Certain professions and occupations in Alberta are self-governed by professional regulatory organizations (PROs), which receive their authority through provincial legislation. These organizations are responsible for developing regulations, standards of practice, codes of ethics and other related bylaws that govern their members and ensure the public interest is protected and public safety is maintained.
These organizations may be called an “association,” “institute,” “society” or “college”. Thirteen PROs are registered under the Professional and Occupational Associations Registration Act (POARA) while 9 have individual separate acts.
The Alberta government appoints public members to PRO governing bodies, committees and tribunals to ensure accountability and to assist the PRO with carrying out its responsibilities.
Self-regulate your profession
To self-regulate your profession, you need to form an association and apply for registration as a PRO. You will need to demonstrate that regulating your profession and introducing protected professional title(s) protects and serves the public interest and public safety.
Prior to applying, your association should have a discussion or meeting with the Registrar of Registered Professional and Occupational Associations (Registrar). This will help inform your association about the registration process, associated costs, the intent of the legislation and the potential impact and/or benefits to the profession and the public.
Resource: Application guide is coming soon.
If you have questions, email the Registrar.
Recent changes to legislation
Amendments to POARA came into effect on January 1, 2021. Changes include:
- updated registration provisions that require associations to meet the higher standard of protecting and serving both the public interest and public safety
- requiring organizations to demonstrate their long-term economic viability
- authorizing the Registrar to review existing PROs to assess if they remain qualified for registration
- POARA Fact Sheet (PDF, 378 KB)
- Review guide coming soon
Reviewing existing PROs
When a registration review is required, the Registrar will notify the PRO in writing. A review may be prompted by changes to legislation or government policy, an organization’s mandate or the Registrar becoming aware that an organization is not meeting its obligations. The Registrar will investigate if it is in the public interest and the interest of public safety for the organization’s continued registration. The Registrar may consider whether the PRO:
- is complying with the act
- is providing good governance of the PRO and its members
- has public confidence with respect to the activities of the PRO and its members
- has clear standards of ethics and competence for the profession and its members
- has appropriate measures to avoid and detect professional practices or actions that are illegal, fraudulent, unethical, or incompetent and ensure members are held accountable for these actions
PROs and legislation
Alberta Labour and Immigration is responsible for legislation that governs 22 non-health PROs.
- Consulting engineers:
- Engineers, geoscientists and technologists:
- Foresters and forest technologists:
- Land surveyors:
- Veterinarians and veterinary technologists:
- Other non-health professionals under the Professional and Occupational Associations Registration Act:
- 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 ministries of Justice and Solicitor General, Education and Health are responsible for the governing legislation of Alberta’s legal, teaching and health professions, respectively.
Professional Governance services
The Professional Governance Unit oversees PROs that are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labour and Immigration. This unit supports PROs and professional associations seeking to become PROs to ensure the public interest and public safety are protected and served. Professional Governance services include:
- advising the public on the legislative responsibilities of PROs
- providing policy advice, interpretation and direction to PROs, government and other stakeholders on professional legislation
- reviewing and making recommendations to government on applications from associations seeking self-regulation
- reviewing new or amended legislative proposals from PROs to ensure the public interest and public safety are maintained
- helping resolve issues between PROs
- assisting in the administration of public member appointments to governing bodies, committees and tribunals
Connect with Professional Governance:
Email: [email protected]
3rd Floor, Labour Building
10808 99 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 0G5
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