Duty to Report to Regulatory Bodies
The PGA section 58 requires registrants to report the practice of an identified registrant when there is reasonable and probable grounds to believe that the identified registrant’s practice may pose a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health and safety of the public or group of people. This reporting duty extends to an employer or partner of an identified registrant when employment or partnerships are impacted because of the risk of harm from the identified registrant’s practice.
The ethical obligation for professionals to raise concerns about another professional’s conduct or practice is well established in code of ethics and is an important role that professionals play to protect the public interest. While this ethical obligation remains, the new statutory duty to report is important to understand. Key aspects of the statutory duty in section 58 include:
• A requirement to report on any other registrant governed under the PGA, not just within one’s own profession.
• The duty extends to employers and partners if they terminate employment or revoke or suspend the registrant’s privileges or dissolve a partnership with the registrant.
• The requirement is triggered in situations where a registrant’s practice may pose a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public. This requires contextual analysis – what is or is not significant harm can not be pre-determined.
• The potential harms must be linked to an identified registrant engaged in their regulated practice.
• Persons who meet their duty and make reports are protected from reprisals.
• Failure to meet the duty has clear penalties for not reporting.
OSPG has developed guidance and expectations for regulatory bodies regarding the duty to report and reprisal protections. More information can be found in OSPG Guidance: Duty to Report and Reprisal Protection.