Task Force Lays Out Approach to Corporate Regulation

Posted on September 6, 2018

The development of a model for the regulation of organizations practising engineering and geoscience in BC has reached its next stage.

Since the Fall of 2015, Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Advisory Task Force on Corporate Practice has been leading an evaluation of engineering and geoscience practice by corporate entities, and corporate regulation as a means to enhance public protection. In Canada, the practice of engineering and geoscience by companies is regulated in every province except for BC and Quebec.

In Phase 1, the task force considered whether the association should pursue regulation of organizations practicing engineering and geoscience in BC. This work concluded in April 2017 with a recommendation to Council to pursue regulatory authority over corporate practice (Outlined in the task force’s Phase 1 report). Council accepted the task force’s recommendations and directed it to proceed with the second phase of the initiative, with the goal of recommending a model for corporate regulation.

The task force concluded Phase 2 with consensus on a recommended model for corporate regulation, presenting its report to Council in June. That report is now available online.

An Approach to Corporate Regulation

In developing options for corporate practice oversight, Council directed the Advisory Task Force on Corporate Practice to recommend a model which:

  • demonstrates positive impacts to protect the public interest and the environment;
  • provides benefit to the regulated organizations and professionals that they employ; and
  • is scalable to accommodate the size and nature of organizations and be administratively efficient.

With this direction, the task force identified seven key components to their recommended approach for regulating corporate practice. The proposed model would address the following:

  1. Regulatory Coverage: The corporate practice program should include all organizations in the private and public sectors that provide products and/or services in BC requiring the practice of professional engineering and professional geoscience.
  2. Regulatory Model: A corporate regulatory model should be based on three pillars:
  • Ethics
  • Quality Management
  • Professional Development
  1. Documentation: All regulated organizations must have a Professional Practice Management Plan (PPMP) in place and available for review upon request by Engineers and Geoscientists BC. 
  2. Compliance and Enforcement: A range of mechanisms need to be available to the association to deliver effective and proportional compliance and enforcement of corporate practice requirements including audits, production of documents, public notices, fines, negotiated consent orders, investigations, public complaint process and practice restrictions.
  3. Cost-Recovery: The corporate practice program should be funded through a cost-recovery model that is scaled in proportion to the number of engineering and geoscience professionals that are employed by an organization and that are licensed to practice in BC.
  4. Legislation: The current provisions in the Engineers and Geoscientists Act with respect to Certificates of Authorization should be revised as appropriate to reflect the recommendations above
  5. Organizational Quality Management Program: The Organizational Quality Management Program should continue as a value-added and voluntary certification program.

In its report, the task force recommended the implementation of a quality management focused model that is consistent with other regulatory jurisdictions, but which represents a ‘made in BC’ approach that reflects the province’s unique situation.

Next Steps

At Council’s direction, the task force will proceed with Phase 3 of its work. This will include undertaking consultation with members to further examine the appropriate level of regulatory oversight for sole practitioners. It will also include developing a business plan with timelines, and identifying resource requirements to implement the regulatory model approved by Council.

For implementation of the corporate regulation model to occur, the provincial government will also first need to amend the Engineers and Geoscientists Act to grant Engineers and Geoscientists BC regulatory authority over corporate entities.

Full details of the regulatory model recommended by the task force are available in the Phase 2 report to Council. The report, as well a background information and other resources can be found on our Corporate Practice webpage at egbc.ca/About/Initiatives-and-Consultations/Corporate-Practice-in-BC.

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