Professional Governance Act

Professional Governance Act

Complaints, Part III

If the Complaints Inquiry Committee secretary is unable to resolve a complaint, it is referred to the Complaints Inquiry Committee who will assign a person to investigate the complaint. The investigator’s report would be provided back to the Complaints Inquiry Committee who will review the report and decide whether the complaint is forwarded to a hearing.
Currently, the Discipline Committee Chair (or Vice-Chair) conducts the investigation and makes the decision whether the complaint goes forward to a hearing. Under the Professional Governance Act, the decision-making power and the investigation are separate. Also, the decision whether a complaint is sent to a hearing will now be a committee decision rather than an individual’s decision.


Complaints, Part II

We expect there will be changes to the complaints and discipline process when the next version of the Professional Governance Act is introduced into the Legislature. However, we generally anticipate that complaints will be made to an ALSA staff person with the title of Complaints Inquiry Committee secretary. The CIC secretary will assess whether it is a valid complaint, encourage communication between the registrant and the complainant and see if the matter can be settled.
If not, the complaint is referred to the Complaints Inquiry Committee.


Complaints, Part I

The complaints, discipline and appeals processes will be very different from what we currently have under our 1982 legislation. The new procedures will be, for the most part, based on the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta’s more current legislation but also contain components of current forestry, agrology and veterinary legislation.
At the beginning of this section, jurisdiction over former registrants and relating to former acts is addressed to ensure that registrants and former registrants cannot avoid discipline simply because they are no longer a registrant or they are under a different act.


Inspection Powers

The Professional Governance Act would create a new Professional Governance Officer position within the Government of Alberta. Their role would include providing support to regulators, promoting best practices and overseeing public member honoraria and expenses.
The act also introduces a new “inspection power” to allow government, at an operational level, to try to resolve issues at the lowest possible level (ie: not the minister or deputy minister).
These positions and powers formalize what already exists within government.
It does not mean the government is making decisions for the regulator. The professional regulatory organization (ie: the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association) still makes the decisions after consultation with its registrants and non-regulated members.


Maintaining the Register and Related Records

This section of Bill 23 ensures that a register, which includes registrant information required by the regulations, is established and maintained by the Registrar and published on the website.


Continuing Competence

The Professional Governance Act will require every professional regulatory organization's governing body to establish a mandatory continuing competence program.
Where the new legislation says a "mandatory continuing competence program," think "mandatory continuing professional development program." The ALSA's existing "continuing competency review program" will need to be renamed the "practice review program" to be in alignment with the legislation.
The intent of the new continuing competence program is to help ensure that registrants are and remain competent to provide professional services while remaining current on the requirements of the profession.
Based on the previous Bill 23, it is expected that professional regulatory organizations will be given a two‐year time limit for the program to be established. Having said that, the ALSA's Practice Review Board has been working to develop the framework for a continuing competence/continuing professional development program and are bringing forward a recommendation to Council next week.
Once the legislation is in place, the Practice Review Committee (formerly the Practice Review Board) will be responsible for administering the continuing competence program.
The program will be mandatory for all individual registrants but the bylaws would give the ALSA the authority to expand it to other categories of registrants (such as temporary or business registrants).



The proposed Professional Governance Act is intended to provide clarity for reinstatement as a registrant. The legislation is expected to break reinstatement into separate sections. That is, the requirements for being reinstated as a land surveyor will be different if the registration was cancelled due to a disciplinary decision or cancelled because the land surveyor voluntarily decided to go on the retired members register.
Governing bodies (ie: the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association) will be given bylaw-making authority relating to reinstatement requirements regarding good character and reputation; fines and costs due or payable and reinstatement fees.

Public Members

Under the Professional Governance Act, there will be public members on the governing body (aka Council), the Discipline Tribunal and the Appeal Tribunal. There will no longer be a public member on the Practice Review Board (which will be known as the Practice Review Committee under the PGA).
Currently, there is one public member on Council and ten ALS members on Council. Under the PGA, the minister will appoint more public members to the governing body and the Government of Alberta has asked for the ALSA’s feedback on how many public members should be on the governing body/Council. Should it be 3, 5, 7, 20%, 25%, 33%?
What do you think?

Governing Body, Committees and Tribunals

Professional regulatory organization (PRO) requirements will be standardized. A professional regulatory organization must establish a governing body (currently known as the Council within the ALSA), Registration Committee and Complaints Inquiry Committee. Discipline tribunals and appeal tribunals must be able to be convened when needed. Competence Committees and Practice Review Committees (not Practice Review Board) are optional but PROs must have one or the other.

Levelling the Regulatory Field

The Professional Governance Act (PGA), when proclaimed, will streamline nine acts and 28 supporting regulations, into one uniform umbrella act. According to the government, the expected act is intended to address issues that exist in current non‐health professional legislation, including:

  • Legislative requirements vary significantly across non‐health professional regulatory organizations (PROs).  PROs and registrants are held to varying standards and accountabilities across their core functions.
  • Statutes have varying levels of protection for the public interest; some are silent on protection of public safety.
  • Authorities, powers, duties and functions are not equal or, at times, comparable.  
  • Complaints, discipline and appeals have various levels of reporting requirements, transparency and accountability, options, mechanisms, enforcement, offences and penalties. 
  • Legislation has not been updated to recognize advances in information technology, information management, privacy and best practice.

The Land Surveyors Act was last amended in 1982 and, until the PGA there was no prospect of updating the governing legislation to address, for examples, outdated complaints and discipline processes and procedures.

A Primer

This is the first in a series of articles aimed at highlighting what we expect to be in a Professional Governance Act (PGA). The government tells us that they are aiming to introduce new legislation this fall and have it enacted in Spring 2025. Of course, government timelines can change.
We do not know what will be in the legislation but we expect it will be similar (at least in principle) to what was in Bill 23 but details could change.
The PGA, when approved and implemented, will bring nine acts and 28 supporting regulations into one uniform umbrella act. A uniform governance framework is intended to promote a common understanding of terminology, governance and process.
Professional regulatory organizations, like the ALSA, are still self-governing bodies.

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The Alberta Land Surveyors' Association (ALSA) is a self-regulating professional association legislated under the Land Surveyors Act. The Association regulates the practice of land surveying for the protection of the public.