Continuing Professional Development Program
The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Committee is seeking member feedback on an updated framework for professional development that will guide members in meeting their obligations to stay current, and align with the requirements of the new Professional Governance Act.
Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s current Continuing Professional Development Guideline outlines the types of activities and amount of professional development that practicing 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 Continuing Professional Development (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, Ontario, and the Yukon.
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.
The consultation process is expected to run from April to July, 2019, and include:
- An initial survey that will seek input on high-level principles to guide revisions to the model, including simplicity, flexibility, and quantity of CPD completed. Members will be notified by email when the survey is released.
- A webinar outlining the survey results and any updates on the Professional Governance Act regulations.
- A follow-up survey presenting CPD program improvement options for member feedback and comment.
Check back for more information on these and other consultation opportunities.
The committee anticipates bringing forward a revised model to Council for approval in September 2019. If a new model is approved, it is expected to be implemented by 2020. 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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