"Agrology is applying science to agriculture and the environment."
- Feed the world
- Boost the Economy
- Protect the Environment
Agrology practice in Canada is a profession of registered practitioners empowered by provincial legislation and is self-governed (independent of direct government involvement). In most Canadian provinces, Agrology practice is a fully regulated profession, similar to accountants, geoscientists, engineers, foresters and veterinarians. However, in Ontario, registration as a publically accountable Agrology practitioner is voluntary. In other words, qualification assurance is voluntary within Agrology practice. A registered OIA practitioner has been assessed as possessing a recognized degree or college diploma and they have proved they know how to apply their professional knowledge. Further, registered Agrologists are required to engage in documented continuous professional development (on-going learning) and follow national standards of practice excellence under a provincial Act. OIA registered members are proven professionals in agriculture, bioresources, food, agri-business and the environment.
The role of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists is to ensure registered Professional Agrologists (P.Ag.), Technical Agrologists (T.Ag.), as well as those Articling Agrologists in training (A.Ag.), are qualified, competent, and engage in continuous professional development and on-going learning in order to meet national competency standards. Achieving national standards of qualification assurance ensures federal labour mobility requirements are achieved.
Objectives of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists
As outlined in Bill Pr15, An Act Respecting the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists, 2013, the principle object of the Institute is to “promote and protect the public interest by governing and regulating the practice of its members in the field of professional agrology”. In meeting this principle object the OIA serves the public interest by establishing, maintaining, developing and enforcing:
- Standards of qualification for its members;
- Standards of practice;
- A code of ethics;
- Knowledge, skill and proficiency; and
- Professional conduct of its members.
Further, through registration of accredited practitioners the OIA serves to enhance the practice of professional Agrology in the Province and contributes to inter-professional collaboration with other professional bodies.
In the protection of public interest the OIA will not hesitate to act on any complaint where the proficiency and competency of a registered member practitioner has come into question. The OIA has no jurisdiction in terms of the ethics, standards of practice or qualifications to practice of those who are not members of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists.
History of the Institute
Since 1960, the Ontario Institute of Agrologists (OIA) has been comprised of designated professionals in agriculture/agrology practice. The OIA has always served the public interest under a provincial Act. Whether educated in Canada or abroad, the Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) and Technical Agrologist (T.Ag.) designations are held by approximately 10,000 publically accountable registered professional practitioners across Canada. The OIA is not a school, university or college. Principle funding for the OIA is member-fee based. There is an Institute of Agrology in every Canadian province. An agreement between all provincial Agrology institutes facilitates labour mobility between provinces of registered/licensed practitioners.
Working to establish the highest standards for registered Agrology professionals, efforts are directed by those who meet competency practice standards to ensure that the public has complete trust in the health and safety of Ontario’s agriculture, agri-food, agri-environmental and agri-life science sectors. OIA members are employed by educational institutions, private industry, government and non-governmental agencies, and many are self-employed. As examples, registered OIA practitioners are found in lending institutions, providing advice to farmers, in communications and financial roles, in the fertilizer and seed business, food processing plants, on farm operations, in turf management and golf course operations, leading agricultural organizations and corporate boardrooms.
For over 50 years, the OIA has served its mission statement - to protect the public by registering and safe guarding the competence of qualified practitioners and to build public confidence through qualification assurance in Ontario’s agriculture, agri-food, and agri-business sector. The Ontario Institute of Agrologists advances the professionalism of Agrologists serving society. This is achieved through registered member adherence to a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, rigourous competency and educational requirements to join the profession, on-going continuous learning and competency enhancement requirements, as well as through public accountability.
With its 2013 provincial Act proclaimed the OIA continues to define the role of registered and publically accountable Agrology practitioners and the vital importance of the Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) and Technical Agrologist (T.Ag.) designations in today's society.
Why Choose a Designated Professional?
Choosing the Right Advisor for Your
Types of OIA Registered Agrologists
There are two agriculture/agrology designations you should look for to ensure that you receive superior expertise, strategic advice and quality products.
P.Ag. (Professional Agrologist)
This is a professional practitioner registered to practice Agrology under Bill Pr15, An Act Respecting the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists, 2013. Registered P.Ag.s apply professional standards to all their services associated with the agriculture, agri-food and agri-business sector in Ontario.
Educational requirements include an Honours (4-year) Undergraduate, Masters degree or a Ph.D. in agriculture or related science or management from an accredited Canadian University. International education must be accredited as Canadian equivalent by an external accreditation body. Registered P.Ag.s have completed agrologist-in-training requirements.
T.Ag. (Technical Agrologist)
This is a professional practitioner registered to practice Agrology under Bill Pr15, An Act Respecting the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists, 2013. Registered T.Ag.s apply professional standards to all their services associated with the agriculture, agri-food and agri-business sector in Ontario.
T.Ag.s differ in educational background in that they possess a specialized diploma (2-year) or degree (less than 4-year) in Agrology or related science from an accredited Canadian college or university. International education must be accredited as Canadian equivalent by an external accreditation body. Registered T.Ag.s have completed agrologist-in-training requirements.
Accountability of OIA Registered Agrologists
It is only through the OIA’s legislative Act that you may file a public complaint regarding the conduct, service or advice provided by an OIA registered professional Agrology practitioner. The OIA does not have the ability to ensure public accountability, continuous professional development or ethical standards of practice of those who are not registered with the Ontario Institute of Agrologists.
Do not confuse an “agricultural specialist”, an “agronomist” or any other agricultural association affiliation with those who are OIA registered practitioners. Not everyone can meet the national competency to practice standards associated with an OIA accreditation or are willing to put themselves to the level of public accountability here in Ontario that exists through mandatory licensure in most of Canada.
Responsibilities of OIA Registered Agrologists
- Maintain superior standards of competence, integrity and ethics in the agricultural profession;
- Speak out on agricultural issues through reports, meetings and media contacts;
- Consult with government, agri-business and other Agrologists based on the strength of holding a license to practice agrology;
- Reach out to assist and collaborate with other groups for the betterment of agriculture and society;
- Abide by the OIA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice;
- Mentor an Articling Agrologist; and
- Contribute to the image of Professional Agrologists as vital components of the Ontario agri-food, agri-life science, agri-business and agriculture sector.
In addition, requirements must be met to maintain licensure. Only licensed agrology practitioners are required to maintain their commitment to ethical practice standards and document continuous competence enhancement with the OIA.
Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice
of OIA Registered Agrologists
Professional Agrologists (P.Ag.s) and Technological Agrologists (T.Ag.s) are committed to:
- Being guided by sound moral principle and personal independence in their conduct and associations;
- Carrying on their professional work following due diligence and in a courteous manner;
- Providing competent and responsible service on behalf of employer, clientele, and the community at large;
- Practicing only those fields of professional Agrology in which they are qualified;
- Being cooperative and supportive in relations with colleagues;
- Developing and continually upgrading their professional competence; and
- Supporting activities for advancing professional and competent practice in Ontario.
Code of Ethics
Standards of Practice
Areas of Practice
Registered Agrology practitioners apply scientific principles to provide expertise and advice to the agriculture, agri-food and agri-environmental sector and contribute to the health of society, environment and economy. Professional Agrologists (P.Ag.s) and Technical Agrologists (T.Ag.s) are registered professional people that provide expert and accountable advice in:
- Crop development & production management;
- Livestock production & development;
- Health & nutritional products (food safety);
- Soil science;
- Plant science;
- Agri-environment & ecology;
- Bio fuels, fibre & energy;
- Biosystems engineering;
- Ag economics & trade;
- Irrigation planning; and
- Soil & land conservation & reclamation.
Scopes of Practice
OIA registered Agrologists address many of today's critical issues in production agriculture, food safety, agri-business and environmental quality. They run the gambit of farm to fork and influence rural economic development and the health of Ontarians. In a registered profession, individuals are responsible and liable for the things they say and the advice they give and take accountability for decisions made or recommended. Members of the OIA who form the profession of Agrology are governed by a code of conduct and incompetent practice is not acceptable. Ethics in practice is more than signing a declaration; it involves course work and documented learnings to demonstrate current competence.
Currently, there is a growing need for greater liability and accountability within the agricultural and environmental science industries. This is placing greater demand for more registered practitioners with the P.Ag. and T.Ag. qualification assurance designations.