On April 25, BC Attorney General David Eby announced several proposed amendments to the Professional Governance Act (PGA), the legislation governing Engineers and Geoscientists BC and several other regulators in the natural and built environment.
The amendments (Bill 21) are intended to improve oversight of the professions and draw from recommendations made in recent reviews of professional governance models in the health and legal professions. They also enable more professions to be brought under the legislation in the future, including the Architectural Institute of BC, which will be brought under the PGA later this year.
The amendments focus on changes that will improve the function of the legislation based on operational experience, and include:
- The ability for regulatory bodies to address non-compliance with administrative requirements (e.g., information reporting) outside of complex and lengthy investigations;
- An updated definition of “firms” that clarifies regulated firms include those where the regulated practice is carried out for internal purposes;
- Updated terminology to reinforce the regulatory role of organizations under this legislation, including changing the name “Council” to “Board” and “President” to “Chair”;
- Ensuring that the Act does not affect Indigenous traditional knowledge or practices by clarifying that a person exercising the rights of an Indigenous people is not subject to the prohibition regarding reserved practice; and
- Updates to declaration requirements based on feedback that the previously proposed requirement for registrants to submit declarations every time they were engaged to provide services was overly burdensome. The amendments will now require a regulation to be made for more specific instances where declarations add value.
The amendments also allow for the authority to create an annual fee paid by regulatory bodies to offset a small percentage of the budget of the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG). Additional work is required by the OSPG to determine whether this authority will be used, and on what basis; the OSPG has committed to continued consultation with regulatory bodies on any potential funding models in advance of a new regulation being introduced.
Engineers and Geoscientists BC is supportive of legislative amendments that will make the PGA more effective and define our role as a regulator more clearly. We will continue to work with the OSPG to provide our perspective to government, and to ensure they understand the complexities, risks, and alternatives to any proposed legislative changes. As this work progresses, we will keep registrants up to date.
Bill 21 has currently passed Second Reading in the BC Legislature. The amendments will take effect once the Bill reaches Royal Assent.
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