What is the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG)?
The OSPG was established on June 1, 2019 through a regulation under the Professional Governance Act (PGA) to ensure consistency and best practices are applied in the governance of regulated professionals. The OSPG will be the centre of expertise in government for professional governance matters. For now, the Superintendent’s mandate includes the five regulatory bodies with registrants working in the natural resource sector and built environment. The scope of the PGA allows for the Superintendent’s mandate to expand to include other professions.
The OSPG oversees governance of the five regulatory bodies, administers the PGA, can conduct investigations and audits, research and develop best practices in governance, and take compliance actions such as issuing directives. The OSPG’s mandate does not include oversight of individual professionals.
Which regulatory bodies does the OSPG oversee? (Updated)
The current regulatory bodies under the PGA are the BC Institute of Agrologists (BCIA), Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC), College of Applied Biologists (CAB), Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC), and Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP).
The Architectural Institute of BC (AIBC) is working to transition to the PGA in early 2022.
Why are some professions under PGA, but not other professions? (New)
The PGA was developed out of the recommendations in the 2018 Professional Reliance Review, which focused on regulatory bodies that incorporate professional reliance in the Natural Resource Sector (NRS).
The current focus of professions under the PGA is the NRS and the built environment.
More professions may come under the PGA in the future, as they go through the process to become designated.
What is the process for new professions to come under the PGA? (New)
The Superintendent can receive applications from other professions for designation under the PGA, and conduct investigations to determine if it is in the public interest for a profession to be designated under the PGA.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council is responsible for designating new professions following a recommendation by the minister.
What changes will individual professionals see now that the PGA is fully implemented? (Updated)
The PGA for the most part has implications for the regulatory bodies. Interactions between regulatory bodies and individual registrants will mainly continue as before.
Individual registrants may see changes in how they participate in the decisions of their regulatory bodies. They may see new or different standards related to professionalism, including updated codes of ethics, mandatory continuing education programs, and an expanded duty to report. They will be required to provide new information to be published in the register include their business contact and employer information and their declared scope of practice. They may also see changes to discipline processes.
The granting of practice rights may result in individuals being required to register with a regulatory body to carry out certain professional work.
Other changes that have come into effect under the PGA include:
Increased government oversight and support for regulatory bodies through the OSPG,
New Standards of Good Regulation that will form the basis for measuring and reporting on regulatory body performance,
A common, modern framework for professional governance based on best practices to provide a strong foundation for the professions,
Updated bylaws of each regulatory body that are in compliance with the PGA and will ensure governance in the public interest,
New regulations that are necessary for the regulatory bodies to transition and operate under the PGA,
Greater public representation on regulatory body councils and committees,
A strong focus on appropriate advocacy that aligns with the regulatory body’s mandate to protect the public interest,
A focus on supporting Indigenous reconciliation and continuing education for registrants in line with the Truth and Reconciliation Committee recommendations, and
Greater opportunity for regulatory bodies to participate in dialogue and collaboration with ministries through the Professional Governance Advisory Committee.
Why is the OSPG under the Ministry of the Attorney General and not the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy?
The PGA establishes the OSPG under the Ministry of the Attorney General.
The full scope of responsibilities of the OSPG goes beyond those affecting matters related to the natural and built environments and could include professions outside of these sectors.
Having the OSPG report to the Ministry of the Attorney General ensures it is arms-length from the ministries that employ and rely on those professions.
How is the OSPG be funded – is it be paid for by taxpayers or professional fees?
The Ministry of Attorney General currently has a $1 million annual budget for the OSPG and 8 staff.
Why is the Professional Governance Act needed?
The independent final report of the Professional Reliance Review recommended the creation of a new office to oversee professional regulation, develop best practices for professional governance, and standardize elements of professional governance through umbrella legislation.
Some of the elements of the PGA and oversight model were informed by issues observed with the existing model such as conflicts of interest and professional independence.
The legislation is putting a governance framework in place that follows international best practices and helps regulatory bodies to strengthen their role in protecting the public interest and improve public trust in professionals.
Only 2 of the recommendations of the Professional Reliance Review report were about governance – what is the status of the other 100+ recommendations in that report? (New)
One major aspect of the review aimed at examining professional governance issues in the natural resource sector, involving the regulation by professional associations of agrologists, biologists, engineers, geoscientists, foresters and applied science technicians and technologists.
The first two recommendations were accepted and instituted – resulting in the creation of the PGA and the OSPG. The other recommendations which address improvements to statutes, regulations, and authorizations, and are also specific to certain areas such as hazardous waste and dam safety, will be addressed by the ministry responsible for the legislation.
For information on the status of a specific recommendation from the Professional Reliance Review report, individuals are encouraged to connect with the responsible ministry.