Alberta's New Umbrella Legislation: Streamlining the Regulation of Non-Health Professions
Perspectives for the Professions
April 2022 - 3 min read
The Government of Alberta recently announced a timeline for its "Streamlining Professional Legislation" project, which will introduce new umbrella legislation for the regulation of 22 non-health professions in Alberta. The Government is expected to introduce a bill in the Alberta legislature in May 2022, with the legislation expected to come into force by January 2023. We expect the bill to be introduced under “Bill 23: Professional Governance Act”.
This project has its roots in the Red Tape Reduction Act, first introduced by the Government of Alberta in 2019. As part of the promise to reduce red tape and streamline legislation, the Ministry of Labour and Immigration initiated the project in 2020. Consultations with professional regulatory organizations began in the spring of 2021.
The new umbrella legislation is expected to repeal and replace the existing legislation for the following 22 professions:
- Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta
- Alberta Institute of Agrologists
- Alberta Association of Architects
- Consulting Engineers of Alberta
- Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
- Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta
- Association of Alberta Forest Management Professionals (includes technologists)
- Alberta Land Surveyors' Association
- Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (includes technologists)
- Alberta Assessors' Association
- Alberta Association of Landscape Architects
- Alberta Human Ecology and Home Economics Association
- Alberta Professional Planners Institute
- Alberta Shorthand Reporters' Association
- Alberta Society of Professional Biologists
- Association of School Business Officials of Alberta
- Association of the Chemical Profession of Alberta
- Canadian Information Processing Society of Alberta
- Electrical Contractors Association of Alberta
- Institute of Certified Management Consultants of Alberta
- Society of Local Government Managers of Alberta
- Supply Chain Management Association Alberta
The new umbrella legislation will have three components: the Act, Regulations, and Schedules. The Government stated that it will be modelled after the Alberta Health Professions Act and the British Columbia Professional Governance Act, two pieces of umbrella legislation said to provide a cohesive and consistent framework for regulation. As such, the new umbrella Act will aim to provide a common regulatory framework for core areas shared by all 22 professional regulatory organizations to reduce inconsistencies and inefficiencies.
The Act is expected to contain provisions covering the following topics:
- Transition, as existing professions and regulatory models are transitioned under this new legislation;
- Governance and accountability, including a uniform governance framework, standardized committee and tribunal requirements, and standardized public member appointments;
- Amalgamation, where the consolidation of existing regulators is deemed desirable;
- Temporary registration, to be used in extraordinary circumstances;
- Continuing competency and practice review, which will require all organizations to establish a mandatory continuing competence program for members;
- Professional conduct, including a standardized professional conduct model;
- Offences and penalties, including standardized offences and penalties; and
- Bylaw-making authority, which will provide the bulk of customization options available to professional regulators.
The Regulations are expected to prescribe Ministerial oversight of the professions as well as annual reporting requirements and continuing competence requirements. Procedures for the designation of new professions under the legislation may also be in the regulations.
The Schedules are expected to be tailored to each profession and will contain provisions on practice, reserved titles, and other matters specific to the profession.
By-law making authority is expected to be a significant aspect of the new umbrella legislation. The Government has outlined on a preliminary basis the authority professions are expected to be granted to make bylaws, which includes:
- Governance and Accountability, including powers, duties and functions of professional regulatory organizations, the Registrar, and all regulatory bodies and the delegation of those powers, duties and functions;
- Registration, setting requirements, conditions and restrictions for registration, including what information a registration application should include and guidelines for evaluation of applicants' competence;
- Competence and Continuing Competence;
- Practice Reviews;
- Electronic Signatures; and
- Practice and Business Arrangement, including the registration of business entities.
Although the legislation has yet to be introduced in the Alberta Legislature, the move to umbrella legislation for 22 of Alberta's non-health professions marks a significant shift in the regulatory landscape in Alberta. Professional regulatory organizations will have significant powers to make bylaws for the regulation of their professions, but the timelines will be tight if the legislation comes into force by January 2023. It is also notable that the move to a modern piece of regulatory legislation will likely benefit regulators who have been operating under dated statutes from the 1980s and 2000s that have presented challenges (e.g. the Professional and Occupational Associations Registration Act).
Please contact Field Law's Professional Regulatory Group if you have questions about this legislation and its implications for your regulatory organization.