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A video about the OFC, its role in Ontario, and how it affects Ontario's professionals (September 2011).

Video Transcript

Narrator: The Office of the Fairness Commissioner of Ontario opened its doors in 2007. The role of the office is to make sure that everyone who is qualified to practise in a profession that is regulated in Ontario, in medicine, teaching or accounting for example, can get a licence to practice here.

The need to create a body like the office arose because some professionals - those who were trained outside Ontario - were encountering obstacles at some regulatory bodies.

Applicant: “I think just getting my head around who to go to, for what and how the whole process worked was what was most difficult for me. ”

Applicant: “The process of getting approved, certified, in Canada is not straight forward.”

Applicant: “It should be quicker.”

Applicant: “There was nothing objective about it.”

Applicant: “Why?”

Narrator: The office oversees regulatory bodies to make sure their licensing is transparent, objective, impartial and fair. The office was set up under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act. Its goal is straight forward. It is to make sure that a qualified person who wants to practise a profession in Ontario can get a licence to do so.

The Commissioner and her staff help regulatory bodies implement positive change. They work with each one to pin point where it needs to take action.

Hon. Jean Augustine, PC, CM, Fairness Commissioner: “We think that there are systemic things that built into the way people have been doing business, as it were. And what we’re asking for, as the legislation calls on us to do, we’re asking that there be transparency, there be openness. And an individual approaching a regulatory body should have certain expectations, because they know before hand what is expected of them, what documents they need to have, what appeal processes there are in the body, what the cost would be.”

Narrator: Regulators have made improvements to streamline their processes, clarified their requirements, and removed hurdles.

Dr. Ian Bowmer, Medical Council of Canada: “The Fairness Commissioner has looked as us and the way that we do our business. So it has caused us to examine many of our processes.”

Salman Kureishy, Ryerson University: “Initially I think there was a perception that this fairness commission and its mandate would somehow dilute, these standards, would somehow lead to a process that is not as stringent. And now it has started changing, as I told you, because of the concrete changes. Perception has changed and I think to a large extent the Office of the Fairness Commissioner is responsible for that. I think that the work they have done, the reports that they have produced have helped.”

Nava Israel, Fusion Global Education: “So the fairness law really pushed the whole regulated realm of professions in Ontario years forward, which might have happened eventually, naturally but it would have taken so much longer than it does today.”

Elizabeth McIsaac, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council: “And so I am optimistic, in thinking change can happen, but I think we have to stay on it. I think we need to continue to be vigilant, to watch what’s happening and to encourage better practice.”

Narrator: Faster fair access to the professions is good for individual men and women. More highly skilled people will work to their full potential. It’s good for the vitality of the professions, and it boosts the economy of the province.

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