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Registration Practices Assessment Report — Summary




In November 2011, Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner assessed the way the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario   registers people who apply for a licence to practise in Ontario, to ensure that the registration practices are fair and continue to improve.  

This summary of the assessment includes commendable practices that are under way and recommendations for improvement.

The Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario is subject to Ontario's fair access law, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006 (FARPA). The law spells out the association's obligation to have transparent, objective, impartial and fair registration methods and requirements.

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner

To encourage accountability under the fair access law, the Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) works with professions’ regulatory bodies to improve the way they register people who apply for professional licences. As a result of the OFC’s work, qualified people, no matter where they were originally trained, will have faster, fairer access to their licence to practise here.

In its work with regulators so far, the OFC has found that they have succeeded in streamlining their registration processes, but they need to do more. For example, regulators need to be more transparent and hold their assessment agencies more accountable for fairness.

To encourage, and hold regulators accountable for, continuous improvement, the OFC assesses their licensing practices in a two-year cycle. This cycle includes recommending improvements where needed and monitoring the bodies’ action plans that address the OFC’s concerns. This approach benefits applicants, the professions and the province.

You can read more about the OFC’s strategy for continuous improvement and its guide for assessments elsewhere on this site.

For more information about this particular assessment, contact the OFC.

Note: The words license, register and certify all refer to authorizing a person to practise a profession.


Commendable Practices

The Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (APGO) is demonstrating many commendable practices, in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation.)

Information for Applicants

  • The APGO website contains all the information that a potential applicant needs in order to register in the profession. The information is thorough and detailed, and applicants can download all application materials and apply online. The APGO also gives applicants the document, Guideline to Registration, which includes the minimum requirements for knowledge and work experience, and the acceptable criteria for both.
  • Most of the APGO’s registration processes can be completed online anywhere in the world. Internationally trained applicants and geoscientist-in-training applicants can download applications and register online. The APGO also provides online self-assessment tools for minimum knowledge requirements and work experience requirements. Links to World Education Services are provided for the assessment of the equivalency of an applicant’s academic qualifications to the APGO’s academic requirements.
  • The APGO has made commendable efforts to ensure that a number of the recommendations made by the OFC during the annual meeting were addressed before the OFC finalized its assessment. The APGO has provided some information in French, and more information on the accommodation of special needs, on timelines for processing applications, and about documentation and training.



The OFC recommends improvements in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation. Recommendations marked "Required" correspond to the practices regulators must demonstrate in order to meet the specific duties in the legislation. Recommendations marked "Good" correspond to the practices the OFC encourages a regulatory body to adopt in order to meet the general duty to provide registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.)

Information for Applicants

  • Place information about requirements that are subject to exemptions in the Guideline to Registration document on the APGO website. [Good]

June 2013
  • Expand information on the website about the estimated time for each stage of the application process that is under the APGO’s control, to enable applicants to plan better. [Good]

July 2012

Access to Records

  • Develop a policy and process for retaining and removing files and documents. Include in the policy a plan for communicating this information to applicants. [Good]

February 2013
Blank = Implementation is in progress.
= Recommendation is implemented.
Acceptable alternative = Regulator implements acceptable alternative to this recommendation.