|This article does not cite any references or sources. (August 2008)|
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (February 2014)|
Professional agrologist (abbreviated P.Ag. or PAg) or agronome (abbreviated agr. in the Province of Québec) refers to members of the self-regulated agrology profession in Canada. A professional agrologist contributes to the prosperity of Canada’s agricultural industry by providing unbiased expertise. Professional agrologists are guided by a code of ethics to ensure that Canada’s agricultural and health products are of the utmost quality. They come from diverse fields such as agriculture business, animal science, food science, genetic engineering, and soil science and more recently, the broader environmental sciences, especially in Alberta and British Columbia. The P.Ag. (or agr.) is responsible for protecting the interest of the public by providing objective information based on science and economics within their area of expertise. Their purpose is also to enhance the quality of professional development for colleagues within the industry.
Becoming a professional agrologist
While the process varies slightly between provinces becoming a professional agrologist requires a formal education in agriculture followed by an articling process. The articling process lasts approximately two years and is meant to develop a better understanding of the rights, responsibilities and obligations of a professional agrologist or agronome. While working with a mentor the articling agrologist (A.Ag. or AAg) gains experience and opportunities that will help integrate them into the profession. After completing the articling period and being evaluated by their peers the title of P.Ag. is bestowed granting with it the rights and responsibilities of a professional agrologist or agronome. Professional agrologists and agronomes have a continuing commitment to professional development and constantly seek to improve upon their skills and education. Alberta has a new regulated member designation titled the "Registered Technologist in Agrology", (RTAg). Members with this title are graduates of 2 year college diploma programs and applied degree programs. Alberta now has mandatory registration if an individual practices agrology, is qualified to be a member and if professional advice is provided during that practice.
Internationally educated agrologists
Recently the Ontario Institute of Agrologists (OIA) in Guelph launched a new initiative to attract and develop international agrologists. Through this program, newcomers to Ontario or current residents with agricultural degrees (or their equivalent) from colleges, universities or other educational institutes abroad can receive assistance from the OIA and Ontario’s professional agrologists to become registered to practice the profession in Ontario. The program hopes to entice 300 new agrologists over the next 3 years to add to the critically important group of Professional Agrologists. This is the first program of its kind for agrologists in Canada, though similar programs exist for engineers, teachers and medical professionals.
Agrology is a self-regulated profession and each province has a Provincial Agrologist Act ("Loi sur les agronomes" in French and "Agrologists Act" in English in Québec) which defines the scope of the profession and the practice of agrology. The act also defines the qualifications required for the right to practice. There are approximately 10,000 professional agrologists and agronomes in Canada, registered in 10 provincial institutes of agrology. The provincial institutes of agrology are responsible for safeguarding the public interest by ensuring the competence of agrologists and agronomes, and their adherence to ethical behaviour in the practice of agrology. Where a member is identified either through complaint, or through practice audits and reviews to be deficient in their competence, practicing beyond their area of expertise, or unethical in their professional practice, the provincial institutes are charged with taking the appropriate steps to address the member's deficiency through either a conduct and discipline hearing, a practice review, or both. When either a conduct and discipline hearing or a practice review verifies a deficiency in the member's work or ethics, the provincial institute can impose stipulations on the member ranging from a retraction of the work in question to fines to expulsion from the institute. If the member's behaviour has resulted in financial, material, or other damage to a member of the public, compensation cannot be sought through the provincial institute and its disciplinary process. It must be sought through civil litigation.
General background information
Provincial institutes of agrology
- Alberta Institute of Agrologists
- British Columbia Institute of Agrologists
- Manitoba Institute of Agrologists
- New Brunswick Institute of Agrologists
- Newfoundland and Labrador Institutes of Agrologists
- Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists
- Ontario Institute of Agrologists
- Prince Edward Island Institute of Agrologists
- Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists
- l'Ordre des Agronomes du Québec