College of Applied Biology

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the College having these workshops?

The College of Applied Biology is embarking on a set of meetings and workshops to define the scope of practices for applied biology professionals.  This is to prepare the College for the next steps in granting right to practice to applied biology professionals in regulation under the Professional Governance Act

Why? What is changing?

Currently, applied biology professionals registered with the College have “right to title” i.e., members of the College have the exclusive right to use the titles of RPBio or RBTech or ABT in their practice, depending on their membership category.  A person who is not registered with the College can practice in the field of applied biology, providing similar services, but they are not able to use these titles.   

Why is Right to Practice an improvement?

With right to title, there is no way to regulate people who are not registered with the College from engaging in services and activities in applied biology that could present a risk to public safety, resources or the public interest. 

Once applied biology professionals are granted right to practice through regulation, a person will have to be registered with the College to practice applied biology in BC. This will ensure that all people providing professional services in applied biology will meet requirements for training and education and will be accountable for their activities and outputs.

Is this a significant change?

This move to right to practice is huge for the College and we are preparing now for discussions with government to define right to practice in regulation.  We are working to clearly define the scope of practice for applied biology professionals and to identify areas of exclusive practice and where there are overlaps with the work of other professionals, including foresters, agrologists, engineers and geoscientists. 

Where are these discussions happening?

These discussions are happening at the executive level within the professional associations and within the College Council.  The College is also preparing with these workshops to take this dialogue out into the broader community of practicing professionals. 

A clear definition of scope of practice is important to ensure smooth implementation of right to practice for all professional associations who have been granted right to practice under the Professional Governance Act.  It is also important that these professional associations and practitioners are already talking together to ensure that there is a shared understanding of the issues and sticking points and to prevent challenging surprises as the new Act moves forward to regulation.

Who should attend these sessions?

College registrants, non-member applied biology practitioners, members of other professional associations, and the general public. We believe a broad array of insights can help to further our understanding on this matter.

What will the discussion entail?

Some of the questions that will be discussed at the sessions include:

  • How do we define the scope of practice of applied biology professionals, in terms of areas of knowledge and practice?
  • When should a decision include an applied biology professional?
  • What criteria should we use to decide where applied biology professionals should have exclusive practice rights and when other professionals need to bring in a professional biologist?
  • What are the risks of the wrong professional doing the job of an applied bio? What are the risks of an applied biologist working outside of their scope of practice?
  • What is ‘biology’, but outside scope of ‘applied biology’?
  • How do we ensure a fair and smooth transition to right to practice for all applied biology professionals?

Do I need to register?

We are asking people to sign up so we can make sure that everyone can be accommodated, and also so we can provide follow-up information if participants are interested.

I have more questions, who should I contact?

Christine Houghton at [email protected].

To regulate the professional conduct and competency of the practice of its members in the public interest.

The practice of applied biology is very complex and, the College, made up of experienced practitioners, is best able to judge whether the performance or conduct of members is appropriate or whether a member’s skills are satisfactory.

The College makes sure that a member practicing applied biology in British Columbia has the necessary knowledge and skills.  No one who is a member can call themselves a Professional Biologist or a Registered Biology Technologist without registration in the College.  The College addresses the behaviour, skills and knowledge of members through a complaint driven process and through random practice audits.

No. The College of Applied Biology’s role is to protect the public and is the governing body which awards certification of title.  It sets standards for competency in the practice of the profession and the conduct of its members through the administration of the College of Applied Biology Act (2002).

The ABP’s role is to represent its own members and assist biology professionals.  For more on the goals of this organization, go to

Yes. Members of the public serve on the Council of the College and are government appointees.  Public members also serve on committees and are appointed by Council.

Often problems that arise are the result of a misunderstanding or lack of information.  If you have a problem with a member of the College, a frank discussion between the two of you is encouraged and may result in resolving the issue.  If that is not possible, you can ask the College of Applied Biology to become involved by submitting a complaint.

Upon receipt the complaint will be forwarded to the Discipline Committee for an initial review to ensure it meets the jurisdiction requirements of the College.  We will advise the member of your complaint and ask him or her to respond.  We will advise you how the member has responded to your complaint and you will have an opportunity to provide comments on the response.  We may get in touch with other individuals who you or the member think may be helpful.  The member’s explanation may satisfy your concerns and resolve the complaint.  If it does not, then the process may continue.

All complaints about members are dealt with seriously.  Many can be resolved at the investigation stage and others may ultimately be sent to a Discipline Panel.  The Discipline Committee, the body initially charged with reviewing complaints, consists of members of the College and members of the public. The Committee reviews and discusses all material submitted about the complaint.  The member against whom the complaint is made may be interviewed.  In some circumstances, you may also be interviewed to help the committee understand the problem.