Engineering and geoscience firms have long been regulated across Canada, but in BC, the Engineers and Geoscientists Act contains an exclusion that has prevented Engineers and Geoscientists BC from enforcing regulatory requirements for firms. To help bridge this gap, the Organizational Quality Management (OQM) Program was created in 2012—a voluntary certification program for firms demonstrating they meet Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s quality management requirements. Since its launch, the OQM Program has certified more than 400 firms.
The Professional Governance Act will soon come into effect in BC, however, and will introduce a new requirement for Engineers and Geoscientists BC to regulate firms. As of July 2, 2021, all firms offering engineering or geoscience services or products in BC will be required to apply for a permit to practice on a mandatory basis, superseding the voluntary requirements of the OQM Program.
To review the impacts of these new requirements on the OQM Program, Engineers and Geoscientists BC Council established an advisory committee to evaluate the future of this voluntary program in the context of mandatory firm regulation. The committee concluded that maintaining the OQM Program alongside a mandatory permit to practice would introduce additional cost to firms, create confusion, and would primarily serve to provide a market advantage to firms—conflicting with restrictions on advocacy programs coming into effect under the Professional Governance Act. After considering the committee’s analysis and recommendations, the decision was made to discontinue the OQM Program as of July 2, 2021.
In the lead-up to this transition, OQM certified firms can continue to use the OQM logo and reference their certification. Applications for OQM certification will no longer be accepted after December 31, 2020.
Engineers and Geoscientists BC would like to thank all OQM-certified firms for their dedication to quality management and their participation in this program. The OQM Program helped to establish a culture of high standards in the engineering and geoscience industries, and has enhanced public protection through greater accountability and reduced risk.
For more information, visit egbc.ca/firms or email [email protected].
Photo: Songquan Deng/iStockPhoto.com