The Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) is a centre of expertise for professional governance matters outside the health sector, 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 Biology (CAB)
- Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, known as Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (EGBC).
The PGA provides for the potential to add other professions under OSPG oversight.
The first set of functions relate to administering and establishing policy under the PGA. These responsibilities include:
- 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. This research could result in the development of guidelines to support the regulatory bodies;
- 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 (if established by the Attorney General);
- Investigating and recommending to Cabinet whether to designate additional professions under this new regulatory framework.
The second set of functions relate to compliance and enforcement. These include:
- Overseeing regulatory bodies (including reviewing bylaws before filing them with the Attorney General);
- Carrying out audits 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 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.