute of BC to transition the profession to designation under the PGA. The PGA also provides for the potential to add other professions under OSPG oversight. In January 2023, the PGA and OSPG were moved to the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills.
The OSPG is responsible for administering and establishing policy under the PGA. This includes:
- Implementing the PGA through the development of regulations;
- Providing support and advice where needed on professional governance matters to the regulatory bodies; and
- Conducting research and policy development concerning professional governance best practices including the development of guidance, guidelines or directives as required;
- Promoting awareness among regulatory bodies to support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and support the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP);
- Chairing the Professional Governance Advisory Committee;
- Investigating and recommending to Cabinet whether to designate additional professions under this new regulatory framework.
The OSPG is also responsible for compliance and enforcement of the PGA, including:
- Overseeing regulatory bodies (including reviewing bylaws before filing them with the Attorney General);
- Carrying out audits and performance reviews of regulatory bodies and investigations related to professional governance;
- Issuing guidelines that must be considered by regulatory bodies (e.g., interpretation related to ethical principles under the PGA);
- Issuing directives to the regulatory bodies, if necessary, to meet best practices or recommendations resulting from investigations or audits;
- In extreme circumstances, appointing a public administrator to take over some or all duties of a regulatory body if considered in the public interest; and
- Investigating potential breaches of whistleblower protections for those who report hazardous practices, and administering fines/penalties.
A final function of the OSPG includes reporting annually to government on the effectiveness of the regulatory bodies as well as the OSPG, and on other professional governance matters covered by the PGA.