Government can designate additional professions under the PGA. The PGA allows the Superintendent to conduct an assessment of a profession’s suitability for coming under the PGA, either in response to an application for designation or at the Superintendent’s discretion. Following an assessment, the Superintendent makes a recommendation to the responsible Minister, who determines whether to recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council (Cabinet) that the profession be brought under the PGA.
The Superintendent can decline to accept applications and may do so if the OSPG is not in a position to promptly act on the application due to existing workload and priorities.
Responsibilities and costs of potential regulatory bodies
Applicants will be required to provide information to the Superintendent. They may also be required to submit a fee. The Superintendent may use this information to determine whether to conduct an investigation, such as a profile of what clients are served by professionals, the degree to which professionals exercise independent judgment in their practice, public (as opposed to professional) benefits of self-regulation, and other relevant information. Any costs of preparing an application and gathering any further information would be the responsibility of the applicant.
Regulatory bodies under the PGA are required to serve and protect the public interest with respect to the governance of the profession. This duty entails forming the required board and committees, developing required bylaws, holding annual general meetings, setting and enforcing registration standards, developing practice standards and guidelines, conducting practice reviews and audits, responding to complaints, and taking appropriate enforcement actions. Regulatory bodies, in addition to their board and committees, need to support staff to run operations of the regulatory body such as annual fee collection. Applicants should consider whether their professionals can support self-regulation through their fees.
In addition to having adequate capacity at the board and committee level, regulatory bodies under the PGA need to have sufficient capacity to conduct the operations of the regulatory body. In practice, this is likely to require having at least a small number of paid staff.
The following documents provide additional information regarding the process for assessing a profession:
- Policy and Procedures: S. 85 Applications for Designation
- OSPG Guidance: Application for Designation under the Professional Governance Act
- OSPG Guidance: Designating Professions – Initial Decision Criteria
The PGA will also allow the Superintendent to make recommendations on whether to amalgamate existing regulatory bodies. The Superintendent can consider amalgamations of regulatory bodies that are governed under the PGA either on request, or on the Superintendent’s own initiative.