Professional Governance Act


 

The regulatory landscape in British Columbia is changing. The Professional Governance Act (PGA) will soon 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.

Due to the recent election and its impact on timelines for legislative approval, we anticipate the Professional Governance Act will come into force by February 2021.

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.

Our Position and Actions

Engineers and Geoscientists BC supports the majority of the changes introduced by the legislation that will enhance our regulatory framework and our ability to deliver on our mandate to protect the public interest. New regulatory tools and processes like regulation of firms, mandatory continuing education reporting, an updated Code of Ethics, and changes to Council composition and nomination and election processes will improve public safety and confidence in the engineering and geoscience professions, ultimately resulting in stronger regulation and a safer British Columbia.

However, some policy work and concerns remain on other aspects of the legislation. One of the key changes is that the PGA enables the granting of independent practice rights for regulators who do not currently have this authority, including independent practice rights for engineering technologists. We are concerned that a separate parallel regulator for certain aspects of engineering presents a risk by creating confusion for the public, government, and employers, and creates duplication and inefficiency. We are continuing to engage with the OSPG and ASTTBC to work towards a solution that does not create undue risk.

We continue to work with the OSPG to provide our perspective to government, and to ensure they understand the complexities, risks, and positive alternatives to any proposed policy change. We will continue to advocate that any changes must benefit the overall public good and follow the principle of Right Touch Regulation.

What's Changing

Registrants will have new obligations they need to be aware of, and new requirements they will need to follow.

  • An updated Code of Ethics will be introduced, aligned with mandatory ethical principles contained in the PGA.
  • Engineering and geoscience firms will become regulated, bringing BC in line with the rest of Canada.
  • Continuing education reporting will be mandatory, requiring registrants to complete 60 hours on a 3-year rolling average.
  • Registrants will need to verify their area of practice annually and keep their contact information up-to-date.
  • The PGA also introduces broad changes to Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s governance structure, including nomination and election processes and the composition of Council.

Timing

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 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.

Learn more about the some of the new requirements by visiting the following pages:

 

Process

To bring our current policies and procedures in line with the requirements of the PGA, all of Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s current bylaws were reviewed, and many new bylaws were drafted, to ensure compliance with this new legislation.

Council reviewed each of the bylaw amendments at their meeting in June. The Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance will now complete a rigorous review of the bylaws, which will come into effect when the PGA comes into force.

Information and Resources

A recording of the Professional Governance Act: What You Need to Know webinar hosted on August 6, 2020 is now available in our Online Learning Centre.

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.

Upcoming Webinars

Understanding the New Code of Ethics
January 27, 2021, 11:45 AM–1:00 PM

Register

Continuing Education Requirements
February 10, 2021, 11:45 AM–1:00 PM

Register

Understanding Regulation of Firms
February 17, 2021, 11:45 AM–1:00 PM

Register

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, Regulation of Firms, and Annual Reporting Requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information on the Professional Governance Act, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Contact Us

Have a question about the PGA? Contact [email protected].