By Jason Penner, Policy Analyst, Ministry of Agriculture
The Agrologists Act, 1994 (Act) provides the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists (SIA) the mandate and authority to regulate the profession of agrology in Saskatchewan. Amendments to the Act received Royal Assent from Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, on December 7, 2017, and came into force on January 1, 2018.
In 1946, the Government of Saskatchewan passed The Agrologists Act, 1946 to establish the second institute of agrology in Canada. The Act was last updated in 1994 and the profession of agrology has evolved. The SIA, in consultation with its membership, identified several amendments to modernize the Act to reflect the current practise of agrology and to improve the administration of the Institute.
The Government of Saskatchewan, in conjunction with the SIA, consulted with stakeholders and received general support for the proposed amendments. Stakeholders included the top employers of agrologists, educational institutions, other provincial institutes of agrology, other government ministries and agencies, and other provinces.
Key amendments include broadening the definition of “practise agrology” to reflect the fact that agrologists are working in areas related to bioresources and the environment and hold degrees granted by agricultural post-secondary institutions that go beyond training in primary agriculture.
Educational requirements for becoming a member of the SIA were also expanded. The SIA now has more discretion regarding the academic qualifications that are recognized and can register persons with less than a four-year degree (e.g. diploma graduates) to practise independently with a restricted licence. The restricted licence also supports interprovincial labour mobility as diploma graduates in agriculture are allowed to independently practise agrology with a restricted licence in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.
There were also changes to SIA council. A second Public Appointee position was added to distribute the workload. The Dean of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan can now nominate and individual to sit on council on their behalf. Also, as the SIA regularly reports to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture was removed from council.
The amendments also allow the SIA to enact administrative bylaws for purposes outside those previously listed in the Act, and professional engineers, geoscientists and forestry workers are exempted from the “right to practise” provisions of the Act, as there are some areas of overlap between agrologists and these professions.
Overall, amendments to the Act will ensure it remains relevant to the current practise of agrology in Saskatchewan, support labour mobility across Canada and ensure the public continues to be protected in matters related to agrology.