Complaint Process Summary, as per Bylaws 102 to 130:
The Professional Governance Act provides that a person may make a written complaint to the BC Institute of Agrologists (BCIA) if the person believes that the Registrant of the BCIA has practiced agrology in an incompetent manner, has been guilty of professional misconduct, has breached the Professional Governance Act or BCIA's Bylaws. There are no limitations on who may file a complaint.
BCIA is required to address complaints and to protect the public interest. BCIA's Bylaws provide for a range of tools to address complaints. After a complaint is received, it is reviewed by the Registrar. The Registrar assigns complaints to the Investigation Committee, which investigates. If sufficient evidence is found to support the complaint, the Investigation Committee makes a disposition decision, which may range from issuing a notice requiring the Registrant to appear before the Committee, to directing the issuance of a citation for a Discipline Committee hearing. The Discipline Committee determines whether the Registrant has practised in an incompetent manner, breached their professional oath, or engaged in unprofessional conduct.
Under Section 65 and Section 66 of the PGA, complaints against a Registrant will be initiated and managed as follows:
1. A Complainant must deliver a complaint in writing to BCIA, or an officer of BCIA. Any recipient of a written complaint must forward that complaint to the Registrar. Delivery by electronic means is acceptable;
2. The Council, the Registrar, or the Investigation Committee may initiate on their initiative a complaint or authorize an investigation of any Registrant;
3. The Registrar must, as soon as is reasonably possible, provide a copy or a summary of the complaint to the Respondent and request a response in writing within (30) days of the Respondent receiving notice of the complaint, or such length of period that the Registrar deems appropriate;
4. The Registrar may, at any time before the intake and information gathering stage, including before delivery of the respective complaint to the Respondent, summarily dismiss a complaint if the Registrar determines that the complaint:
i. is beyond the jurisdiction of the BCIA, does not raise an issue of incompetence, professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming or a breach of the PGA or these Bylaws; or
ii. is frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith.
A disposition under this subsection is considered to be a disposition of the Investigation Committee unless, within 30 days after receipt of the report required under subsection (g) below, that Committee directs the Registrar to proceed with further investigation in accordance with these Bylaws. The Registrar must advise of the final disposition of the complaint including reasoning if it is dismissed under this subsection;
5. The Council, the Registrar or the Investigation Committee may at any time refer the matter to the Audit and Practice Review Committee for consideration in accordance with Section 63 of the PGA;
6. Upon receipt of a complaint and response (if any), or on the initiative of Council or the Investigation Committee the Registrar must conduct or authorize an investigation of the complaint or matter, including the appointment of an investigator other than the Registrar if deemed necessary. The Registrar must advise all parties to the complaint or matter of the pending investigation and the identity of the specific investigator(s);
7. The Registrar must submit a preliminary report to the Investigation Committee for each complaint initiated to either:
i. Outline the Registrars’ reasoning for summarily dismissing the complaint; or
ii. Outline the complaint for the Investigation Committee to determine whether further investigation is warranted.
8. Council must provide in publically available written policies additional guidance for the following matters:
i. Reasonable timelines for provision of information by Complainants and Respondents;
ii. Initiation of additional or amended complaints discovered during the information gathering stage of the original complaint;
iii. Circumstances in which the BCIA may choose to not disclose a complaint to a Respondent;
iv. Standards by which complainants and respondent are to be advised as to progress of the investigation and disposition of the respective complaint.
The Discipline Committee may do one or more of the following after consideration:
- Determine that no further action is required;
- Authorize a practice review to be conducted in accordance with these Bylaws;
- Before a citation is issued, initiate a Reprimand and Remedial Action by Consent (RRAC) agreement with respect to matters that can be addressed by an undertaking not to repeat the conduct in question, agree to stipulated standards, cautions, or expectations, and abide by any recommendations respecting additional education or training as directed by the Audit and Practice Committee;
- Before a citation is issued facilitate a consent order pursuant to these Bylaws;
- Issue a citation ordering a discipline hearing under Section 75 of the PGA;
- take such other remedial action as it considers appropriate.
BCIA Council cannot be involved in the complaint process because it is the Discipline Committee that has the responsibility under BCIA's Bylaws to make dispositions.
BCIA Bylaws regarding Complaints Against a Registrant of BCIA
Complaints may be made against a Registrant for one or more of the following reasons:
(a) Incompetent performance in the Registrants’ regulated practice;
(b) Professional misconduct;
(c) Conduct unbecoming a Registrant;
(d) Breach of the Professional Governance Act; or
(e) Breach of these Bylaws, including but not limited to a breach of the Code of Ethics attached as Schedule A to these Bylaws.