On January 3, 2020, a panel of the Discipline Committee (the Panel) determined that Hans Heringa, P.Eng., breached section 30(4) of the Engineers and Geoscientists Act by failing to respond to three requests for a copy of his complete file related to a Record of Sewerage System that he submitted for a property located in Qualicum Beach, BC. On June 18, 2020, the Panel issued the Decision on Penalty and Costs, ordering Mr. Heringa to pay a fine of $5,000 and $23,463.36 toward Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s legal costs. Mr. Heringa is also required to complete the Professional Engineering and Geoscience Practice in BC Online Seminar and complete and pass the Professional practice Examination.
Engineers and Geoscientists BC issued a Notice of Inquiry to Hans Heringa on April 17, 2019, regarding his failure to respond to three requests for his complete file related to a Record of Sewerage System that he submitted for subdivision purposes for a Qualicum Beach, BC, property. A disciplinary inquiry was held on October 16, 2019.
On January 3, 2020, a panel of the Discipline Committee (the Panel) concluded that Mr. Heringa violated section 30(4) of the Engineers and Geoscientists Act, which requires that a member under investigation provide any information or records that the Investigation Committee requires. The Panel found that Mr. Heringa provided the file in in May 2019—not by November 9, 2018, as requested. The Panel did not accept Mr. Heringa’s evidence that the file request was unclear, or that he did not have time to provide the file until May 2019.
The Panel found that, pursuant to section 30(4) of the Engineers and Geoscientists Act, Mr. Heringa does not take seriously his obligations as a member. The Panel found that compliance with section 30(4) of the Engineers and Geoscientists Act is important not just to ensure that this particular investigation proceeded in a timely manner, but also because Engineers and Geoscientists BC is a self-governing profession whose primary mandate is to protect the public. The Panel stated that Engineers and Geoscientists BC relies upon the cooperation and compliance of its member during the investigation process in order to effectively regulate the profession.
On June 18, 2020, the Panel issued their Decision and Order on Penalty and Costs. The Panel found Mr. Heringa’s conduct to be serious, because it impaired Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s ability to investigate the complaint in a timely manner. The Panel also found that Mr. Heringa’s conduct prevented Engineers and Geoscientists BC from fulfilling its statutory mandate of public protection, which requires cooperation and compliance from its members during an investigation in order to effectively regulate the profession of engineering.
In addition, the Panel found that Mr. Heringa’s submissions indicated a lack of remorse, and that he did not adequately acknowledge his misconduct. The Panel highlighted, for example, that Mr. Heringa referred to the Panel as a “Kangaroo Court”, and suggested that he is entitled to an honorarium and apology. The Panel stated that Mr. Heringa “flouts the panel’s authority and process and has no remorse.”
In additional submissions, Mr. Heringa reiterated his request for an apology and an honorarium, pointing out that he provided the requested documents and participated in the hearing. Mr. Heringa added that the Panel should reconsider its decision.
However, the Panel rejected these arguments and ordered the following penalties against Mr. Heringa.
- He is required to complete the Professional Engineering and Geoscientists in BC Online Seminar at his own expense no later than 6 months from the date of the Panel’s decision on penalty.
- He is required to complete and pass the Professional Practice Examination at his own expense no later than 6 months from the date of the Panel’s decision on penalty.
- He will pay a fine of $5,000 no later than 30 days from the date of the Panel’s decision on penalty.
- He will pay to Engineers and Geoscientists BC costs of $23,463.36 (an amount equivalent to 70% of its investigation and legal costs) within 18 months from the date of the Panel’s decision on penalty.
The Panel also ordered that, if Mr. Heringa does not fulfill the requirements of this penalty within the required time periods, his membership will be suspended until he has done so.
The full text of the Determination of the Discipline Committee and the Decision and Order of the Discipline Committee on Penalty and Costs can be found in the Discipline Notices section of our website, at egbc.ca/Discipline-Notices.
Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s website contains information on the complaint, investigation, and discipline processes. You can contact us at 604.558.6647 or toll-free at 1.888.430.8035 ext. 6647, or by email at [email protected].