Code of Ethics Under the PGA
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.
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 once the Professional Governance Act is in force.
The Code of Ethics required in the Professional Governance Act, S.B.C. 2018, c. 47 and the Bylaws of Engineers and Geoscientists BC provides a set of principles that all Registrants are required to follow.
Registrants must act at all times with fairness, courtesy, and in good faith toward all persons with whom the Registrant has professional dealings, and in accordance with the public interest. Registrants 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:
- 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;
- Practice only in those fields where training and ability make the Registrant professionally competent;
- Have regard for the common law and any applicable enactments, federal enactments, or enactments of another province;
- Have regard for applicable standards, policies, plans, and practices established by the government or Engineers and Geoscientists BC;
- Maintain competence in relevant specializations, including advances in the regulated practice and relevant science;
- Provide accurate information in respect of qualifications and experience;
- Provide professional opinions that distinguish between facts, assumptions, and opinions;
- 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;
- Report to Engineers and Geoscientists BC and, if applicable, any other appropriate authority, if the Registrant, on reasonable and probable grounds, believes that:
- 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
- A registrant or another individual has made decisions or engaged in practices which may be illegal or unethical;
- Present clearly to employers and clients the possible consequences if professional decisions or judgments are overruled or disregarded;
- Clearly identify each registrant who has contributed professional work, including recommendations, reports, statements, or opinions;
- Undertake work and documentation with due diligence and in accordance with any guidance developed to standardize professional documentation for the applicable profession; and
- 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.