Through the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, APEGA is mandated by the provincial government to establish, maintain, and enforce the qualifications and standards for the practices of engineering and geoscience in Alberta. APEGA has established a strong regulatory framework and fully understands its obligation to enable the self-regulation that ensures all members and permit holders practise to the highest professional and ethical standards in serving Albertans and protecting their safety.
Any company, partnership, or entity that engages in the practice of engineering or geoscience in Alberta must have a Permit to Practice. Not all provinces require companies to have permits to practice engineering and geoscience. APEGA is proud to have such a robust system in place.
One of the most important requirements of all permit holders is the Professional Practice Management Plan (PPMP). The PPMP describes the corporate policies, procedures, and systems used to ensure that engineering or geoscience work done on behalf of a permit-holding company is done responsibly and meets all legal and regulatory requirements.
There are several components to a PPMP, including:
- the ethical standards of the company
- a description of the quality control systems used to maintain ethical, professional, legal, and technical standards
- a clear record of who is practising where and how the practice is occurring
- the method used to authenticate documents
The PPMP must be active, current, and available to any APEGA members practising on behalf of the permit holder, and to APEGA upon request. The company’s chief operating officer is responsible for the creation of the PPMP.
Another requirement of a Permit to Practice is that the company have at least one APEGA professional member as the company’s Responsible Member. Responsible Members are active APEGA licence holders who perform the important role of holding their companies to APEGA’s high ethical, professional, and technical standards.
APEGA has the jurisdiction to investigate engineering and geoscience work done in Alberta. Of course, many companies have branches and subsidiaries in multiple jurisdictions. If the alleged actions of a company in another jurisdiction are raising concerns with the public, and this company is also an APEGA permit holder, APEGA will monitor the situation closely. APEGA will check to see whether the alleged unprofessional conduct or unskilled practice in the other jurisdiction involves the kind of work performed by the Alberta branch or subsidiary of the parent company. We will also check whether any APEGA members are actively practising in both jurisdictions.
Similar to the legal system, APEGA requires evidence of unprofessional conduct or unskilled practice. Allegations alone are not enough. If there is no reasonable basis to believe that the Alberta public is at risk, no review of the Alberta permit holder or its members would be warranted.
If APEGA believes the Alberta public could be at risk, there are three options:
- Have a discussion with the permit holder regarding APEGA’s concerns on behalf of the public.
- Perform a practice review.
- Start an investigation.
This would be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Should APEGA determine a practice review is appropriate, APEGA would review the permit holder’s PPMP to confirm it is appropriate to the company’s professional practice and is being followed. In addition, APEGA would provide guidance on any needed improvements.
Should an investigation be required, APEGA would investigate all allegations and interview all involved parties. Depending on the results of the investigation, a permit holder may be fined or have its permit cancelled. The results would be published in The PEG and on the APEGA website.
In all reviews and investigations, APEGA strives to be fair to all parties, without compromising public safety. However, APEGA can only regulate within its own jurisdiction. Although not every provincial or territorial engineering association licenses companies, engineering is regulated in a similar way across the country. Most geoscience in Canada is similarly regulated.
To learn more about our permit application process, please visit www.apega.ca/permit-to-practice.