The PGA allows a regulatory body to regulate firms when it has been extended the authority through regulation and has developed the necessary bylaws to do so. Regulated firms must become registrants of the regulatory bodies and like individual registrants, must comply with the requirements of the PGA, subsequent regulations and the bylaws of the regulatory bodies.
Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC) worked towards the regulation of firms for many years, building upon the experience of other jurisdictions in regulating engineering firms. They were given authority in February 2021 to regulate firms that provide engineering and geoscience services, and started registering firms in July 2021.
The regulatory program for firms developed by EGBC is centered on Ethics, Continued Education, and Quality Management. EGBC’s program is influenced by at least three factors: EGBC’s similar, voluntary Organizational Quality Management (OQM) program for firms that they ran successfully for several years prior; the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA)’s firm regulation program; and the International Organization of Standardization (ISO)’s quality management systems. The regulation of firms allows for greater accountability of professional firms, aligning a firm’s professional obligations with the obligations of its professional staff, while providing an educational and value-added program for the registrant firms. More information on EGBC’s program can be found on their website.
Other regulatory bodies may develop regulatory programs and be granted authority to regulate firms in the future, building upon the experience and lessons learned from EGBC. How multi-disciplinary firms may be regulated in the future is an important policy area that requires further development.