Shortly after the First World War, it became apparent to a group of scientists working in Canadian agriculture, that it was essential to have an organization that could bring all agricultural scientists together, to discuss common problems, consider new findings and developments, and generally correlate the work of the various branches of science.
A group of five individuals were appointed to seek a solution, the result being the Canadian Society of Technical agriculturalists (C.S.T.A.). The first organizing convention was held in 1920 and Dr. L.S. Klinck, of the University of British Columbia was elected president. In 1945, the organization’s name was changed to the Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC).
The British North America Act gave full power of formation, recognition and control of all professional groups to provincial legislatures. Therefore AIC could not gain legal professional status for all its members on a country-wide basis and each province would have to form its own body for this purpose. In April 1947, the BC legislature passed the Agrologists Act, creating the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists (BCIA). The Institute’s bylaws went into effect on June 1 of that year. As it is today, the role of the Institute was to protect the public interest through the governing of the professional conduct of its members. Agrology in the 1947 Act was very narrowly defined, applying almost exclusively to those working in the agri-food industry. In 2003, a new Agrologists Act was brought into force that broadened the focus to include the environment and natural resources. The new act was part of a general policy of government to place greater reliance on the self-regulating professions for policing professional behaviour and setting and maintaining professional standards.
As of February 5, 2021 the Agrologists Act was repealed and the new Professional Governance Act (PGA) was fully enacted.
The Professional Governance Act (PGA) provides a consistent governance framework for self-regulating professions that incorporates best practices of professional governance. The PGA initially governs the five professional regulators overseeing agrologists, applied biologists, applied science technologists and technicians, engineers and geoscientists, and forest professionals. Professional regulators governed by the PGA will be referred to as ‘regulatory bodies’.
The PGA also strengthens government oversight by establishing a statutory Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) in the Ministry of Attorney General. The OSPG is responsible for administering the PGA and for ensuring that best practices for professional governance are implemented. The establishment of the OSPG simplifies and standardizes how professions governed by the PGA are regulated by government.
BCIA continues to work with the provincial government through the OSPG regarding reserved practice - practice rights - for agrology professionals