Frequently Asked Questions

The following Frequently Asked Questions apply to the Professional Governance Act.

    General

    • 1. When does the Professional Governance Act (PGA) come into force?

      The PGA was anticipated to come into force in November, but the provincial election will slightly delay the planned implementation. We anticipate the PGA will come into force in February 2021. We will continue to keep registrants updated as additional details related to implementation timing are confirmed.

    • 2. Is the Engineers and Geoscientists Act still valid?

      Currently, yes. However, when the Professional Governance Act comes into force, the Engineers and Geoscientists Act will be repealed, and we will be governed exclusively under the PGA.

    • 3. Are we still self-regulated?

      Yes. Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the professions of engineering and geoscience are still fully self-regulating. We still have a council election each year, where the majority of councillors are elected by registrants. Additionally, registrant volunteers sit on our statutory committees and advisory groups that work to deliver on our mandate.

    • 4. What’s changing under the Professional Governance Act?

      The PGA sets consistent standards for ethical principles, duties and responsibilities, and governance structures for the regulatory bodies under its purview, including Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the regulators for forestry, agrology, biology, and applied science.

      The legislation also introduces new regulatory tools, processes, and requirements for Engineers and Geoscientists BC and its registrants.

      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 will be mandatory, requiring registrants to complete 60 hours within a three-year rolling period.
      • Registrants will need to verify their area of practice annually, and keep their contact information up-to-date.
    • 5. How can I learn more about the new regulatory requirements?

      We want to ensure registrants are kept updated and informed throughout our transition to the PGA. Watch for regular updates on egbc.ca/pga and articles in eNews and Innovation, as well as an upcoming webinar series, and a special information reference guide in the Nov/Dec edition of Innovation.

      Engineers and Geoscientists BC is currently developing a number of guides and resource tools to help registrants better understand their new requirements under the PGA. These will focus on the Code of Ethics, the Continuing Education Program, and Regulation of Firms. These documents are expected to be available in early 2021.

      For any questions related to the PGA, email [email protected].


    Advocacy

      • 1. Under the Professional Governance Act, will Engineers and Geoscientists BC be able to undertake advocacy activities?

        The Professional Governance Act will introduce restrictions on certain advocacy activities. The path to understand the implications of these restrictions has taken considerable time.

        Staff have worked hard on educating the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) on the unique challenges and needs of our organization. In particular, we have stressed with the OSPG the vital role that our volunteers play and the need to ensure that we maintain and continue to cultivate the spirit of volunteerism that is fundamental to our work.

        The OSPG has given us a framework to use in analyzing our programs and determining which ones are consistent with the PGA.

        Council has recently completed our review of programs using the framework. That review has confirmed that there will be a negligible impact from the PGA. Key programs like branches, the affinity program, and national engineering and geoscience month can continue.
         
        We still need to update the OSPG on our review and solicit their feedback before the process is final. We will keep registrants informed on this topic once the process reaches completion.


    Continuing Education

    • 1. Is continuing education reporting becoming mandatory?

      Yes. The PGA requires Engineers and Geoscientists BC to develop and implement a mandatory Continuing Education (CE) Program. The core elements of this program were reviewed and approved by Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Council in November 2019 and May 2020, following consultation with registrants.

    • 2. What are the core requirements of the new Continuing Education Program?
      Under the mandatory Continuing Education Program, registrants will be required to:
      • Complete 60 hours of continuing education on a three-year rolling period (20 hours a year on average);
      • Complete at least one hour of ethical learning and one hour of regulatory learning per year; and
      • Complete and submit a Continuing Education Plan on an annual basis.

      Our continuing education model lets you undertake a blend of technical, non-technical, professional and ethical training, and reflects feedback from registrants on how our program can better enable you to maintain competency in your area of practice.

      To learn more about the program visit our Continuing Education Program page.

    • 3. When will the new Continuing Education Program start?

      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.

    • 4. Who does the Continuing Education Program apply to? Are all registrants required to complete all activities?

      The full program requirements apply to any registrant with practice rights.

      EITs and GITs are exempt.

      Registrants with non-practising status still have to complete minimum requirements. They are required to complete a minimum of one CE hour each of ethical and regulatory learning every three-year rolling period.

    • 5. When are registrants required to report their CE hours under the new program?

      In the new program, the “reporting year” when registrants complete education activities runs from July 1 to June 30. Reporting of these activities must be completed by June 30.

      This is a change from the current CPD program, which has registrants reporting from January 1 to December 31, with January 31 as the reporting deadline.
       

    Regulation of Firms

    • 1. Which organizations are going to be regulated?

      The regulatory model will apply to entities in the private and public sector that engage in the practice of professional engineering and/or professional geoscience, including sole practitioners.

    • 2. What are the core requirements of the Regulation of Firms Program?

      Our regulatory model is based on three pillars: quality management, ethics, and continuing education. It was developed over several years by an advisory task force, supported by extensive research and engagement with registrants.

      Firms will be required to complete training and have documented policies and procedures in place for each of the three pillars within 12 months of registration.

      To support firms in meeting these new requirements, we’ll be providing templates, documentation, and training beginning early in 2021. Visit our Regulation of Firms page for more information.

    • 3. Is this going to create a system of double regulation for sole practitioners?

      Engineers and Geoscientists BC consulted with sole practitioners, and this was a common concern that we heard. However, government regulations under the PGA require that sole practitioners be included in the regulatory coverage under the Regulation of Firms Program. Engineers and Geoscientists BC firmly believes that no entity that provides engineering or geoscience products or services to the public should be excluded from the appropriate oversight and regulation – regardless of the size of the firm.

      While we believe that our model for firm regulation is scalable to all sizes of private and public entities, we also recognize that sole practitioners are different than large organizations. We are committed to minimizing the administrative burden of firm regulation on sole practitioners wherever possible.

    • 4. What will happen to the OQM Program?

      The OQM Program will be discontinued as of July 2, 2021. The new requirements for firm regulation mean that all firms offering engineering or geoscience services or products in BC will be required to apply for a permit to practice on a mandatory basis, superseding the voluntary requirements of the OQM Program.