The Changing Nature of Profession-State Relations in Canada

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Tracey ADAMS, Sociology - University of Western Ontario, Canada
Research on professions and professional regulation in Anglo-American contexts has highlighted the importance of the state to profession creation, but has seldom documented state actors’ activity. Researchers have focused on what professions do to ‘win’ the approval of legislators and, more recently, what state actors have done to restrict professional powers. Our understanding of why and when state actors choose to regulate professions remains limited. This paper will address this gap in the literature by focusing on profession-state relations and professional regulation in Canada historically. Focusing on the creation of scores of regulated professions between the 1860s and the 1930s, the paper examines state discourse, debates, and rationales. Legislators actively debated, contested, and ultimately endorsed professional regulation, and we have much to learn by considering who they regulated, who they did not, and what explanations they gave for the decisions they made. The implications of the empirical evidence for our theoretical understanding of professions and their regulation will also be explored.