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Assessment of Registration Practices

2013–14 Assessment

In 2013–14, the Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) undertook its second cycle of assessments of the practices that Ontario’s regulatory bodies follow for licensing people to practise their professions in Ontario. These assessments are part of the OFC’s strategy for continuous improvement, designed to improve fair access to the professions for all qualified applicants.

These assessments targeted areas of weakness previously identified in 2011–12.

You may read more about the OFC’s 2013–14 assessments:

2011–12 Assessment

In 2011, the OFC embarked on the first comprehensive assessment of professional registration practices to be conducted in Canada.

The OFC completed 37 assessments. While the process found regulators to be generally working in good faith to adhere to their fair-access duties, it highlighted 12 key areas for further improvement and made wide-ranging recommendations.

Internationally trained applicants were struggling to take their place in Ontario professions. Applications and membership both climbed at slower rates for internationally trained applicants than for Ontario applicants. Internationally trained applicants experienced challenges with regard to recognition of international training and experience, as well as the length, cost and complexity of the registration process.

To read more about the 2011–12 assessment, see A Fair Way to Go: Access to Ontario’s Regulated Professions and the Need to Embrace Newcomers in the Global Economy.

Step 1
Assess

OFC assesses regulatory body's registration practices and produces draft assessment report. If regulatory body opts to self-assess for the general duty, it begins preparing a self-assessment submission addressing the general-duty obligations.

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Step 2
Review

Regulatory body reviews draft assessment report and, if required, finalizes self-assessment submission addressing the general duty (within 20 business days).

20 Days
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Step 3
Revise

OFC produces revised assessment report based on regulator's feedback and (if required) general-duty submission and sends revised draft to the regulator (within 20 business days).

20 Days

Step 4
Meet

Regulatory body has 20 business days to review the revised report before meeting with the OFC. The OFC and regulatory body meet to discuss assessment findings and, if required, recommendations and action plans.

20 Days
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Step 5
Finalize

OFC finalizes assessment report and shares it with regulatory body (within 10 business days).

10 Days
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Step 6
Action Plan

If OFC makes No Recommendations:

No Action Required

Checkmark

OR

60 Days

If OFC makes Recommendations:

Regulatory Body Develops an Action Plan
(within 60 business days).

OFC monitors implementation of the action plan as needed, and the regulatory body updates OFC on completed actions.

Step 1: OFC Initiates Assessment and Produces Draft Report

The OFC initiates the assessment process by informing the regulatory body that its registration practices will be assessed on the duties set out in the fair-access legislation.

The OFC assesses the regulatory body’s registration practices using the Registration Practices Assessment Guide — For Health Regulatory Colleges or the Registration Practices Assessment Guide — For Regulated Professions and Trades. (Due to the differences in FARPACTA and the RHPA, two separate guides were developed for the regulatory bodies subject to FARPACTA and the health regulatory colleges, which are all subject to the RHPA.)

The guides set out two types of practices: specific-duty practices and general-duty practices. A regulatory body must demonstrate the appropriate guide's specific-duty registration practices in order to meet the specific duties identified in the legislation.1 Registration practices listed in the guides’ general-duty sections2 are to be used as a guideline. They are examples or illustrations of the way that regulatory bodies can practically apply the principles of transparency, objectivity, impartiality and fairness.

Regulatory bodies’ ability to demonstrate the general duty varies according to resources, registration processes, each body’s own governing legislation, and other relevant statutes. As a result, each regulatory body itself chooses one of the three options below to demonstrate the general duty:

  1. Have the OFC assess whether the regulatory body demonstrates the practices listed in the general-duty section in the applicable assessment guide.
    or
  2. Conduct a self-assessment based on the practices listed in the general-duty section in the applicable assessment guide.
    or
  3. Conduct a self-assessment in which the regulatory body explains what it does to ensure that its practices are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.

The regulatory body informs the OFC about the option it has chosen.

The OFC consolidates the information it has about a regulatory body’s registration practices from the latest Fair Registration Practices Report and any other sources, such as Audit Reports, Entry-to-Practice Review Reports, discussions with the regulatory body, and the body’s website.

OFC staff members determine which of the practices the regulatory body is demonstrating and where there may be opportunities for improvement:

  • If the regulatory body chose to have the OFC assess its general-duty practices (option a, above), then OFC staff members complete a draft Registration Practices Assessment Report that covers both the specific-duty and general-duty sections of the applicable assessment guide.
  • If the regulatory body chose to self-assess for the general duty (options b and c, above), then OFC staff members complete a draft Registration Practices Assessment Report that covers only the specific-duty section of the applicable assessment guide.

The report includes a section that highlights commendable practices that are already in place or are underway. It also identifies areas needing improvement and suggests what can be done to improve.

OFC staff members send the draft assessment report to the regulatory body.

Step 2: Regulatory Body Reviews Draft Assessment Report and Responds

The regulatory body has 20 business days to review the draft assessment report before sending its comments to the OFC.

If the regulatory body chose to demonstrate the general duty via one of the two self-assessment options, it now gives its self-assessment submission to the OFC, along with its comments on the specific-duty section of the OFC’s draft assessment report.

Step 3: OFC Produces Revised Assessment Report

Within 20 business days, the OFC revises its assessment report based on the regulatory body’s feedback and, if the regulatory body provided a self-assessment submission for the general duty, incorporates details from the submission. The revised report contains the OFC’s findings and recommendations.

The OFC sends the revised report to the regulatory body.

Step 4: OFC and Regulatory Body Meet

The regulatory body has 20 business days to review the revised report before meeting with the OFC.

The OFC and the regulatory body meet to discuss the assessment findings and the feasibility of any recommendations for improvement. The meeting is also an opportunity to discuss next steps and possible actions for improvement.

Step 5: OFC Produces Final Assessment Report

Within 10 business days, the OFC finalizes the assessment report and shares it with the regulatory body.

  • If the OFC makes recommendations in the report, the OFC asks the regulatory body to develop an action plan to address these issues.
  • If the OFC does not make any recommendations, no action plan is required.

Step 6: Regulatory Body Develops Action Plan (if required)

If the OFC makes recommendations, the regulatory body develops an action plan and submits it to the OFC within 60 business days.

The OFC either:

  • approves the plan
  • or
  • requests changes to the plan, if it believes that the actions do not address the required practices or recommendations, or that the deadlines are inappropriate

If the OFC requests changes, the regulatory body has the opportunity to revise the action plan or show the OFC why the proposed actions or deadlines are adequate.

OFC Monitors Implementation

OFC staff members monitor the regulatory body’s implementation of the action plan, and the regulatory body updates the OFC on completed work. Some actions may take multiple years to implement.

If the regulatory body cannot complete an action in the plan, it contacts the OFC to discuss extending the deadline or modifying the planned action.

Ongoing Cycle

Three years after an assessment, the OFC consolidates any new information it has about the regulatory body’s registration practices and revises its assessment report.

The process described above starts again.

The OFC varies the scope of assessments for each cycle. It alternates full assessments with targeted assessments. While full assessments address all practices in the assessment guides, targeted assessments focus on selected areas of the specific and the general duties.

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  • 1.The specific duties are identified in FARPACTA s. 7–12 and RHPA Schedule 2, s. 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22.
  • 2.The general duty is identified in FARPACTA s. 6 and RHPA Schedule 2, s. 22.2.

February 2015