Continuing Education Program
The Professional Governance Act requires Engineers and Geoscientists BC to develop and implement a mandatory Continuing Education Program.
The core elements of this program were reviewed and approved by Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Council in November 2019.
Work is underway to develop a new Continuing Education Program guideline and tools to support registrants in meeting their obligations to stay current, and align with the requirements of the Professional Governance Act.
In January 2021 the new guideline will be available for registrants to review and more communications will be provided on the program.
Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s current Continuing Professional Development Guideline outlines the types of activities and amount of professional development that practising members should be undertaking. Under the Code of Ethics, members are responsible for undertaking professional development that is relevant to their practice; compliance with the guideline is recommended, but not mandatory.
In 2017, the CPD Committee initiated a review of the current framework for professional development requirements to identify possible improvements. Through research and engagement with other jurisdictions, the committee identified the issues that affect and relate to CPD, and will be seeking input from members on how the current model could be adjusted to better enable members to meet their obligations to stay current.
The current guideline has been in place since 2011, and is harmonized with the requirements of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA). Members last considered changes to the program via a proposed bylaw for Continuing Professional Development in 2015. The bylaw was not ratified by members.
In Canada, mandatory professional development programs are in place in all jurisdictions except BC, and Ontario.
In examining the current model and potential alternatives, the CPD Committee focused on taking a deeper look at the issues that affect and relate to CPD – including legislative challenges, government expectations, self-assessment research, findings from practice reviews and discipline cases, and jurisdictional research. Ultimately, the committee aims to create a program that maintains the appropriate standards for public protection, but is simple, flexible, and achievable for members.
The committee is considering a number of changes to the way requirements for professional development are currently set out. This includes the number of hours required, the number and type of activity categories, possible exemptions based on a member’s status or if a member reports in another province, and how members report their CPD activity to Engineers and Geoscientists BC.
After the failure of the 2015 CPD bylaw, Council asked the CPD committee to continue exploring modifications to the CPD program. The committee undertook a review, which involved research on the issues that affect and relate to CPD, and worked to clarify the challenges or risks a CPD program can address.
The Professional Governance Act also became law in November 2018, and requires Engineers and Geoscientists BC to “establish and maintain a continuing competency program to promote high standards among members.” The government regulations that will guide the program requirements are expected to be introduced over the next few years. It is expected that the regulations will make this continuing competency program mandatory for all members, but the timeline for making the program mandatory is still unknown.
The committee is examining possible revisions to the model in order to better support members in meeting their obligations, and to be in a position to advise government on what we think will work best to protect the public once this section of the Professional Governance Act is brought into force.
In 2019, the CPD Committee commenced the first phase of consultation on the revised CPD program by seeking feedback from members on key program elements. Throughout April and May, members were surveyed on the high-level principles and potential revisions to the Engineers and Geoscientists BC CPD program.
Over 2,900 members participated in this survey and provided input on a number of potential changes to the way professional development requirements are set out; including how to determine the number of hours required, the number and type of activity categories, acceptable CPD activities, and reporting requirements.
The CPD Committee is currently reviewing the feedback collected through this consultation process, and will be considering this input as they finalize their proposed revision to the CPD model.
The committee anticipates bringing forward a revised model to Council for approval in late 2019. If a new model is approved, it is expected to be implemented within one to two years. If the Professional Governance Act regulations are not yet in force by this time, the new model would replace the current guidelines as a voluntary program.
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