(Based on information available as of January 6th, 2021)
The implementation of practice rights for registrants of BCIA is a significant work in progress which is why BCIA has not yet been able to publish many specifics. In February 2021, it is probable that the provincial government will enact most of the remainder the Professional Governance Act (“PGA”) which grants the Office of Professional Governance (“OSPG”) the ability to grant practice rights. This will be a three stage process starting with the new expanded definition of “regulated practice” which can be commonly termed as the definition of agrology. This definition will be in the February enactment.
Thereafter, BCIA will continue working with the OSPG to determine the definition of “reserved practice” which will list the activities that only a registered professional agrologist can perform. This will, however; also allow for joint jurisdiction over certain activities with other professions governed by the PGA. This will be the basis of the practice rights which the OSPG will eventually grant to BCIA. This process will require an in-depth realignment of the current 38 areas of practice which is currently underway. Once granted, any person providing any of the stipulated services must be a registrant of BCIA or be subject to prosecution for unregistered practice (or, in certain circumstances, registrants of another profession). It is expected that there will be statutory exemptions.
One the major exemptions will probably be that persons providing services on their own land will be exempt from the registration requirement. This will mean that agricultural producers will not have to be registrants of BCIA, but with respect to their own land only. If producers want to provide agrologist advice or service to their neighbours for compensation or other consideration they will have to be registrants of BCIA. This will allow producers to give free advice (especially in a “coffee row” situation), without being registered, although there is always the possibility of civil liability if incorrect advice causes damages. That liability scenario is outside the purview of the PGA and remains within the ambit of negligence law. It must be stressed; however, that the exact exemptions are still not determined.
The third stage will be the clarification of those activities which are not subject to any overlapping jurisdiction and thus only registrants of BCIA can provide those services. BCIA is currently working on a discussion paper on this topic for consideration by our PGA Working Group and ultimately the BCIA Council. It is expected that this will take a period of 12-24 months.
This remains a very fluid project; however, our work with the OSPG is slowly reaching a level of clarity. We will continue to provide updates to our registrants but always feel free to contact the office if you have any specific questions.
JP Ellson (B.A,Hon Cert.,L.L.B)