Building Trust Through Enforcement
Through the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, APEGA was established as a regulatory body to serve the public interest by ensuring individuals and companies that practise engineering or geoscience in Alberta are competent, ethical, and professional. This is done through a rigorous application process to ensure only qualified individuals are licensed.
But what happens if individuals or companies are found to be acting unprofessionally or unethically? Or if they are conducting engineering and geoscience work without holding a licence to do so?
That's when APEGA’s Director, Enforcement, Erum Afsar, P.Eng., and her team get involved. “The primary function of the Enforcement department is the protection of Albertans by ensuring that only qualified people have the right to use the titles of ‘engineer’ and ‘geoscientist,’ that any company doing engineering or geoscience work has a valid permit, and that any licensed member or permit holder is behaving responsibly and professionally,” explains Afsar.
Under the umbrella of Enforcement
The Enforcement department is split into two separate streams: Discipline and Compliance.
Discipline involves the regulation of our members and permit holders and exists within the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act. It’s also one of the most important functions of APEGA as a regulator. If a complaint is made about one of our members, it is brought to Investigations. If the complaint is substantiated, it will be handed to Discipline. If it’s found to be a valid complaint, Afsar and Enforcement get involved.
Compliance ensures that only those individuals and corporations who hold an APEGA licence can present themselves as a professional engineer or professional geoscientist. If someone is conducting engineering or geoscience work without an APEGA licence to do so, Compliance gets involved. APEGA receives 400 to 500 complaints a year.
“When we find that someone is using a title they shouldn’t, we work with the Enforcement Review Committee to ensure that the person understands their mistake, and we will take the matter to court if we need to.”
Building and maintaining public trust
Having spent most of her career before joining APEGA focusing on transportation engineering, Afsar enjoys that her department builds trust with Albertans, something she enjoyed doing in her previous positions.
“If you don't have public trust, people aren't going to want to work with engineers or geoscientists,” she says. “Our most important function is protecting Albertans and continuing to ensure that public trust is being built.”
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Erum Afsar, P.Eng.
APEGA's Director, Enforcement