If you are aware of practice or title violations and you are able to provide evidence (reports, letters, business cards, websites, etc.), we encourage you to contact Frank Perich, P.Eng., Director, Compliance, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Because the Compliance Department deals with non-members, we do not reveal the source of complaints when you make contact.
Most of us are proud of our designations, and so we should be. We’ve worked hard to earn them and keep them. We practice according to the ethical and professional standards they represent. We believe in the importance of our profession to our workplaces and communities, so we’re happy and honoured to tell the world what we do.
One of the major reasons APEGGA titles have so much value is their exclusiveness. With a few exceptions, members and permit holders are the only entities that have the right to use titles and business names incorporating the words engineering, geologist and geophysicist, or their derivatives.
Many other jurisdictions, of course, also have proud histories behind their designations. Engineers licensed in the U.K., for example, use the designation Chartered Engineer or C.Eng.
When a C.Eng. comes to Alberta and wants to keep practicing, he or she must apply to the Board of Examiners for a review of education, experience and other qualifications before receiving a licence. At the very least, a C.Eng. would be required to pass the Professional Practice Exam.
But what if a Chartered Engineer doesn’t want or need the P.Eng. designation? May this new Albertan continue using C.Eng., as long as he or she isn’t practicing or stamping any documents?
The answer is no. To use the designation C.Eng. is to use a protected form of the word engineer. It is just as illegal to call yourself a C.Eng. without an Alberta licence as it is to call yourself a P.Eng. without an Alberta licence.
We know that this is happening in the workplace. There are non-members out there with C.Eng. on their business cards, their websites, their letterheads, the shingles over their doors. When we find specific examples, we will take action.
Some of you may be wondering why we bother. Perhaps you think it’s a minor contravention. After all, the user of the designation isn’t claiming to be an Alberta engineer. He or she is merely demonstrating the professional pride we all have, but for the designation obtained back home instead of here. Does this even warrant an investigation?
Yes, it does. For one, our enabling legislation, the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act, requires and empowers APEGGA to protect our titles and make sure those who say they are engineers, geologists and geophysicists are, in fact, licensed. For another, your elected Council has told us that the goal must always be 100 per cent compliance.
And finally, it’s the right thing to do. The value of your title — to yourself and to the public you ultimately serve — is not to be taken lightly. The pride mentioned at the start of this article is directly related to the trust inherent in the title.
The average member of the public probably does not know that C.Eng. does not signify Alberta licensure. If engineer is in the title, the assumption is that Alberta’s high standards have been met.
Yes, we do want to know when someone is using a title illegally. The public and most of all you, our members, are our eyes and ears. The identities of those who report violations are only revealed in some of the matters that end up in court, and only then with your consent.
We use a soft approach — the person or company using the title is contacted to stop using the title and, if necessary, to apply for an APEGGA licence or permit to practice. Rarely does a compliance file go before a judge.
If you’re proud of your designation, help maintain its value. See the Report a Violation box below for more information.