1.9. Regulatory colleges
The regulatory colleges, established by Ontario laws, come under provincial jurisdiction. Their role is to protect the public, to regulate the practice of the profession and govern the activity of members. Since they are self-managed, self-funded and therefore independent, they are not recognized as government agencies as defined in the Act. There is a legal debate on this point, though not before the courts at the moment, since many people, including the Commissioner, believe that the regulatory colleges are similar to an institution of the Legislature within the meaning of the Act.
The Commissioner’s Office receives complaints about regulatory colleges, both from the public and the members, as some face language-related challenges. When a dispute arises between a college and one of its members, it can cause a lot of headaches if an appeal and review board holds a hearing in French, for example. If the documents required for the investigation are available only in English from the college, it could have disastrous consequences for a member in good standing who is being investigated.
However, since the regulatory colleges’ responsibilities include protection of the public interest, Ontario’s lawmakers have imposed certain obligations with respect to French-language services, particularly for the colleges associated with the health professions.