Frequently Asked Questions

What is a credit?
One credit is equal to one hour of training.

What is the reporting period?
January 1 to December 31.  For the fiscal year 2015/2016, you can include PD activities back to October 1 2015 as that was the start of the reporting period prior to the policy change in January 2016. 

What is the reporting deadline?
January 31st

How many credits do I need each year?
You need 30, with a minimum of 10 credits in Category 1 and a maximum of 5 in Category 3.

What is included in Category 1?
Category 1: Structured Learning; an Agrology focused event organized and developed by an outside person/group, such as courses, workshops, conferences, webinars, AGMs, NSIA events.  

What is included in Category 2?
Category 2: Self-Directed Learning; Agrology related journal articles, textbooks or other non-fiction text.

What is included in Category 3?
Category 3: Soft Skills; non-Agrology related language training, software training, project management, facilitation. 

As of 2021, there will be a late fee of $50 + HST in effect for all members who do not have the required 30 hours of Professional Development submitted by January 31st of each year, who have not previously arranged accommodations with NSIA Administrators.

What about if I am presenting a paper at a conference?
You can count the hours you spent sitting in on others’ presentations under category 1 and you can count the hours spent preparing for your presentation under category 2 if you spent time reading journals to gain new knowledge.

What about all the meetings I attend for my job?
Regular meetings that you attend in the course of your employment are not eligible as professional development.  However, AGMs are the exception to this as they provide updates on industry issues and excellent networking opportunities.

What if I cannot meet the PD requirement for any given year?
If you are unable to meet the PD credit requirements in any one year, you can apply to NSIA Council to have a 1 year extension to achieve the full 2 year requirement of 60 credits with a minimum of 20 hours in Category 1. Any such arrangements would automatically require an audit in the second year. Failure to pass this audit would result in a failure to meet PD requirements and a subsequent membership review by NSIA Council.

What if I am sick, unemployment on maternity leave etc.?
Members can apply to Council to be excused for one year from acquiring credits in situations such as maternity leave, unemployment, or long term illness. 

What is the audit procedure?
10% of total membership will be randomly selected each year to submit paperwork (hardcopy or electronic) to support claimed hours (random audit). Audited members will have 30 days from an audit request to submit supporting paperwork. Failure to meet this deadline results in a failure to pass the audit. Note: names go back in the audit hat for subsequent years.  
Failure to pass the audit (i.e. insufficient paperwork or late submission of paperwork) results in an automatic audit for the next year (i.e. a probation period). Failure to pass the audit in the second year results in the failure to meet the PD requirements and a subsequent membership review by NSIA Council.

Failure to comply with the PD policy for two or more consecutive years?

Members who fail to submit their professional development reports for two consecutive years or who fail to pass the professional development audit for two consecutive years can remain voting members of NSIA with all attendant rights and privileges. However, because these members have not demonstrated to NSIA their commitment to continued professional development and excellence in their field, the NSIA Council President shall send notification to these members that because they have not met all the requirements of membership, they will be considered “not in good standing in their compliance with NSIA’s professional development policy.” Members will be informed that NSIA is unable to stand behind their work should any dispute arise which questions the competence of these members to practice in the field of agrology. Furthermore, the response to any inquiries made regarding their membership status by current or potential employers will be that they are NSIA members who are not in good standing in their compliance with NSIA’s professional development policy. However, at this time, Council will neither publish names of non-compliant members in any public forum nor pro-actively notify current employers that members are not in good standing.

Those members who have two or more years of noncompliance and wish to re-establish their membership in good standing must submit documentation and backup for 30 hours of PD activities for each year of noncompliance along with a $50 administration fee.