The College of Applied Biologists (the College) is a professional regulatory body that has been granted authority and responsibilities by the Government of British Columbia under the Professional Governance Act (PGA), the PGA Regulation and the Applied Biologists Regulation. The Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) is authorized under the PGA to regulate several professional regulatory bodies including the College. The College has authority via the PGA to register and regulate applied biology professionals who work with and in the natural resource sectors and to enforce the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, Title Rights and as of September 1, 2022 Reserved Practice Rights1.
Collection of Personal Information
The College has authority under the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) section 26 (c) and the PGA section 31(3) to collect personal information of 1) an individual applying to be a registrant of the College and 2) a registrant of the College.
The Purpose for Collection of Personal Information
The College in meeting its mandate, to protect the public interest, has specific requirements that must be met. This includes the collection of personal information to validate an applicant or a registrant’s identity. The College collects and stores personal information to:
- Ensure to the best of the College’s knowledge that our public register includes accurate information regarding registrants;
- To protect access of an applicant’s or registrant’s profile account and personal information;
- To safeguard a registrant against potential professional impersonation attempts; and
- To confirm the registration of a College registrant2 to another entity(ies) (e.g., regulatory bodies, identity verification organizations).
The College understands and respects concerns regarding the collection of personal information from registrants and applicants and takes its responsibility regarding the collection and retention of people’s person information very seriously and complies with federal and provincial legal requirements including numerous safeguards for the collection and storage of data.
Some of the personal information that the College is collecting from its registrants is required to meet our mandate and have a current, informative register3 that is accessible to the public.
This includes the following information for each registrant of the College:
- Name and whether that person is a current or former registrant
- The category, subcategory, or class of registrant (e.g., Registered Biology Technologist)
- Area(s) of practice
- City and/or region they are located in4
- Business contact information
- Limits or conditions imposed on the regulated practice • Any notation(s) for cancellations/removal or suspensions • Any disciplinary notations
The register is hosted on the College’s website however, the personal information that populates the register is hosted on the College’s Registrant Portal.
The College’s Registrant Portal (aka registrant database) where an applicant’s or registrant’s personal information is collected and stored has the following in place:
- Is not hosted on the College’s or any other website.
- Follows industry best practices.
- Is implemented using popular and well tested libraries.
- All hosting, data, and file storage is in Canada with a SOC2 and SOC3 certified (for security and legal purposes) organization.
- Remote access to the server and database is restricted to only the developers that require access and require security measure for access.
- All portal traffic (including uploads) is encrypted when its being uploaded.
- Identity verification (IDV) information access in the portal is restricted to the specific registrant account and College staff that require access.
- Data related to an IDV (name, date of birth) is encrypted again when it is stored in the portal.
- The attachment for the IDV is encrypted when it is stored in the portal on the server.
- The above also applies to other data (e.g., address, phone number) that is stored in the portal.
Although implementation of the identity verification requirement is a new process for the College, we are not alone. Many other professional regulatory bodies currently require their registrants to provide similar information and have for quite some time. The College is at the beginning of identity verification implementation and over the coming years there may be changes required to the information provided. Questions regarding the collection of personal information are to be sent to the Executive Operations-Communications Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 The Applied Biologists Regulation lists protected titles and defines the reserved and regulated practice of applied biology
2 The College only fulfills verification requests of a registrant from a third party if the registrant confirms they have agreed to the release of the information. These requests ask for information that is not available on the public register
3 Professional Governance Act (PGA) and Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance
4 There is an exception in instances where registrant safety is an issue