How will firms be regulated? (Updated)

  • Engineers and Geoscientists BC is the first regulatory body given the authority through regulation to regulate firms.
  • The OSPG and all regulatory bodies are working collaboratively towards granting the other regulatory bodies the authority to regulate firms in the future, in an estimated timeframe of two to five years.
  • The regulatory bodies are working towards a regulation of firms program that is as consistent across the different regulatory bodies as is practical.

What are the requirements for engineering and geoscience firms? (New)

  • At this time, firms doing engineering or geoscience work in the province will have to register with EGBC through their website.
  • Registrant firms are required to meet the requirements of the PGA and EGBC bylaws.
  • There are three pillars to the regulation of firms program: ethics, continuing professional development and quality management.
  • The main requirements of registration are completing the registration process itself and a Professional Practice Management Plan that covers policies of the firm that show how the firm will meet it’s ethical, continuing professional development and quality management requirements.
  • A requirement of registration will include mandatory training for delegates of the firms in how to prepare their required Professional Practice Management Plan and have their firm meet the ethical, quality management and continuing education requirements of registration.
  • Once registered, firms will receive a Permit to Practice that is required to practice engineering or geoscience in the province.

Will firms with registrants in two or more regulatory bodies be required to register with each regulatory body?  (New)

  • As other regulatory bodies beyond EGBC are authorized to regulate firms there will likely be a requirement for a firm engaged in the regulated practice of more than one profession to register with multiple regulatory bodies.
  • A working group of all the regulatory bodies and the OSPG is considering the best way to implement multidisciplinary firm regulation to reduce administrative burden including ways to streamline the registration process and align registration requirements.

What does it mean that government registrants must be prescribed as firms? (New)

  • The definition of ‘firms’ in the PGA is broad and encompasses any entity doing the regulated practice of engineering or geoscience at this time, including local government bodies, but the definition distinguishes government registrants, meaning provincial government ministries and agencies, as needing to be prescribed.
  • This means that unlike the private sector where all firms offering services in engineering and geoscience will have to register, government ministries and agencies that are doing engineering and geoscience work need to be specifically named by government to participate.
  • Including government ministries in such regulation is novel and has its own challenges, due to the size and complexity of these bodies and the complex regulatory environment they already operate in. Many of the ministries and agencies that would be logical to include have been named and once the details of this process are worked out, the others will likely be added.

What is the timeframe/schedule for the different ministries to become registered as government registrant firms? (New)

  • There is no set timeframe.
  • Once the OSPG and EGBC have lessons learned from the first round of ministries and agencies that have been named, government will likely move to prescribe other government entities as firms.

If a ‘firm’ registers, how are the non-registrants who work for the firm considered?  (New)

  • There should be little direct effect on non-registrant employees.
  • The registration of the firms is meant to assure alignment and avoid conflict between the firm’s policies and procedures with the professional obligations individual registrants have.