The OFC will implement its Risk-informed Compliance Framework on a provisional basis on or about April 1, 2021. In the first year of operation, the assessment of a regulator’s risk category will be based predominantly on historical performance. The regulator will then be placed in a provisional risk category. The OFC will inform the regulator of the risk category in which it has been placed.
In addition, the assessment will rely more on qualitative analysis in the early stage of the transition period until more precise and quantitative measures are developed and validated.
During the transition period, the OFC will work with regulators towards implementing any outstanding compliance recommendations from the previous OFC assessment cycle, and to obtain information from the regulator on how the risk factors apply to them.
Towards the end of the transition period, the OFC Compliance Analyst assigned to the regulator will re-assess the risk categorization, in discussion with the regulator, taking into account the extent to which the regulator has made progress in implementing any outstanding compliance recommendations.
At its discretion, the OFC may extend the transition period by a maximum of six months if it concludes that the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have materially impacted the ability of the regulator to align its risk mitigation processes and migrate to the new compliance framework.
Appendix 1: OFC Compliance Tools
This section briefly describes each of the OFC’s compliance tools and the circumstances in which it may be used.
1. Advice and Promotion of Fair Registration Best Practices
This tool incorporates a range of actions designed to promote compliance through education, advice, guidance and promotion of fair registration best practices. It is an appropriate tool to apply for all regulators and the OFC’s focus will depend on observed gaps in the regulator’s processes.
2. Completion and Submission of Reports
Pursuant to section 20 of FARPACTA, and section 22.7 of Schedule 2 to the RHPA, regulators are required to prepare and submit to the OFC a fair registration practices report annually or at such other times as the Fairness Commissioner may specify. As part of this obligation, the OFC asks that this report contain information on:
- The current size of the membership of the profession, college or compulsory trade,
- The number of total applicants,
- The number of internationally trained applicants,
- A demographics breakdown of both members and applicants (e.g., by gender and country of origin).
The OFC may seek additional information from regulators on a case-by-case basis according to their risk categories.
3. Meetings with Regulators
OFC staff will schedule regular meetings with regulators, the frequency of which will depend on the regulator’s risk category. These meetings will constitute a platform to exchange information and for regulators in the low and moderately low risk categories to provide updates and share information, as well as innovative fair registration best practices. For regulators in the moderate to high risk category, the meetings will serve as compliance forums to address and resolve ongoing and/or persistent fair access issues.
4. Compliance Action Plan
The compliance action plan is a tool reserved for regulators in the moderate to high risk category. The OFC and regulator will use this tool to track how a regulator is addressing, and making progress on, compliance issues that the OFC has identified for further action. While the OFC will work with the regulator to develop a mutually agreed upon compliance plan, it will also have the discretion to formulate this document on a unilateral basis.
5. Letter from the Fairness Commissioner to the CEO/Registrar, Board of Directors and/or Responsible Minister
If the regulator does not institute corrective actions, or show meaningful progress against stated objectives, the Fairness Commissioner may choose to write to senior officials within the organization and/or the responsible minister to outline his or her concerns. This approach would typically be reserved for regulators in the moderate to high risk category.
6. Publicizing non-compliance issues /opportunities for improvement (annual report or other publications)
If the compliance tools described above do not produce effective results, and the compliance issues persist, the OFC may choose to publicize its ongoing concerns regarding the regulator’s registration practices, through a variety of media, such as the OFC’s website, annual report and other publications.
The OFC will only use this compliance tool for regulators in the moderate to high risk category and provide prior notice of this action.
7. Review of Registration Practices
Under section 19 of FARPACTA, and section 22.6 of Schedule 2 to the RHPA, the OFC may also require that a regulator undertake a review of its registration practices to ensure that these practices are transparent, objective, impartial and fair. The OFC may mandate this review, on a case-by-case basis. While this report is required to canvass issues relating to the relevance or necessity of registration requirements, the timeliness of decision-making and the reasonableness of fees, the OFC can specify additional issues for review.
Section 13(3)(a) of FARPACTA and section 22.5(1)(a) indicate that it is the function of the Fairness Commissioner to assess the registration practices of regulators based on their obligations under the statute and regulations. The assessment process is a compliance tool that the OFC may use for regulators in the moderate to high risk category. The OFC will conduct an assessment of a regulator’s registration practices to determine the regulator’s level of compliance. It will involve a review of relevant information to assess the extent to which the regulator is complying with its legal obligations and to develop informed conclusions on the appropriate corrective actions that the regulator should be taking.
The audit process is analogous to an independent investigation that is conducted by a third party that the OFC approves. It will typically involve a defined and targeted review of material and persistent deficiencies in a regulator’s registration processes. The audit is expected to yield a report with findings and recommendations. Under section 21(2) of FARPACTA and section 22.8(2) of Schedule 2 to the RHPA, the cost of the audit is borne by the regulator and the final report must filed with the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development for regulated professions and trades, and the Minister of Health for the health colleges.
Given the significant nature of the audit authority, the OFC will employ this tool sparingly and only where the circumstances so warrant. This tool is an available option for regulators in the moderate to high risk category.
10. Compliance Order
If the Fairness Commissioner concludes that a regulated profession has contravened either the specific duties (Part III) and/or reporting obligations (Part VI) enumerated in FARPACTA, a compliance order may be issued against the regulator. The order may contain any actions that the Fairness Commissioner deems appropriate for the regulator to do, or to refrain from doing, in order to comply with the legislation.
FARPACTA outlines a specific process for issuing an order. This authority is not conferred to the Fairness Commissioner under Schedule 2 to the RHPA.