Professional Governance Act
The regulatory landscape in British Columbia is changing. In November 2020, the Professional Governance Act (PGA) will come into force and will replace the Engineers and Geoscientists Act.
The Professional Governance Act was developed in response to two key recommendations of government’s 2017 professional reliance review, which evaluated the current legislation governing qualified professionals in the natural resource sector, and the role of professional regulators in upholding the public interest.
The PGA establishes a new, consolidated framework for professional regulators in the natural and built environment, including Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the regulators for forestry, agrology, biology, and applied science. It also establishes a new oversight body for this legislation – the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) – which reports into the Ministry of the Attorney General.
The legislation sets consistent standards for ethical principles, duties and responsibilities, and governance structures, and it introduces new regulatory tools, processes, and requirements for Engineers and Geoscientists BC and its registrants.
The regulatory tools under the PGA will improve public safety and confidence in the engineering and geoscience professions, ultimately resulting in stronger regulation and a safer British Columbia.
Engineers and Geoscientists BC supports the majority of the changes introduced by the legislation that will enhance our regulatory framework and our ability to deliver on our mandate to protect the public interest. New regulatory tools and processes like regulation of firms, mandatory continuing education reporting, an updated Code of Ethics, and changes to Council composition and nomination and election processes will improve public safety and confidence in the engineering and geoscience professions, ultimately resulting in stronger regulation and a safer British Columbia.
However, some policy work and concerns remain on other aspects of the legislation. Many of the changes are the PGA enables the granting of independent practice rights for regulators who do not currently have this authority, including independent practice rights for engineering technologists. We are concerned that a separate parallel regulator for certain aspects of engineering presents a risk by creating confusion for the public, government, and employers, and creates duplication and inefficiency. We are continuing to engage with the OSPG and ASTTBC to work towards a solution that does not create undue risk.
We continue to work with the OSPG to provide our perspective to government, and to ensure they understand the complexities, risks, and positive alternatives to any proposed policy change. We will continue to advocate that any changes must benefit the overall public good and follow the principle of Right Touch Regulation.
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 on a 3-year rolling average.
- Registrants will need to verify their area of practice annually and keep their contact information up-to-date.
- The PGA also introduces broad changes to Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s governance structure, including nomination and election processes and the composition of Council.
While most changes will be introduced immediately in November, including the updated Code of Ethics for registrants, other changes will come into effect in 2021.
- By June 30, 2021, registrants will be required to report their area of practice to Engineers and Geoscientists BC. They will also be required to provide updated contact information, and to notify Engineers and Geoscientists BC within 30 days of any changes to this information.
- 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.
- Beginning July 2, 2021, engineering and geoscience firms will become regulated, and must apply for a permit to practice with Engineers and Geoscientists BC.
- New requirements for Council size and term length will take effect for the 2021 Council. To prepare for these changes, Councillors elected in 2020 will be assigned varied term lengths to allow for an effective transition.
Learn more about the some of the new requirements by visiting the following pages:
To bring our current policies and procedures in line with the requirements of the PGA, all of Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s current bylaws were reviewed, and many new bylaws were drafted, to ensure compliance with this new legislation.
Council reviewed each of the bylaw amendments at their meeting in June. The Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance will now complete a rigorous review of the bylaws, which will come into effect when the PGA comes into force later this year.
We want to ensure registrants are kept updated and informed throughout our transition to the PGA.
Watch for regular updates on this webpage and articles in eNews and Innovation, as well as a special pull-out reference guide in the Sept/Oct edition of Innovation. We’re planning a webinar series on key obligations and requirements starting in October and continuing into 2021.
The full text of the legislation is available on the BC government’s website.
Background information on the Professional Reliance Review.
Have a question about the PGA? Contact [email protected].