New agrology definition allows more to practice in area of expertise

Legislation governing professional agrologists in Saskatchewan has been updated to better reflect what they do, according to the president of the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists.

Blair McClinton said amendments introduced and passed in the recent legislative session bring Saskatchewan in line with other provinces. The SIA has been advocating for the changes.

“The industry has changed significantly since 1994 when the last legislation was brought forward,” he said.

“The areas of practice that our members are in have evolved over time and are a much broader scope of practice than what we’ve had.”

For example, more agrologists are working in the areas of bioresources and the environment.

“The proposed new definition of the practice of agrology would allow more qualified persons to deliver services under the Sask-atchewan Environmental Code,” Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said during second reading debate.

The amendments change the membership requirement from a four-year degree to an equivalent in agriculture or bioresources and give the SIA discretion to recognize certain programs.

Previously, those with less than a four-year degree had to practice with supervision as agricultural technologists.

“The big change for us is that we have a number of members who are agricultural technologists who under our current legislation are not allowed to practice independently,” McClinton said before the bill’s passing.

“We think that’s quite restrictive, and in other provinces the people with diplomas are allowed to practice with restricted licences in their areas of expertise.”

He said this would aid with labour mobility.

The amendments updated a number of other measures, including allowing the SIA to enact administrative bylaws. Stewart said there is no need for the provincial legislature to have that power.

The organization will also be able to legally use email for communication.

“Currently the act requires that the SIA conduct all official communication to its members through the mail,” Stewart said. “It’s time to bring the act into the digital age.”

The province has regulated the agrology profession since 1946.

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