As shared in February, the provincial government has been undertaking amendments to the Professional Governance Act (PGA). The intention of the amendments is to improve consistency and best practices among registered professionals under the PGA, and to allow for the designation of new regulatory bodies. The Bill, Bill 21-Professional Governance Amendment Act-2022, had its first reading on April 25, second reading on May 2, and the third reading on May 11. The Bill is now proceeding to Royal Assent. Most of the proposed amendments will come into force on the date of Royal Assent.
Many amendments were put forward. However, there are eight changes to the legislation that are particularly noteworthy for AIBC registrants:
- Continuing Education Compliance
This new provision allows for CES compliance to be dealt with as an administrative matter, rather than as a professional conduct complaint. For example, if after an appropriate amount of notice and reminders, suspension/cancellation of a registrant’s registration can take place for those who fail to complete CES requirements.
- Repair Drafting Errors to Allow for Designation of New Regulatory Bodies under the PGA
The original PGA language had drafting errors, such as the Office of Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) designating the “regulator body” rather than the “profession”. These have now been corrected.
- Office of Superintendent of Professional Governance Levies
This provision allows for the OSPG to impose fees on regulators for OSPG’s operation. The OSPG has stated the majority of its budget will be publicly funded, and that any fee amount would be ‘nominal’. It is not anticipated that this will be in force until 2023/2024.
- Terminology Changes
Several terminology changes are being introduced, including: “association” to “regulator”, “President” and “Vice President” to “Chair” and “Vice Chair”, and also “Council” to “Board”.
- Indigenous Traditional Knowledge and Practices
This amendment clarifies that a person exercising Indigenous rights is not subject to the prohibition regarding reserved practice set out in section 54 of the PGA. It is intended primarily to address traditional practices/knowledge in relation to current biology, forestry, and agrology scopes.
- Referenda and Motions from the Floor
This provision updates rules around referenda and motions from the floor at annual general meetings. While annual meetings are still required, the amendments remove the requirement for the council of a regulatory body to conduct a referendum on a resolution of a general meeting.
- Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)
This provision allows regulatory bodies, including the AIBC, to establish bylaws allowing architectural firms to exist as LLPs. This type of partnership has different personal liability elements but does not reduce a firm or architect’s professional obligations or liability, and expands the ‘business vehicles’ that architectural firms could adopt. Of note, this was an original request of the AIBC from more than 10 years ago.
- Less Onerous ‘Declaration’ Requirements
Certain parts of the PGA, currently not in force, create competency and conflict of interest ‘declaration’ obligations that were seen as onerous (e.g., potentially required for every commission). Amendments allow for more flexible, case-by-case and profession-specific declaration obligations to be established by regulation.
For more information about the amendments and to view Bill 21-Professional Governance Amendment Act-2022, please visit the provincial government website. We encourage registrants to review and become familiar with the legislation, especially as we enter the next phase of the transition.
The AIBC’s transition is expected to be completed in fall 2022. Registrants can expect further information and details regarding the AIBC’s transition to the Professional Governance Act in the coming weeks. It is anticipated that the first draft PGA bylaws regarding Registration, will be posted for feedback the week of May 23. In addition, the provincial government is beginning a consultation process on the Reserved Practice of the profession. As a reminder, it is the provincial government that sets Reserved Practice, unlike bylaws.
Registrants are reminded to visit the PGA Transition webpage frequently, as information will be posted there as soon as it is available. The AIBC also encourages registrants to be active participants in the transition, particularly with bylaw feedback. In the past, all bylaw suites have been amended based on registrant feedback. While registrants will not be able to vote on bylaws, the AIBC looks forward to thoughtful and insightful comments.
If you have any questions about the AIBC’s transition to the PGA, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.