The mission of the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists is to ensure the professional integrity and competency of its members to uphold and protect the public interest in the sustainable use of resources.
All individuals named as Professional Agrologists in BC must be registered with the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists. The Institute expects registered members to practice ethically and competently, while following the Code of Ethics.
BCIA Complaint Process Summary
The Agrologists Act provides that a person may make a complaint to the Institute if the person believes that the member of the BCIA has practiced agrology in an incompetent manner, or been guilty of professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming an agrologist, or a breach of the Agrologists Act or bylaws. There is no limitation on who may file a complaint.
The Institute is required to address complaints and to act at all times in the public interest. The complaint process is governed by the Agrologists Act, the bylaws, and the requirements of procedural fairness. The bylaws provide for a range of tools to address complaints. If the Conduct and Discipline Committee determines, following investigation, that there is evidence to support the complaint, it must make a disposition decision which can range from issuing a notice requiring the member to appear before it to directing the issuance of a citation for a discipline hearing to determine whether the member has practised in an incompetent manner, or engaged in professional misconduct or unprofessional conduct.
When the Registrar of the Institute receives a complaint in writing, the following steps are taken:
- The Registrar confirms that the subject of the complaint is a current or former member of the Institute.
- The Registrar assesses whether the subject matter of the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the Conduct and Discipline Committee to investigate (i.e. does it allege incompetence, professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming or breach of Act or bylaws). The Conduct and Discipline Committee does not have jurisdiction to address civil claims or criminal conduct although the same conduct may give rise to multiple judicial and regulatory proceedings).
- The Registrar assesses whether the complaint raises allegations that are trivial, frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith or otherwise warrant a summary dismissal without referral for investigation.
- If the complaint falls within the Institute’s jurisdiction and is not summarily dismissed, the Registrar must provide a copy of the complaint to the member within seven business days of receiving the complaint and request a written response. The opportunity to provide a written response enables the member to provide the relevant facts and any other information which the member believes should be considered by the Complaint and Discipline Committee for the purposes of the investigation.
- After receiving the response from the member, the Registrar may, with consent from the parties, appoint or approve a mediator to attempt to resolve the complaint.
- If one or more parties do not consent to mediation or mediation is unsuccessful, the Registrar must refer the complaint to the Discipline Hearing Committee which will direct an investigation. The Registrar or another investigator will be directed to conduct the investigation and may require production of documents, records and other information from the member who is the subject of the complaint.
- Once the investigation is complete, the Registrar will provide a copy of the investigation report to the complainant and the member who will then have at least 14 business days to provide a written response to the investigation report.
- The Registrar must forward the investigation report, the complaint, the response to the complaint from the member, and the written responses to the investigation report to the Discipline Hearing Committee for a disposition decision.
- The Discipline Hearing Committee may do one or more of the following after considering all of the material:
- determine that no further action is required
- issue a written notice requiring the member to appear before it
- authorize a practice review of the member’s practice
- seek a consent order from the member containing remedial terms
- direct the issuance of a citation for a discipline hearing
As the Discipline Hearing Committee is mandated under the bylaws to make the disposition decision under the bylaws, the Council cannot be involved in that process.
BCIA Bylaws regarding Complaints Against a Registered Member of BCIA
As stated in Section 20 of the Agrologists Act
A person may make a complaint to an officer if the person believes that a member of the institute has
(a) practised agrology in an incompetent manner, or
(b) been guilty of professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming an agrologist, or a breach of this Act or the bylaws.
Complaints must be in writing and must be signed by the complainant. To submit a complaint or to inquire about further details of the complaints process contact the Registrar by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 250-380-9292 or by mail at 2777 Claude Rd., Victoria, BC V9B 3T7.