Code of Ethics
The Professional Governance Act requires that each regulator under this legislation – including Engineers and Geoscientists BC, and the regulatory bodies for forestry, applied biology, agrology, and applied science technology – include a minimum of 12 standardized mandatory principles within their Code of Ethics for their registrants. The intent of standardized principles is to bring greater consistency to the governance expectations of these professions.
In preparation for these changes, Engineers and Geoscientists BC has prepared a draft Code of Ethics to ensure compliance with the Professional Governance Act. The changes are modest and generally consistent with our current Code of Ethics but new principles have been introduced. Through the development of guidelines on the new Code of Ethics, Engineers and Geoscientists BC will be able to provide registrants with commentary and interpretation of the new principles.
Subject to Council's passing of the proposed bylaw, along with ministerial approval through the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance, the new Code of Ethics will come into effect in November 2020.
As outlined above, the Professional Governance Act sets out a minimum of 12 mandatory principles for all regulators to include in a new Code of Ethics. Engineers and Geoscientists BC has also identified principles within the current code that have not been covered by these mandatory principles but are still applicable to professional practice, and are proposing for their inclusion.
The following table outlines the proposed new Code of Ethics bylaw - please note text in bold indicates principles in the current Code of Ethics which will be retained, but for which there is no corresponding principle in the Professional Governance Act. Principles that are a new element required by the Professional Governance Act have been noted as (new).
||Code of Ethics Principle
||Registrants must act at all times with fairness, courtesy and good faith to their associates, employers, employees and clients, and in accordance with the public interest. They must uphold the values of truth, honesty and trustworthiness and safeguard human life and welfare and the environment. In keeping with these basic tenets, registrants must:
|Act in the Public Interest
||(1) hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public, including the protection of the environment and the promotion of health and safety in the workplace;
|Know Your Limits
||(2) practice only in those fields where training and ability make the registrant professionally competent;
|Follow the Law (new)
||(3) have regard for the common law and any applicable enactments, federal enactments or enactments of another province;
|Follow the Standards of Government, and Engineers and Geoscientists BC (new)
||(4) have regard for applicable standards, policies, plans and practices established by the government or the regulatory body;
|Maintain Your Competence
||(5) maintain competence in relevant specializations, including advances in the regulated practice and relevant science;
|State your Qualifications Accurately (new)
||(6) provide accurate information in respect of qualifications and experience;
|Distinguish Facts from Assumptions & Opinions (new)
||(7) provide professional opinions that distinguish between facts, assumptions and opinions;
|No Conflicts of Interest
||(8) avoid situations and circumstances in which there is a real or perceived conflict of interest and ensure conflicts of interest, including perceived conflicts of interest, are properly disclosed and necessary measures are taken so a conflict of interest does not bias decisions or recommendations;
|Duty to Report
(9) report to the regulatory body and, if applicable, any other appropriate authority, if the registrant, on reasonable and probable grounds, believes that:
(a) the continued practice of a regulated practice by another registrant or other person, including firms and employers, might pose a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or a group of people; or
- (b) a registrant or another individual has made decisions or engaged in practices which may be illegal or unethical;
|Stand Your Ground
||(10) present clearly to employers and clients the possible consequences if professional decisions or judgments are overruled or disregarded;
|Each Professional is Responsible (new)
||(11) clearly identify each registrant who has contributed professional work, including recommendations, reports, statements or opinions;
|Work Diligently & Follow Standards of Documentation (new)
||(12) undertake work and documentation with due diligence and in accordance with any guidance developed to standardize professional documentation for the applicable profession;
|Fairness, Courtesy, Good Faith
||(13) conduct themselves with fairness, courtesy and good faith towards clients, colleagues and others, give credit where it is due and accept, as well as give, honest and fair professional comment.
In March and April 2020, Engineers and Geoscientists BC surveyed registrants on the proposed Code of Ethics and sought feedback on how the organization can best support registrants through guidance on the new Code of Ethics.
Feedback garnered from this survey will help inform what tools and activities may be required to help registrants understand their new ethical responsibilities under the Professional Governance Act.