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Registration Practices Assessment Report — Summary

ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO LAND SURVEYORS (AOLS)

Registration Practices Assessment Report — Revised Summary
ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO LAND SURVEYORS (AOLS)

Introduction

In January 2012, Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner assessed the way the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors   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 Ontario Land Surveyors 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.

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Commendable Practices

The Association of Ontario Land Surveyors (AOLS) 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.)

Assessment of Qualifications

  • In 2009, the AOLS studied alternative licensing pathways for internationally educated professionals. As a result, the AOLS developed a competency-based assessment process. (Competencies are the skills and knowledge needed to practise the profession.) Detailed competency listings were developed for each of the knowledge/skill areas required to become an Ontario land surveyor. The AOLS began using the new method in 2010, believes it is current and valid, and will forward any changes to competencies to the Academic and Experience Requirements Committee (AERC) for its approval.
    Note: The competency-based process is intended to eventually replace the existing course-based evaluation process. For now, both processes are available.

    The competency-based approach provides internationally trained professionals with the following benefits:
    • These professionals can use a web-based self-assessment tool to perform their own self-evaluation before they immigrate to Canada.
    • Third-party qualifications assessors (university professors) can use the applicant's competencies to design learning contracts (between the applicant and the AOLS) that will allow the applicant to concentrate on acquiring only specific missing competencies, rather than having to take full university courses that duplicate training that the applicant has already completed elsewhere.
    • Applicants can save considerable time and expense by completing missing competencies through self-study, online course modules, assignments and other projects.

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Recommendations

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

Status
  • Make the following changes to the AOLS website:
 
  • In the Careers/Membership section, add a plain-language version of AOLS’s registration criteria and requirements. [Required; Good]
Checked
November 2013
  • In the Careers/Membership section, add information about the new competency-based alternative method for evaluating candidates. [Required; Good]
Checked
April 2014
  • In the Careers/Membership section, add information about a new exemption that will allow the AOLS to waive the articling requirement for a licensed surveyor from another jurisdiction. [Good]
Checked
April 2014
  • In the Careers/Membership section, add information on the role of qualifications assessors in the new competency-based assessment approach. [Required]
Checked
April 2014
  • Add information explaining the following, to allow potential applicants to begin the registration process from outside Canada: new registration requirements; registration criteria and processes; online application; online application evaluation; and the online Survey Law course. [Good]
 
  • Move the fee schedule to the Careers/Membership section. [Required; Good]
Checked
April 2014
  • Add information about qualifications assessment and other registration timelines. [Required; Good]
Checked
April 2014
  • In the Careers/Membership section, add information about appeals processes. [Required]
 
  • In the Careers/Membership section, add a statement about the accommodation of special needs. [Required]
 
  • Add information about qualifications assessment methods used by the AOLS. [Good]
Checked
April 2014
  • Include all information related to the AOLS’s document retention policy. [Good]
 
  • Move the student handbook to the Careers/Membership section. [Good]
Checked
April 2014
  • Add a downloadable version of the application for general membership. [Good]
Checked
April 2014
  • In the Careers/Membership section, add the membership information document (“How to Become a Member”). [Good]
 

Assessment of Qualifications

 
  • Set up a process where the AERC and the qualifications assessors periodically review the new alternative competency-based assessment process for objectivity, validity and reliability. (This process is very new, and has not been reviewed yet.) [Required]
Checked
July 2013

Training

 
  • Identify training opportunities for individuals who assess qualifications, make registration decisions, make internal review and appeal decisions, or apply any special considerations in the assessment of applicants. [Required; Good]
Checked
May 2013
  • Identify training opportunities for staff members in the areas of anti-discrimination, cultural diversity, and the objectives of FARPA. [Good]
 

Access to Records

 
  • Provide policy information related to all aspects of applicants’ access to records on the AOLS website. For example, AOLS provides applicants with access to their records on written request, but this information is not on the website. [Good]
 

Fairness

 
  • Implement the following recommendations from the AOLS’s Entry-to-Practice Review report (March 2011):
 
  • Review the work report requirements and the field note assignment. [Good]
Checked
January 2014
  • Develop a policy statement on the relationship and obligations between supervising surveyors and articling students. [Good]
Checked
April 2014
  • On the website, clearly explain the rationale for the Ontario experience requirement. [Good]
 
Blank = Implementation is in progress.
Checked = Recommendation is implemented.
Acceptable alternative = Regulator implements acceptable alternative to this recommendation.

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