Canada: Bill 11 – Fair Registration Practices Act

Last Updated: July 3 2019
Article by Katrina Haymond

As noted in our previous alert, the United Conservative Party’s election platform included a promise to pass a Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, modelled on similar legislation adopted by the Province of Ontario in 2006, which requires professional regulatory organizations to ensure that their registration practices are transparent, objective, impartial and fair. The UCP also promised to create a Fairness for Newcomers Office with a $2.5 million budget, with a mandate to work with trade and professional licensing bodies to streamline, simplify and accelerate foreign credential recognition.

On June 19, 2019, the UCP introduced Bill 11 – Fair Registration Practices Act in the legislature and quickly passed first reading. As anticipated, Bill 11 is similar to legislation enacted in Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. 

Application of Bill 11

Bill 11 applies to 72 different organizations and entities, listed in Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 of the Bill. The organizations that will be subject to the legislation include all colleges governed under the Health Professions Act, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists, Alberta Institute of Agrologists, Law Society of Alberta, Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta, Real Estate Council of Alberta, and many other professional regulatory bodies. The legislation will also apply to certain Ministries that are responsible for assessing credentials of professionals and workers in some industries.

Key Features of Bill 11

While a full description of Bill 11 is beyond the scope of this article, some of the key features of Bill 11 are summarized below.

  • Regulatory bodies will be required to comply with the Fair Registration Practices Code, established in Part 1 of Bill 11. The Code imposes a general duty on regulatory bodies to carry out registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and procedurally fair.
  • Regulatory bodies will be required to provide information about eligibility for registration and its registration processes to applicants and potential applicants in a clear and understandable manner. Information that must be made available includes: requirements for registration, how to apply for registration, the length of time it usually takes to become registered, and any fees relating to registration.
  •  “Interim registration decisions” with respect to an application for registration must be made within 6 months of receiving the application and all information required by the regulatory body in respect of the application. “Interim decision” is defined in s.1(1)(g) as any decision to register an applicant subject to a condition that must be met within a specified time, or a decision to defer registration until a specified requirement has been met.
  •  “Registration decisions” must be made within a “reasonable period of time” that does not exceed the maximum time limit established in the Regulations. “Registration decision” is defined in s. 1(1)(l) as any decision to register an applicant without conditions, refuse to register an applicant or register an applicant subject to conditions (other than conditions imposed for a specific period of time).
  • There must be a process established for internal review or appeal of interim registration decisions and registration decisions.
  • Individuals or committees that are responsible for assessing qualifications must receive training regarding their role, special considerations that apply in the assessment of applications, and the conduct of hearings. If a regulatory body uses a third party to assess qualifications, the regulatory body must take reasonable measures to ensure that the third party receives appropriate training.
  • The Minister has very broad powers to review the registration and assessment practices of regulatory bodies, to make recommendations, and to conduct audits of registration practices and compliance with the Act. During an audit the Minister has broad authority to compel the production of information. While the Minister can conduct reviews and audits of registration and assessment practices, the Minister cannot become involved in an interim registration decision, registration decision, or internal review or appeal on behalf of an applicant.
  • The Minister has the authority to issue a compliance order requiring a professional regulatory body to comply with the Act or Regulations. The Minister must give the professional regulatory body notice and the opportunity to make written submissions before issuing an order. Regulatory bodies can seek judicial review of a compliance order within 30 days.
  • The Minister can establish a Fair Registration Practices Office to assist the Minister in fulfilling their duties under the Act.
  • Regulatory bodies must submit a report to the Minister in the form and with the content required.
  • Professional regulatory bodies have an obligation to cooperate with reviews and audits, and failure to cooperate constitutes an offence. Bill 11 establishes a number of other offences, including the failure to submit a report to the Minister when requested to do so, providing false or misleading information in a report, or failing to comply with a compliance order. Individuals convicted of an offence may be subject to a maximum fine of $25,000 and corporations may be fined up to $50,000.
  • Bill 11 provides the Lieutenant Governor in Council with broad authority to make Regulations. Some of the key elements of the legislation will be set out in the Regulation, including the maximum time period for issuing a Registration Decision, the training that decision-makers must receive before assessing qualifications of applicants, and audit standards and scope of audits.
  • Bill 21 also contains a paramountcy clause, which provides that if there is a conflict between Bill 11 and another enactment the provisions in Bill 11 will prevail.

On first reading, it appears that Bill 11 is substantially similar to Schedule 2 of Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (which applies to all health regulators) and Ontario’s Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act (which applies to non-health regulators).

Impact of Bill 11

Bill 11 was introduced in the legislature eight months after the Government introduced Bill 21, which was proclaimed in force in November of 2018. Bill 21 introduced sweeping changes to the Health Professions Act, providing for more oversight and direction regarding how health regulatory colleges must address complaints of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct against patients. Bill 11 is another example of meta-regulation in the province of Alberta, with Government imposing increased regulatory requirements on professional regulatory bodies, and a further layer of oversight.

Once again, the actions of professional regulatory bodies will be under increased scrutiny. Regulators can no simply longer state that their registration practices are transparent, objective, impartial and procedurally fair, but will have to prove it.

Meeting these standards will present challenges for all professional regulatory bodies, which will need to deploy appropriate resources to review their registration practices, and determine where their practices may be falling short and what changes may be required. In addition, once the legislation is proclaimed, professional regulatory bodies will be required to participate in reviews and audits, to implement changes depending on the outcome of the review or audit, and to comply with additional reporting requirements.

As a result of these changes, professional regulatory bodies may need to shift their priorities and re-deploy existing resources in order to be able to meet their obligations.

Coming into Force

The Fair Registration Practices Act will come into force on proclamation. While the date of proclamation is currently unknown, Government must enact Regulations and the Fair Registration Practices Office must be set up before the legislation can be enacted. While it is unclear how quickly Government intends to move, we would expect regulatory bodies to be given some notice before the legislation is proclaimed in force.

What Can Regulatory Bodies Do To Get Ready?

Given that the focus of Bill 11 is on ensuring that registration processes are fair, object and transparent, professional regulatory bodies should spend some time conducting an internal assessment of their practices in order to identify priority areas where changes may need to be implemented.

Since Bill 11 is modelled on the Ontario legislation, professional regulatory organizations in Alberta may want to spend some time looking at the Ontario Fairness Commissioner’s website. The OFC publishes a significant amount of information that may be valuable to regulators, including a Registration Practices Assessment Guide and a publication entitled Conducting Entry to Practice Reviews: Guide for Ontario’s Regulatory Bodies.

Professional regulatory bodies should also look for opportunities to provide meaningful input to Government on the content of the Regulation, given that many requirements and obligations will be established in the Regulation, rather than the Act.

Save the Date

Field Law will be hosting a complimentary workshop at noon on Monday, September 16 to assist professional regulatory bodies in understanding Bill 11, their obligations, and how they can take steps towards implementing registration practices that are transparent, objective and fair. Check back for details or subscribe to our alerts to receive more information.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions