Most regulatory colleges are legislated as requirements to work in a given field. For example, no worker in Ontario may work in a compulsory trade without membership in the Ontario College of Trades.
Regulatory Colleges are granted specific powers and responsibilities by acts of parliament. They are charged with protecting the public by investigating incidents of misconduct by member, and expelling or charging members who engage in misconduct.
Misconduct may involve willful malicious acts, but may also include not working to the standard of competence set by the college, or not following an established code of ethics, or infringing upon one of the bylaws maintained by the college.
In addition to investigating misconduct, they have a duty to maintain a public register of members.