Self-regulating organizations are regulatory bodies that were established by governments who put their trust in professionals to oversee their own profession and ensure that their peers fulfill their professional duties in ways that protect the public and maintain the integrity of a profession.
Self-regulating organizations are non-profit and independently run, overseen by a board of directors (also known as councils) that are represented by members of the profession as well as the public. Though the organizations are run independently, they are typically required to maintain close relationships with a specified government department and from time-to-time report their operational outcomes. Self-regulation is considered a privilege not a right and government retains the power to revoke the privilege at any time if it feels the public is better served if regulated by government.
Self-regulating bodies are funded through licensing fees and other revenue generating methods, typically charged to professions. This reduces the burden on public expenses and increases the onus to operate an effective organization.
There are almost 500 self-regulating bodies in Canada. Most oversee professions at provincial and territorial levels, though a few have federal mandates.