Corporate Practice in BC

When the Mount Polley dam breached in August 2014, an issue discussed by the association's councils many times in recent decades resurfaced: the regulation of engineering and geoscience corporate practice in BC. We are examining this complex issue again in order consider the following: Would regulatory authority for corporate practice enhance public protection? And if so, should we seek regulatory authority over corporate practice?

Council established an Advisory Task Force on Corporate Practice to guide the process of evaluation and member and stakeholder consultation. This task force comprises members of Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia, and industry representatives including government, manufacturing, construction, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – BC (ACEC-BC), and others.

Following initial consultation, the task force released a discussion paper in September 2016 for broader member stakeholder consultation, with an accompanying webcast. The paper explores the issue of corporate practice, and considers options for the potential regulation of engineering and geoscience organizations in BC as a means to enhance public protection. A consultation summary report was released in April 2017, detailing feedback received through the two-stage consultation process.

 

Current Status


Member and stakeholder consultation concluded at the end of February, 2017. The task force reviewed the results of consultation activities and feedback received to date, and delivered its recommendations to Council at the April 2017 council meeting.

Background

 

Since its inception in 1920, Engineers and Geoscientists BC has been responsible for maintaining standards of entry and practice for individual professionals. The Engineers and Geoscientists Act contains provisions for the association to issue certificates of authorization—licences issued to allow individuals and businesses to provide professional engineering or geoscience services. However, nothing in the Act prevents companies from operating without such certificates.

BC and Quebec are the only jurisdictions in Canada where engineering and geoscience organizations remain unregulated. Other Canadian jurisdictions regulate organizational practice through certificates of authorization or similar permits to practice. Some jurisdictions regulate all companies that provide engineering and geoscience products and services, whereas others are restricted to certain sectors—for example, consulting.

Early Council discussions about the regulation of corporate practice in BC began with the Closkey Commission, which reviewed the Station Square Mall collapse in Burnaby. Since then, the issue has re-emerged periodically and whenever major incidents involving engineering or geoscience in BC have occurred. The matter is also raised on an ongoing basis by members and organizations that look to Engineers and Geoscientists BC to ensure that practitioners and companies within various sectors meet the same quality assurance standards.

 

Consultation


See Consultation Summary Report

The association’s primary mandate of public protection remains central to its consideration of this issue. Also key is ensuring members’ and industry’s perspectives are heard. To date, member and stakeholder consultation has included two stages:

  • Stage 1 (June to August 2016) focuses on early input from members and stakeholders to understand the issues and help guide the development and assessment of different regulatory models to explore during the review.
  • Stage 2 (September to November 2016) focuses on more detailed input from members and stakeholders on their preferences for non-regulatory and regulatory options for corporate oversight.

Consultations: opportunities were made available to members and stakeholders over a 9 month period. A list of our consultation activities and what we heard through this process is detailed in the Consultation Summary Report.

 

Resources

The Task Force’s discussion paper  explores the issue of corporate practice, and outlines options for the potential regulation of engineering and geoscience organizations in BC as a means to enhance public protection.
Discussion Paper
This recorded webinar provides a condensed presentation on the issues surrounding corporate regulation and the potential regulatory options under evaluation, followed by Q&A from participants.
Corporate Practice Webinar Video
This report summarizes consultation activities and member and stakeholder feedback received over 9 months of consultation on corporate practice.
Consultation Summary Report
This report provides the Task Force's formal recommendations to Council based on the first phase of the association's exploration of corporate practice.
Recommendations Report
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