The British Columbia Institute of Agrologists is a regulatory body which establishes standards for the competent and ethical practice of agrology in BC.
Through effective professional self-regulation, BCIA and its registrants shall be consistently regarded by the people of British Columbia as upholding and protecting the public interest.
The mission of the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists is to ensure the professional integrity and competency of its registrants to protect the public interest in the sustainable use of resources.
The purpose of the institute is:
1. to uphold and protect the public interest by
- preserving and protecting the scientific methods and principles that are the foundation of the agricultural and natural sciences,
- upholding the principles of stewardship that are the foundation of agrology, and
- ensuring the integrity, objectivity and expertise of its registrants, and
2. subject to paragraph (1.),
- to govern its registrants in accordance with the Act and the bylaws, and
- to cooperate with other professional or occupational bodies charged with governing the conduct or competence of their registrants on a matter the Institute considers relevant to agrology.
Our Strategic Plan
Building and Maintaining a Strong B.C. Institute of Agrologists (BCIA)
The Council exists to implement the mission and mandate of the Institute. The Strategic Plan guides the actions of Council to meet its statutory role. Activities that are necessary to ensure compliance and that support the Institute’s mission include Governance, Investigations, Audit and Practice Review, Credentials, Executive and Nominations. Council is promoting the following areas of interest to help meet the Institute’s mission and ensure integrity, objectivity and expertise of its members:
- Strengthening committees to direct activities that are necessary to ensure compliance of Council’s statutory role and to support the Institute’s mission;
- Maintaining standards of conduct;
- Providing a certification process that includes educational standards and professional development;
- Applying and promoting scientific principles;
- Communicating with the membership and Districts (Branches);
- Facilitating informed discussion and decision-making;
- Promoting the profession and liaising with other related associations.
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. 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.
Agrology, once almost solely concerned with agriculture, is now more broadly defined as:
“ ... using agricultural and natural sciences and agricultural and resource economics, including collecting or analyzing data or carrying out research or assessments, to design, evaluate, advise on, direct or otherwise provide professional support to:
(a) the cultivation, production, improvement, processing or marketing of aquatic or terrestrial plants or animals, or
(b) the classification, management, use, conservation, protection, restoration, reclamation or enhancement of aquatic or terrestrial ecosystems that are affected by, sustain, or have the potential to sustain the cultivation or production of aquatic or terrestrial plants or animals."
In 2018 the Government of British Columbia passed the Professional Governance Act ("PGA"). As the new legislation is being enacted in stages the transition between the Agrologists Act and the PGA is a work in progress. It is expected that the majority of the PGA will be enacted in November 2020 at which time the Agrologists Act will be repealed and replaced by a Schedule to the PGA. Among numerous changes under the new legislation is the granting of practice rights to the profession whereby certain stipulated activities will be restricted only to registrants of BCIA.
Due to the pending enactment of the PGA an expanded definition of agrology (now known as the definition of "Regulated Practice") has been proposed which articulates the expansion of the profession into the environmental sciences and the affirmation of a new professional designation of Technical Agrologist (TAg). The proposed new definition is as follows (as of July 2020):
Practice of Agrology means the regulated practice of using agricultural, environmental, food, life and natural sciences and agricultural, environmental and resource economics requiring judgement and expertise arising from advanced knowldege and expertise to derive and communicate information to design, evaluate, advise on, instruct, direct or otherwise provide professional support to:
- the assessment, cultivation, production, improvement, processing, management or marketing of aquatic or terrestrial plants or animals for human use, consumption, or other benefit with uncertain outcomes or:
- the assessment, classification, characterization, management, use, conservation, protection, restoration, reclamation, remdiation, or enhancement of atmospheric, aquatic or terrestrial ecosystems or environments or:
- the provision of technical services utilizing standardized procedures to address environmental challenges, agricultural production systems, or natural resource management with limited potential for negative externality or with specifically defined limitations to judgement.
The final definition has not yet been approved by the government. Subsequent definitions for reserved and restricted practice will be developed as part of the granting of practice rights to the profession.
Today's BCIA has over 1750 registrants with in excess of 1500 registrants in the active practice designation of Professional Agrologists (PAgs), Articling Agrologists (AAgs) and the new designations of Technologists in Agrology (TAgs) and Articling Technologists in Agrology (ATAg) working in British Columbia.