The Canadian Council of Professional Geoscientists recently secured support of $140,000 from the Government of Canada to assist with work over the next 15 months on common entry requirements for registration and on inter-provincial professional mobility.
This project is part of an initiative to assist regulated professions in Canada achieve compliance under Chapter 7 of the Agreement on Internal Trade, and comes out of work of the Forum of Labour Market Ministers. It is directly overseen by an inter-governmental working committee called the Labour Mobility Coordinating Group, which is made up of provincial and territorial representatives.
Termed P.Geo=P.Geo, the project will combine the federal government’s investment with in-kind support from CCPG and its constituent members. It will focus on two important phases of work identified as priorities by all the participants, says a CCPG news release.
Brenda Wright, P.Geol., an APEGGA member and now CCPG Past President, said: “This project will be really beneficial to the self-regulation of our profession, to the constituent associations that register and license our practitioners across Canada, and to the practicing professional geoscientists from coast to coast to coast in Canada, who provide an ever-expanding range of highly skilled services to society and our economy.”
Phase 1 will provide support to the Canadian Geoscience Standards Board, a standing committee of CCPG whose mandate includes CCPG’s Recommended Minimum Geoscience Knowledge and Work Experience Guideline for registration as a professional geoscientist. The standards board is currently in the midst of a review of this national guideline, so the additional financial support will allow for a more comprehensive exercise than originally planned. The money will allow such activities as additional working meetings of standards board, assistance and guidance from an expert on licensure requirement criteria, and support with editorial and translation services, says the release.
In addition to improving the commonly agreed upon educational requirements for registration as a professional geoscientist, the project includes expanding the new guideline to also address corecompetencies requirements for entry to the profession. The professional geoscientist title embraces three substreams, which are geology, environmental geoscience and geophysics. APEGGA currently uses two geoscience titles — geologist and geophysicist — but has no official professional geoscientist designation.
Phase 2 will flow from Phase 1 by facilitating work by CCPG and its constituent associations aimed at introducing an improved Inter-Association Mobility Agreement or Mutual Recognition Agreement. It will document the process for easier and faster transfer of licensure between provinces and territories and thus improve labour mobility for professionals.
In addition to transfer of licensure, Phase 2 will look at the challenging issue of appropriate regulation and licensure mechanisms for inter-jurisdictional and multi-jurisdictional practice within Canada. Activities in this phase include more working meetings of a mobility agreement task force of CCPG, engaging a professional facilitator and retaining a legal adviser — all aimed at enhancing labour mobility while ensuring full public protection in each jurisdiction, as required under statute.
CCPG and its constituent associations agree there’s a need for a consistent national set of registration requirements for professional geoscience among all jurisdictions that regulate geoscience in Canada. The associations look at this as a vital underpinning of effective licensure and professional self-governance, says the news release.
Establishing consistency around registration, will demonstrate that indeed P.Geo=P.Geo in Canada and will in turn allow CCPG to work with its constituent associations to introduce an improved MRA or IAMA.
Geoscience is a small and often individually specialized field-based profession and the services that geoscientists provide to society can often be required in unexpected places and at very short notice, thus creating a real need for professional mobility within Canada, while at the same time recognizing the need for the protection of the public and accountability that licensure provides. In addition to short-term labour mobility needs, geoscientists frequently relocate and transfer their professional licensure within Canada, not just in response to evolving regional demands for skilled professionals, but also to expand their professional experience and overall competency development.
It is also important that youth from across Canada be encouraged to enter the profession and, to that aim, it is critical that the knowledge and experience requirements for licensure be consistent across the country, so that graduates of full university geoscience programs obtained in any one part of Canada are not later faced with unexpected barriers to registration, licensure and practice in other parts of Canada.
Ms. Wright said: “Achieving a consistent national set of registration requirements that also embraces core competencies and expectations will also provide the necessary tools to allow the regulatory associations to more equitably consider internationally trained professionals seeking licensure in Canada, while maintaining agreed minimum standards for registration.”
The project fits ongoing and future plans CCPG already has in place and is acting upon. These plans are designed to better address standards for registration and licensure, labour mobility, and human resources and skills availability. This project is also in keeping with the mission statement of CCPG, which calls on it “to develop consistent high standards for licensure and practice of geoscience, facilitate national and international mobility, and promote the recognition of Canadian professional geoscientists.”
Work on the P.Geo=P.Geo project has already begun and a special face-to-face meeting of the Canadian Geoscience Standards Board took place in Toronto on March 31.