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 as 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 on a country-wide basis, 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On February 5, 2021, The Cabinet of British Columbia repealed the Agrologists Act and enacted the Professional Governance Act (PGA).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), Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC), College of Applied Biology (CAB), Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC), and Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP). The Architectural Institute of BC (AIBC) is working to transition to the PGA by fall 2022.
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 five 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.