Engineers and Geoscientists BC

Firm Practice FAQs

  • 1. Does my firm require a Permit to Practice?

    All firms that engage in the practice of professional engineering or geoscience as part of their operations require a Permit to Practice. This includes firms in the private and public sectors, as well as sole practitioners.  The definition of "firm" in the Professional Governance Act means a Permit to Practice is required regardless of whether the professional practice is for the firm's internal use or for an external client.

    Firms that are regulated include (but are not limited to):

    • Consulting firms;
    • Natural resources, high tech, and other firms engaged in engineering or geoscience work;
    • Local government (including municipalities and similar entities);
    • Manufacturers (includes fabricators, processing plants, mills, maintenance facilities, or any other firm utilizing engineers and/or geoscientists in any part of their operations);
    • Ministries, Crown Corporations, and agencies named in the regulation; and
    • Sole practitioners (an individual who practices on their own and is either incorporated or unincorporated).

    Sole Practitioners

    Sole practitioners working on their own, either incorporated or unincorporated, are required to have a Permit to Practice. Engineers and Geoscientists BC recognizes the duality of being considered both an individual registrant and a firm registrant and accordingly, sole practitioners are provided a reduced annual fee, simplified engineering and geoscience templates for their Professional Practice Management Plan, and are exempted from selection for individual audits, thus only eligible for selection for a firm audit. In these ways Engineers and Geoscientists BC has reduced the requirements for sole practitioners which is proportionate to the size of their firm.

    A Permit to Practice is required for any and all engineering or geoscience work in BC regardless of whether the work is minimal, i.e., if an individual registrant is semi-retired and only working on a few projects, or for a specific client, a Permit to Practice is still required.  Ministries or agencies of the provincial government may be entitled to engage in engineering or geoscience work without a Permit to Practice unless they have been prescribed by regulation as government registrants.

    If you are unsure whether your firm requires a Permit to Practice, please complete the Permit to Practice Applicability Review Form, and submit the form to [email protected].

  • 2. How does a firm apply for a Permit to Practice?

    A Professional Registrant for the firm will need to complete the online application here.

  • 3. What are the fees for a Permit to Practice?

    For multi-professional firms, the fee is ($500 x √𝑛), where n is the number of individual registrants on the firm’s roster (list of all registrants including EITs and GITS).

    For sole practitioners, the fee is $250/year.

    Sole practitioners with two or less EIT(s) or GIT(s) on staff will still qualify for the discount and will not be charged additional fees for those registrants.

    The application fee is $350. A $100 credit is applied, to offset the cost of the Regulation of Firms Permit to Practice Training. Additional seats for training may be purchased.

  • 4. Why am I being charged retroactive Permit to Practice annual fees for past years?

    This is based on s 6.4(4) of the Bylaws of Engineers and Geoscientists BC. If a firm was not registered when the Permit to Practice requirements were implemented but was engaged in engineering or geoscience during this time, fees are applied up to a maximum of 3 years.

    If the firm is located outside of BC and has recently began engaging in the practice of professional engineering or geoscience work within the province, the date that the work began should be indicated in the field labeled "Date of Incorporation or, if unincorporated, date the firm started doing business in BC" within the online application.

  • 5. After I’ve submitted the online application, how long will it take to obtain the Permit to Practice for my firm?

    Once the application and all the required Declarations are completed by the Responsible Registrant(s) and Responsible Officer, the Permit to Practice will be issued within 7 business days, unless additional information is required. If additional information is required, you will be contacted by Engineers and Geoscientists BC staff.

  • 6. What is a Responsible Registrant and Responsible Officer?

    Responsible Registrant

    Firms are required to have at least one Responsible Registrant who acknowledges responsibility for the firm and will complete the Permit to Practice application. The Responsible Registrant must be an engineering or geoscience professional who will be responsible for ensuring that the firm’s practice meets ethical, quality management, and continuing education requirements. They will also serve as a point of contact for practice reviews, audits, and investigations. Firms can identify more than one Responsible Registrant if needed (e.g., a large firm with multiple lines of business might designate a different Responsible Registrant for each area of practice). Responsible Registrants are required to take the Regulation of Firms Permit to Practice Training to better understand their obligations.

    Please note that Responsible Registrants can be on contract with the registrant firm to allow for flexible employment arrangements, including residing outside of BC – as long as the Responsible Registrant has individual licensure with Engineers and Geoscientists BC and can fulfil the responsibilities remotely. A professional registrant can act as a Responsible Registrant for more than one firm. Professional Licensees (P.L.Eng. and P.L.Geo.) can also fulfil the Responsible Registrant role.

    If a Responsible Registrant ceases to fulfil its role for the Registrant Firm (i.e., no longer employed, terminates contract with firm, etc.) the Registrant Firm should immediately identify a replacement to avoid a condition prohibiting practice. If a replacement is not immediately available, please contact [email protected].

    Responsible Officer

    Firms are required to have one Responsible Officer (who may be the same individual as the Responsible Registrant). The Responsible Officer is the executive lead for their firm. This person does not need to be a registered engineering or geoscience professional but must have the authority to make binding decisions on behalf of the firm.

    If a Responsible Officer ceases to fulfil its role, the registrant firm must immediately identify a replacement to avoid a condition prohibiting practice being placed on the firm. If a replacement is not immediately available, please contact [email protected].

  • 7. Is a Permit to Practice required for firms that are based in another province/country but provide professional services in BC?

    Yes. All firms and sole practitioners that provide engineering or geoscience products or services in BC are required to have a Permit to Practice and abide by regulatory requirements established by Engineers and Geoscientists BC.

    If you are unsure whether your firm requires a Permit to Practice, please complete the Permit to Practice Applicability Review Form, and submit the form to [email protected].

  • 8. Is a Permit to Practice be required for firms that are based in BC but provide professional services exclusively outside of BC?

    Yes, the firm is required to register for a Permit to Practice.

    If you are unsure whether your firm requires a Permit to Practice, please complete the Permit to Practice Applicability Review Form, and submit the form to [email protected].

  • 9. How long will the Permit to Practice requirements take to complete and which yearly deadlines should I be aware of?

    Depending on the size of the firm, the estimated time to complete the Permit to Practice requirements are as follows:

    • Application process: 15 minutes–2 hours
    • Online training: approximately 8 hours
    • Professional Practice Management Plan: 4+ hours
    • To maintain a registrant firm’s Permit to Practice: 1–2 hours annually

    A registrant firm is required to renew its Permit to Practice annually. Permits to Practice are valid from July 1 to June 30. The renewal period has the following timeline:

    Date Action
    April 1 Annual renewal opens
    May 31 Deadline for information update and fee payment
    June 1 Late Reporting fee $100 plus
    A 15% late fee will be applied to the annual fee
    July 1 Firm will be prohibited from practice
    September 1 Permit to Practice is cancelled
  • 10. Who can I contact for more information or to check if the Permit to Practice requirement is applicable to my firm?

    If you are unsure whether your firm requires a Permit to Practice, please complete the Permit to Practice Applicability Review Form, and submit the form to [email protected].

    If you have any other questions, please contact [email protected].

  • 11. How and when does a firm apply the Permit to Practice number?

    Engineers and Geoscientists BC does not supply nor sell any stamps associated with Permit to Practice numbers. Registrant firms must apply their Permit to Practice number in a clear and legible way, handwritten or typed to all authenticated documents. Authenticated documents lacking a Permit to Practice number are in contravention of Bylaw 7.3.7(14) and may be rejected by the receiving party. Registrant firms may also add their Permit to Practice number to other documents including in a title block if it is being applied in the manner below.

    The Permit to Practice number may only be applied to a document by:

    • A Responsible Registrant of the registrant firm; or
    • An individual employed by or under contract with the registrant firm who is authorized to apply the Permit to Practice number in accordance with the registrant firm’s Professional Practice Management Plan. These authorizations must be contained in documented policies and procedures.

    Please also review Regulation of Firms Bulletin: Permit to Practice Number Usage as well as Practice Advisory: Permit to Practice Requirements for Letters of Assurance.

  • 12. What is the registrant firm’s responsibility as it relates to Continuing Education compliance for registrants employed by or under contract with the registrant firm?
    • Communicate the expectation that registrants must meet Continuing Education (CE) requirements as a proof of competency in their areas of practice. This must be documented in the registrant firm’s Professional Practice Management Plan. The registrant firm could facilitate this by providing:
      • Time off, paid and/or unpaid, to attend learning activities;
      • Financial support for learning activities; or
      • Firm-organized learning opportunities (e.g., conferences, seminars, lunch and learns, mentoring programs).
    • Set up clear policies to provide registrants with the opportunity to complete CE hours which are integrated into the registrant firm’s professional development plans and annual employee evaluation process.
    • Help registrants on leave complete the CE exemption application form and remind them to update their contact information through egbc.ca/Account so they can be reached at home with important updates.
    • Annually, a registrant firm that has more than one professional registrant employed by or under contract with the registrant firm must conduct a documented review with each professional registrant, in order to confirm that the professional registrant is maintaining their competency with respect to the regulated practice.
    • Retain all documentation that supports a documented review of a professional registrant conducted pursuant to subsection (2) for a minimum of 5 years after the documented review was completed.
    • Add egbca.ca as a safe sender in your firm’s email server to ensure emails aren’t lost to spam filters.

    Further details are available in section 5.0 of the Guide to the Continuing Education Program, and section 2.4.2.3 of the Regulation of Firms Permit to Practice Manual. See also PPMP Templates which all include a section on Continuing Education.

  • 13. How do I cancel my Permit to Practice?

    Please see the Cancelling a Permit to Practice page for eligibility and instructions.

  • 14. What if I am asked to share my Professional Practice Management Plan (PPMP) with a client, permitting authority, or another party?

    Some consumers of engineering or geoscience services have been requesting a copy of the registrant firm’s PPMP for pre-qualification of engineering or geoscience services. The PPMP is a document that is legally required by Engineers and Geoscientists BC Bylaws and is one of the requirements for maintaining a Permit to Practice.

    The decision to share or not share the PPMP is up to the registrant firm.

    There is no requirement for a registrant firm to share their PPMP with anyone other than Engineers and Geoscientists BC. We recommend that you speak directly with the party requesting a copy of your PPMP and offer to provide an executive summary of the PPMP or a similar document demonstrating how the firm is meeting or exceeding the Engineers and Geoscientists BC Permit to Practice requirements.

  • 15. Can I ask a potential service provider for a copy of their Professional Practice Management Plan (PPMP) as part of the tender process, prequalification, or other similar scenarios?
    The PPMP is a document that is legally required by Engineers and Geoscientists BC Bylaws and is one of the requirements for maintaining a Permit to Practice.

    There is no requirement for a registrant firm to share their PPMP with anyone other than Engineers and Geoscientists BC.

    However, it is good practice to confirm the quality management practices of a potential provider of engineering or geoscience services. Therefore, as part of a prequalification process, it would be appropriate to include a statement to the effect of:

    “Additional consideration will be given to firms that submit an executive summary of the firm’s PPMP or a similar document demonstrating how they are meeting or exceeding the Engineers and Geoscientists BC Permit to Practice requirements.”
  • 16. I work for a federal entity or under federal regulation. Is my firm required to be licensed with Engineers and Geoscientists BC?
    Please see the position of Engineers and Geoscientists BC on Federal Jurisdiction on our website here