Complaints Against Members & Permit Holders
APEGA regulates the practices of engineering and geoscience in Alberta. Members and permit holders (companies licensed by APEGA) must follow the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, the General Regulations, and the Code of Ethics.
APEGA has the power to investigate complaints against members and permit holders. Part 5 of the Act explains the investigation and discipline processes.
Members and the public can make a complaint against an APEGA member or permit holder.
APEGA’s Investigative Committee and Investigations department handle complaints. Every attempt is made to complete investigations in a timely manner. Delays in conducting interviews and gathering evidence may slow an investigation.
APEGA’s Investigative Committee investigate written complaints from members and the public. Committee members are professional engineers and professional geoscientists of various disciplines. They are volunteers and are approved by Council to sit on the Committee.
APEGA staff members assist the Committee by coordinating investigations and taking investigative steps as directed by the Committee. The Investigations department staff reviews and assesses written complaints before sending them to the Committee. Department staff members are professional investigators who report to the APEGA Registrar & CEO. The Investigative Committee makes all decisions.
Investigations department staff works with an investigative panel on each complaint. The investigative panel is made up of members of the Investigative Committee. The investigative panel investigates on behalf of the full Committee and makes recommendations about the complaint to the full Committee.
The Investigations department staff advises the member or permit holder under investigation about the complaint. The Act compels anyone under investigation to cooperate with the investigation and to produce all relevant evidence.
- The investigative panel, with the assistance of the Investigations department staff, investigates the written complaint.
- The investigation may include gathering evidence and conducting interviews.
- The investigative panel sends its recommendations to the Investigative Committee.
- The Investigative Committee may:
- terminate a complaint that is found frivolous or vexatious
- terminate a complaint due to lack of evidence
- refer the complaint to the APEGA Discipline Committee for a discipline hearing.
Sometimes members or permit holders will admit unprofessional conduct or unskilled practice during an investigation to avoid a discipline hearing. In such cases, the investigative panel works with the member or permit holder to agree upon penalties (called sanctions). The agreement is called a Recommended Discipline Order. The Investigative Committee sends the order to the Discipline Committee for approval.
If the Discipline Committee does not accept the Recommended Discipline Order, the matter is referred to a discipline hearing. Discipline hearings are generally open to the public.
Once the Discipline Committee makes a discipline decision, APEGA informs the person who made the complaint and the member or permit holder who was investigated. APEGA ensures that all sanctions and orders are carried out and publishes the decisions on the APEGA website.