Professional Governance Act
The regulatory landscape in British Columbia is changing. On February 5, 2021, the Professional Governance Act (PGA) will come into force and will replace the Engineers and Geoscientists Act.
The Professional Governance Act was developed in response to two key recommendations of government’s 2017 professional reliance review, which evaluated the current legislation governing qualified professionals in the natural resource sector, and the role of professional regulators in upholding the public interest.
The PGA establishes a new, consolidated framework for professional regulators in the natural and built environment, including Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the regulators for forestry, agrology, biology, and applied science. It also establishes a new oversight body for this legislation – the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) – which reports into the Ministry of the Attorney General.
The legislation sets consistent standards for ethical principles, duties, and responsibilities, and governance structures, and it introduces new regulatory tools, processes, and requirements for Engineers and Geoscientists BC and its registrants.
The regulatory tools under the PGA will improve public safety and confidence in the engineering and geoscience professions, ultimately resulting in stronger regulation and a safer British Columbia.
Registrants will have new obligations they need to be aware of, and new requirements they will need to follow.
The Code of Ethics has been updated to align with mandatory ethical principles contained in the PGA. The changes are modest and generally consistent with our previous Code of Ethics but new principles have been introduced that registrants should be aware of.
Continuing education requirements will take effect on July 1, 2021. Practising registrants will be required to complete 60 hours of continuing education within a 3-year rolling window.
Registrants will need to verify their area of practice annually and keep their contact information up to date.
- The first information reporting deadline is June 30, 2021. Watch your email for updates in the coming months.
- If your contact information changes, you now need to update it in your Engineers and Geoscientists BC account within 30 days of a change.
Engineering and geoscience firms will become regulated, bringing BC in line with the rest of Canada. All firms that engage in the practice of professional engineering or geoscience will be required to hold a Permit to Practice. Applications open July 2, 2021, and firms will need to apply by September 30, 2021.
Learn more about the some of the new requirements by visiting the following pages:
While most changes will be introduced immediately once the legislation is in force, including the updated Code of Ethics for registrants, other changes will come into effect later in 2021.
- By June 30, 2021, registrants will be required to report their area of practice to Engineers and Geoscientists BC. They will also be required to provide updated contact information, and to notify Engineers and Geoscientists BC within 30 days of any changes to this information.
- Beginning July 1, 2021, mandatory continuing education requirements will take effect. Registrants will be required to report their CEP hours to Engineers and Geoscientists BC each June. The first reporting date will be June 30, 2022.
- Beginning July 2, 2021, engineering and geoscience firms will become regulated, and must apply for a permit to practice with Engineers and Geoscientists BC.
- New requirements for Council size and term length will take effect for the 2021 Council. To prepare for these changes, Councillors elected in 2020 will be assigned varied term lengths to allow for an effective transition.
While the implementation of the PGA is a significant milestone, work is still underway on a few key policy items, including the consideration of practice rights for three groups under the PGA: engineering technologists, biologists, and agrologists. The OSPG has confirmed that at this time, the current structure will remain in place. Engineers, geoscientists, and foresters will retain practice rights, while agrologists, biologists, and technologists will maintain title rights.
The OSPG intends to begin a process with Engineers and Geoscientists BC and ASTTBC to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with, and potential approaches to, reserved practice within the engineering discipline for technologists and technicians. Engineers and Geoscientists BC supports the principle of providing opportunities for qualified technologists to practice independently – that is the goal of our professional licensee designation, which currently provides practice rights for technologists within a defined scope. Any expansion of practice rights and/or changes to the way in which those practice rights are regulated carries potential risk and as an organization we are is committed to participating fully in a process that provides opportunities to qualified engineering technologists while keeping public protection paramount. As this process is carried out, we will keep registrants up-to-date on key decisions.
We want to ensure registrants are kept updated and informed throughout our transition to the PGA.
Watch for regular updates on this webpage and articles in eNews and Innovation, and download our special pull-out PGA reference guide from the Nov/Dec edition of Innovation.
The full text of the legislation is available on the BC government’s website.
Background information on the Professional Reliance Review.
We’re planning a webinar series on key obligations and requirements under the Professional Governance Act. Topics covered will include the New Code Ethics, Continuing Education Requirements, and Regulation of Firms.
Professional Governance Act Overview
March 8, 2021
Understanding Regulation of Firms
February 17, 2021
Continuing Education Requirements
February 10, 2021
Understanding the New Code of Ethics
January 27, 2021
Professional Governance Act 2020 Update: What You Need to Know
August 6, 2020
For more information on the Professional Governance Act, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Have a question about the PGA? Contact [email protected].