Founded in 1947, the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists (BCIA) is the sole self-governing regulator of registered agrologists in British Columbia. Through the application of stringent accreditation, mandatory professional development, and professional conduct standards, including rigorous complaint and discipline procedures, BCIA and its Registrants protect the public interest in the province's agricultural, environmental, and natural resource sectors.
BCIA is legislated under the Professional Governance Act (PGA), which gives BCIA its mandate and the responsibility of licensing professional agrologists and regulating the practice of agrology in the province. BCIA and the PGA protect the public from fraudulent recommendations by those not qualified or not registered to practice agrology within BC. All professional agrologists swear an oath at graduation or upon joining BCIA to uphold a stringent Code of Ethics and standards of practice.
Agrology is a reserved profession in British Columbia.
The British Columbia Institute of Agrologists (BCIA) is the self-governing regulator of registered agrologists in British Columbia. By applying stringent accreditation procedures, mandatory professional development, and conduct standards, including rigorous complaint and discipline procedures, BCIA and its Registrants protect the public interest in the province's agricultural, environmental, and natural resource sectors.
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.
Strategic Plan: Building and Maintaining a Strong BC Institute of Agrologists
The BCIA Council (Council) exists to implement the mission and mandate of the organization. The Strategic Plan guides the actions of the Council to meet its statutory role. Activities include Governance, Investigation, Audit and Practice Review, Credentials, Executive, and Nomination.
The Council promotes the following areas to meet BCIA's mission and ensure the integrity, objectivity, and expertise of its Registrants:
- Strengthens committees to direct activities that are necessary to ensure compliance with Council's statutory role and to support BCIA's mission;
- Maintains standards of conduct;
- Provides a certification process that includes educational standards and professional development;
- Applies and promotes scientific principles;
- Communicates with the Registrants, districts, and Branches;
- Facilitates informed discussion and decision-making; and
- Promotes the agrology profession and liaises with other related associations.
The Strategic Plan is a part of the Governance Manual, Section 11.
History of BCIA
Shortly after the First World War, it became evident 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 technical developments, and consolidate the work of the different agrology-related branches of science.
A group of five individuals was appointed to seek a solution, the result being the Canadian Society of Technical Agriculturalists (CSTA). Their inaugural convention was in 1920, with Dr. L.S. Klinck of the University of British Columbia elected president. Twenty-five years later, in 1945, the CSTA changed its name to the Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC).
The British North America Act gave provincial legislatures full power to form, recognize, and control all professional groups. As a result, the AIC could not gain professional status for its membership country-wide, and each province was required to form its own professional body for this purpose. In April 1947, the BC Legislature passed the Agrologists Act, creating the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists (BCIA) with BCIA's Bylaws in effect on June 1, 1947.
As it is today, the role of the Institute is to protect the public interest by governing the professional conduct of its Registrants and protecting the province's natural resources. The agrology profession in 1947 was narrowly defined by today's standards, applying almost exclusively to those working in the agri-food industry.
In 2003, a new Agrologists Act broadened the focus to include the environment and natural resources. The new Act was part of a government policy to place greater reliance on the professions for regulating professional behaviour and setting and maintaining professional standards.
On February 5, 2021, The Cabinet of British Columbia repealed the Agrologists Act and enacted the Professional Governance Act (PGA).
The current regulatory bodies under the PGA are the BC Institute of Agrologists (BCIA), the Applied Science Technologists and the Technicians of BC (ASTTBC), the College of Applied Biology (CAB), the Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC), the Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP), and the Architectural Institute of BC (AIBC).
The enactment of the PGA also strengthened government oversight by establishing the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) under the Ministry of the Attorney General. The OSPG oversees the governance of the current six regulatory bodies, administers the PGA, conducts investigations and audits, researches and develops best governance practices, and takes compliance actions such as issuing directives. The OSPG's mandate does not include oversight of individual professionals.