Regulation of Firms Now in Force
The Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance and Engineers and Geoscientists BC are pleased to announce the regulation of professional engineering and professional geoscience firms beginning July 2, 2021. Under the new provincial Professional Governance Act (PGA), entities that engage in the practice of professional engineering or geoscience as part of their operations, including firms that only provide these services internally, are required to register for a Permit to Practice. Registration opens July 2, 2021, and firms will be required to complete their registration before September 30, 2021.
The regulation includes entities in the private and public sector, including consulting firms, local government, manufacturers, and sole practitioners. It also includes specific ministries, crown corporations, and agencies named in section 1 (1) of the regulation, with other ministries and crown corporations planned to be included in future phases.
July marks the culmination of extensive consultation and refinement to form the regulatory program now in force. Through a multi-year consultation with the OSPG, industry, and professional registrants, Engineers and Geoscientists BC developed a program that ensures legislative requirements can be met without undue administrative burden on firms, while supporting the shared goal of strengthening public safety and protecting the environment. Engineers and Geoscientists BC is the first regulatory body under the PGA to begin regulating firms. However, other regulatory bodies may develop programs and be granted authority to regulate firms in the future, building upon the experience and lessons learned from Engineers and Geoscientists BC.
The firm regulatory model is built upon three pillars of professional practice: ethics, quality management, and continuing education. It seeks to improve regulatory oversight, protect the public interest, and provide opportunities for firms to improve processes and reduce risk; in most cases, it’s about formalizing responsible practices that are already in place.
Implementing firm regulation will bring Engineers and Geoscientists BC into line with other provincial regulatory bodies across Canada, providing additional oversight of engineering and geoscience firms. Through required training, practice standards, and proactive auditing, the Permit to Practice requirements will enhance the quality of practice of firms, ultimately enhancing the health, safety, and environmental protections of British Columbia.