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BCSLA and the Professional Governance Act

Thursday, August 20, 2020

What is the Professional Governance Act?

Bill 49: Professional Governance Act (PGA) received Royal Assent in November 2018 (passed in the Legislature). In June 2019 select parts of the PGA were brought into force to begin transition to the PGA.  These include the provisions establishing the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) and some administrative powers of the Superintendent.  The Professional Governance Act was developed in response to two key recommendations of government’s 2018 professional reliance review, which evaluated the current legislation governing qualified professionals in the natural resource sector, and the role of professional regulators in upholding the public interest. The legislation sets consistent standards for ethical principles, duties and responsibilities, and governance structures, and it introduces new regulatory tools, processes, and requirements.

Which professions are currently being brought under the PGA?

  1. Engineers and Geoscientists of BC
  2. Association of BC Forest Professionals
  3. BC Institute of Agrologists
  4. College of Applied Biology
  5. Applied Scientist Technologists and Technicians of BC

On July 14, 2020, the Architectural Institute of BC (AIBC) received a letter stating the government will be moving them from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to the Ministry of the Attorney General, with an eventual transition from the Architects Act to the PGA.  Please click on this link to see a message from AIBC.

What are the implications and changes for these professions?
  • The PGA will update the Codes of Ethics to align the with a set of mandatory ethical principles
  • The PGA will provide authority for regulatory bodies to regulate firms
  • Mandatory continuing education will be required
  • Registrants will need to verify their area of practice annually and keep their contact information up-to-date
  • The PGA also introduces broad changes to governance structure, including nomination and election processes and the composition of Council (the equivalent of our Board)
  • Some professions (biologists, agrologists, and science technologists and technicians) may gain practice rights once the PGA is fully implemented.
    See Factsheet: Professional Governance Act Overview
How does this affect Landscape Architects in BC?
BCSLA formally expressed interest in joining the PGA on May 28, 2020. This application is expected to be reviewed when the original five groups have been brought under the PGA, and key parts of the PGA have become fully enacted – expected in November 2020.
If the BCSLA application is accepted by the OSPG, the resulting transition period of time for a decision on the application is unknown, but it could be as early as 2021.
Who is representing the BCSLA?
The Regulatory Review Task Force (RRTF): Co-chairs Jacqueline Lowe and Adrienne Brown, Frank Basciano, Catherine Berris, Larry Diamond, Doron Fishman, Cynthia Girling, Meredith Mitchell, Erik Mustonen, and Donna Rodman with staff members Tara Culham and Devon Francis, and Government Relations Consultant David Bieber of Counsel Public Affairs.
Why did the BCSLA decide to make this application?
  1. To demonstrate to the OSPG that the BCSLA is committed to regulating landscape architecture with a current understanding of practice and responsibility to the public interest, professional responsibilities, and overlaps with other professions
  2. To build on existing relationships and work collaboratively with the OSPG and the six allied professional groups
  3. To improve and update the BCSLA’s governing legislation: The Architects (Landscape) Act.
What are the next steps?
Over the next few months there will be:
    1. Two fall/winter webinar presentations from the:
      1. BCSLA RRTF with a Q & A. session; and
      2. OSPG to provide more information on the PGA
    2. Consultation with:
      1. the professions which are being brought under the PGA
      2. other regulated professions not currently under the PGA, and other non-regulated groups whose practice may overlap with landscape architecture
Important Links
OSPG Policy and Direction
In the next few weeks additional information will be posted on the BCSLA Website at: / and announcements will appear in the Friday File.  Please contact the BCSLA office with any questions or comments.
Yours sincerely,                                                                    
Jacqueline Lowe,  BCSLA President and RRTF Co-Chair                                                                   
Adrienne Brown, BCSLA RRTF Co-Chair
Click to view background photo & credits
Project: Hanley Residence
Landscape Architect / Firm: LeFrank & Associates Ltd.
Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
Photo Credit: David Hollebone