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Registration Practices Assessment Report — Overview
ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF CERTIFIED ENGINEERING TECHNICIANS AND TECHNOLOGISTS (OACETT)

Introduction

In October 2013, Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) performed a targeted assessment of the way the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) registers people who apply for a licence to practise in Ontario, to ensure that the registration practices are fair and continue to improve.

Assessment is one of the Fairness Commissioner's mandated roles under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act (FARPACTA).

Assessment Cycle

To hold regulatory bodies accountable for continuous improvement, the OFC assesses their licensing practices using a two-year assessment cycle.

Assessment cycles alternate between full assessments and targeted assessments:

  • Full assessments address all specific and general duties described in FARPACTA.
  • Targeted assessments focus on the areas where the OFC made recommendations in the previous full assessment.

This approach establishes continuity between the assessment cycles.

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Focus of This Assessment and Report

The October 2013 targeted assessment of OACETT focused on the areas where the OFC made recommendations in the full assessment it completed in April 2012.

The OFC’s detailed report captures the results of the targeted assessment. The assessment summary provides the following key information from the detailed report:

  • duties that were assessed
  • an overview of assessment outcomes for specific-duty practices
  • an overview of comments related to the general duty
  • commendable practices
  • recommendations

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Availability of Report

The OFC encourages OACETT to provide the detailed report to its staff, council members, the public, and other interested parties.

To receive a copy of the detailed report, click here.

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Assessment Methods

Assessments are based on the Registration Practices Assessment Guide – For Regulated Professions and Trades. The guide presents registration practices relating to the specific duties and general duty in FARPACTA.

A regulatory body’s practices can be measured against FARPACTA’s specific duties in a straightforward way. However, the general duty is broad, and the principles it mentions (transparency, objectivity, impartiality and fairness) are not defined in the legislation.

As a result, the specific-duty and general-duty obligations are assessed differently (see the Strategy for Continuous Improvement of Registration Practices).

Specific Duties

The OFC can clearly determine whether a regulatory body demonstrates the specific-duty practices in the assessment guide. Therefore, for each specific-duty practice, the OFC provides one of the following assessment outcomes:

  • Demonstrated – all required elements of the practice are present or addressed
  • Partially Demonstrated – some but not all required elements are present or addressed
  • Not Demonstrated – none of the required elements are present or addressed
  • Not Applicable – this practice does not apply to this regulatory body

General Duty

Because there are many ways that a regulatory body can demonstrate that its practices, overall, are meeting the principles of the general duty, the OFC makes assessment comments for the general duty, rather than identifying assessment outcomes. For the same reason, assessment comments are made by principle, rather than by practice.

For information about the OFC’s interpretations of the general-duty principles and the practices that the OFC uses as a guideline for assessment, see the Registration Practices Assessment Guide – For Regulated Professions and Trades.

Commendable Practices and Recommendations

Where applicable, the OFC identifies commendable practices or recommendations for improvement related to the specific duties and general duty.

Sources

Assessment outcomes, comments, and commendable practices and recommendations are based on information provided by the regulatory body. The OFC relies on the accuracy of this information to produce the assessment report. The OFC compiles registration information from sources such as the following:

  • Fair Registration Practices Reports, audits, Entry-to-Practice Review Reports, annual meetings
  • the regulatory body’s:
    • website
    • policies, procedures, guidelines and related documentation templates for communication with applicants
    • regulations and bylaws
    • internal auditing and reporting mechanisms
    • third-party agreements and related monitoring or reporting documentation
    • qualifications assessments and related documentation
  • targeted questions/requests for evidence that the regulatory body demonstrates a practice or principle

For more information  about the assessment cycle, assessment process, and legislative obligations, see the Strategy for Continuous Improvement of Registration Practices.

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Assessment Summary

Specific Duties

Specific duties assessed

As a result of the recommendations made in the full assessment completed in April 2012, OACETT has been assessed in the area(s) marked below:

None Unchecked
Information for Applicants Checked
Timely Decisions, Responses and Reasons Unchecked
Internal Review or Appeal Unchecked
Information on Appeal Rights Unchecked
Documentation of Qualifications Unchecked
Assessment of Qualifications Checked
Training Checked
Access to Records Unchecked

Outcomes

OACETT has demonstrated all of the practices in the following specific-duty area(s):

  • Training

For practices that are partially demonstrated or not demonstrated, see the Recommendations section later in this summary.

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General Duty

Assessment Method

OACETT selected the method marked below for the assessing of its adherence to the general-duty principles, and informed the OFC:

a. OFC assesses based on the practices listed in the assessment guide Unchecked
b. Regulatory body self-assesses based on the practices in the assessment guide Checked
c. Regulatory body self-assesses using a system-based approach, in which it explains what it does to ensure that its practices are adhering to the general-duty principles Unchecked

Principles assessed

As a result of the recommendations made in the full assessment completed in April 2012, OACETT has been assessed on the principle(s) marked below:

None Unchecked
Transparency Checked
Objectivity Unchecked
Impartiality Checked
Fairness Unchecked

Comments

The OFC found that since the last assessment, OACETT has taken active measures to ensure transparency and impartiality. Recommendations for further improvement are listed below.

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Commendable Practices

A commendable practice is a program, activity or strategy that goes beyond the minimum standards set by the OFC assessment guides, considering the regulatory body’s resources and profession-specific or trade-specific context. Commendable practices may or may not have potential for transferability to another regulatory body.

OACETT is demonstrating commendable practices in the following area(s).

Information for Applicants

  • including on its website a reference table that lists all requirements for certification and acceptable alternatives for meeting each of these requirements
  • providing information in its application form about:
    • options that will be available to applicants if their academic training does not meet the requirements for certification
    • the reason for asking questions to confirm an applicant’s "good character"

Assessment of Qualifications

  • maintaining an updated database of academic programs that it has determined to be acceptable. This contributes to consistent and timely decision-making.
  • sending registration staff on information-gathering trips to large source countries to deepen their understanding of educational programs there
  • making its Professional Practice Study Manual available in an accessible electronic version for applicants with visual impairments. This resource helps applicants prepare for the Professional Practice Exam. 
  • offering both in-person and online seminars to help applicants prepare for the Professional Practice Exam. 

Transparency

  • providing answers, in the 2nd File Review Evaluation Troubleshooting Guide, to frequently asked questions about assessment results. Applicants can request a second file review at no charge if they disagree with the admissions committee’s assessment of their academic training and work experience. The troubleshooting guide helps them better understand the assessment process and make an informed decision about whether a second file review will be helpful in their case.
  • enabling applicants to check their progress towards certification online. The system allows applicants to view the results of their file review, Professional Practice Exam, and technology report.

Impartiality

  • holding decision-makers accountable. Admissions committee members and subject-matter experts are members of OACETT and are therefore bound by the profession’s code of ethics. Failure to abide by the code of ethics can result in action by the complaints committee.
  • asking members of the admissions committee to sign a contract letter that commits them to:
    • providing transparent, objective, impartial and fair reviews
    • respecting confidentiality and conflict-of-interest guidelines 
  • including internationally trained members on the OACETT board, committees and chapter executives. This allows these members opportunities for input and professional networking.

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Recommendations

OACETT should improve in the following areas.

Information for Applicants

Status
  • On the OACETT website, clarify the information about self-assessment and about prior learning assessment and recognition, in order to explain the relationship between these two processes. (Practice 1.2) 
Checked
September 2014

Assessment of Qualifications

 
  • Implement additional measures to ensure consistency in the assessment of technical exams and technology reports:
 
  • Provide all assessors with targeted training on the objectives of the fair-access legislation.
Checked
May 2014
  • Introduce a second review for all failed exams.
    (Practice 6.3)
Checked
February 2014
  • Provide applicants with more information about the criteria for assessing their work experience, and with specific guidelines on how job descriptions and resumés should be prepared. (Practice 6.8)
Checked
May 2015

Transparency

 
  • Ensure that the Institute of Engineering Technology of Ontario (IETO) Rules document is written in plain language, and ensure that all of the certification policies and criteria it contains are well-defined and unambiguous.
 
  • Provide additional information for applicants about how academic qualifications are assessed and about the minimum academic standard for certification.
 
  • Put a sample questionnaire for professional references on the OACETT website. This will enable applicants to know in advance what their references will be asked about.*
Checked
Summer 2013
  • Increase the visibility of information about self-assessment as an acceptable alternative for meeting academic requirements.
Checked
December 2013
  • Update the Employment Resources Fact Sheet to ensure that its content and contact information are up-to-date.
Checked
December 2013

Impartiality

 
  • Introduce more formal training for decision-makers on the principles of FARPACTA. Put timelines for refresher training in OACETT policies. 
Checked
May 2014
  • Enhance the content of admissions committee training. Add to the admissions committee manual material on ethics and conflict of interest from the Professional Practice study manual. This is important content for any committee members who have not written the exam and will serve as a refresher for those who have.
Checked
Fall 2013

* OACETT implemented all recommendations marked with an asterisk before the OFC completed its assessment.

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

Assessment History

In the previous assessment, the OFC identified 10 recommendations for this regulatory body.

They have all been implemented.

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