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BCSLA and the Professional Governance Act - Updated October 25, 2022

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Professional Governance Act (PGA) Bill 49- 2018  governs professionals working in the natural resource sector and built environment, and the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General. The PGA currently governs the five regulatory bodies which oversee agrologists, applied biologists, applied science technologists and technicians, engineers and geoscientists, and forest professionals. The governing body for architecture will be included later this year. If the BCSLA is designated as a regulator under the PGA, there will be an opportunity to apply for the establishment of practice rights in the future.  

The BCSLA PGA Working Group (PGA-WG) 

In October 2022, the BCSLA Board of Directors created this group to review and plan for impacts resulting from the inclusion of the BCSLA in the Professional Governance Act (PGA). It reviews governance structure, continuing education and advocacy programs, the scope of practice and more, along with recent changes made by the professional bodies already designated under the PGA.    The PGA-WG includes: Paul de Greeff, Chair; Jacqueline Lowe, Alternate, Catherine Berris, Karin England, Joe Fry, Somaye Hooshmand, Erik Mustonen, and Al Neufeld

Intentions Report for the Designation of Landscape Architects
Updated August 12, 2022

The Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) has completed its investigation (assessment) of the landscape architecture profession following a designation application from the BC Society of Landscape Architects (BCSLA) to consider the inclusion of landscape architecture under the Professional Governance Act (PGA).

BCSLA Designation Intentions Paper

The intentions report provides a summary of OSPG’s investigation process, including engagement completed to date, provides background information on the profession and the BCSLA, and provides high-level findings of the investigation.  It includes a preliminary indication of the direction being considered by the Superintendent and provided an opportunity for interested parties to submit feedback regarding any impacts that may result from this direction. Feedback was open from July 12, 2022 to August 12, 2022.

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. The original five groups were brought under the PGA on February 5, 2021.

Which professions are currently being brought under the PGA?

  1. Engineers and Geoscientists of BC
  2. Forest Professionals BC
  3. BC Institute of Agrologists
  4. College of Applied Biology
  5. Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC
  6. Architectural Institute of BC*

*The Architectural Institute of BC (AIBC) transitioned to the PGA on February 10, 2023.  

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. The draft application was submitted on July 8, 2021.  On August 20, 2021 the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance confirmed that it began an investigation in response to the BCSLA’s application for designation under the PGA. Notice of this proceeding was published in the British Columbia Gazette.  


February 10, 2023 Update

The BC Society of Landscape Architects is in receipt of a letter dated October 24, 2022 from the Honourable Murray Rankin, KC, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing.   He has concluded that the designation of landscape architecture is in the public interest and that he will be making this recommendation to the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council in due course.   It is his expectation that the BCSLA will work with the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) to begin the process to prepare for the transition to the Professional Governance Act (PGA) before seeking formal designation.  Read the letter.

The BCSLA Executive, the PGA Working Group (PGA-WG) and staff are in contact with the OSPG to discuss next steps, and we will continue to keep you up to date on further developments. Please contact Tara Culham at the BCSLA office for more information or if you have any questions.

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.
Mandatory Member Event: BCSLA Application to the Professional Governance Act (PGA)
From May to July 2021 the BCSLA delivered a series of on online presentations to Members and Associates along with live question and answer sessions with the BCSLA Regulatory Review Task Force. Please contact Tara Culham at the BCSLA office with any questions or comments.  We appreciate your feedback!  

OSPG Information Bulletin - Click here - Modernized professional governance act takes effect   

Legislation that increases transparency and accountability for regulatory bodies, ensuring professionals act in the public interest, came into force on Feb. 5, 2021. The current legislation governing the respective professions will be officially repealed when the legislation comes fully into force. The designated regulatory bodies will begin operating entirely under the Professional Governance Act (PGA). Government passed the PGA in 2018 and began bringing it into force in stages in June 2019.

Important Links
OSPG Policy and Direction
Please contact the BCSLA office with any questions or comments.
Click to view background photo & credits
Project: Hanley Residence
Landscape Architect / Firm: LeFrank & Associates Ltd.
Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
Photo Credit: David Hollebone