Activity Report


Editor's Note: The following statistics track this year's APEGGA Compliance Department activity from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31. The department's job is to enforce the right-to-practice and right-to-title provisions of the EGGP Act Part 1. The Compliance Department's focus, therefore, is on individuals and companies that are not members — those which may be, inadvertently or otherwise, holding themselves out as members or practicing the professions illegally.

Active files as of January 1, 2005



Files opened during period



Files Resolved for Individuals






   Ceased using restricted title



   Personal registration



   Verified not practicing



   Files Resolved for Companies






   Permits issued or reinstated



   Ceased using restricted title/violating



   Verified not practicing



Active Files at May 31, 2004




*Note: Compliance files not mentioned above were resolved for various other reasons such as confirmation that an individual or company is already registered with APEGGA, verification that an individual contacted is not living or working in Alberta, clarification that a company is actually a trade name of a member etc.

Investigation of Cancelled Permits

In February's column, we discussed how the Compliance Department pursues the misuse of titles by individuals and corporations not licensed with APEGGA. Now we'll discuss how the Compliance Department follows up on permits to practice cancelled by APEGGA's Permit Department for various reasons.

The regulatory procedure is that Compliance actively contacts and pursues permit violations with non-members. The subsequent permit application is submitted for final approval to APEGGA's Permit Department.

Due to increased efforts by the Compliance Department and the Enforcement Review Committee to achieve Council's goal of 100 per cent compliance, the number of permits has increased substantially over the last few years. This has resulted in a corres-ponding increase in the number of permits cancelled by the Permit Department.

Many of these are legitimate for reasons — such as mergers, dissolving the company, or a change of activities — and do not require follow up. In these situations, sufficient justification is normally provided to enable the Permit Department to make an informed decision and satisfactorily resolve the issue.

The Permit Department is obligated to cancel other permits — and forward the files to the Compliance Department because the permit holder provides little or no information to indicate that anything has changed in activities since the permit was originally approved. We send notification to the company that the permit has been cancelled and that the company is not authorized to engage in or offer to engage in the practice of engineering, geology or geophysics in Alberta.

Some companies remove the words “engineering,” “geological,” “geophysical” or variations from their title and voluntarily cancel their permit. Nothing else has changed. The company continues to employ professional members and no information is provided to indicate that the activities are any different.
The Compliance Department advises these companies that a permit to practice entitles a company to practice and hold itself out to practice in Alberta. Whether the deleted words are used in the name is a personal choice and not a valid reason to cancel a permit.

Most of the time, we determine that the activities have not changed and the permit is reinstated.

In other situations, companies:

• Stop paying their annual permit fee as well as submitting their annual permit to practice report
• Voluntarily cancel their permit due to the departure of their responsible member
• Had originally obtained the permit only on the insistence of a responsible member no longer there, and non-member managers never totally bought in
• Claim that engineering services are contracted out and stamping of documents is not required.

In each of these situations, the Compliance Department begins an investigation focused primarily on confirming whether activities still constitute the practice for which the permit was initially obtained.
If the situation has not changed, the company is required to reinstate its permit. In most cases, this involves acquiring the services of another responsible member.

In the case of claims of contracted services, the resolution is determined by the details and proportion of work outsourced. We also look at how the decisions are made about what constitutes the practice of APEGGA's professions, and at who makes them.


Q: What is the purpose of the Permit to Practice?

A: It's required by law, for one. But the permit does have real value, beyond that. It provides a valuable means to prevent non-qualified persons from practicing the three professions. It is primarily an instrument of quality control for the purpose of influencing professional practice within a corporation.
The permit holder is a corporate member and is subject to the same standards of skill and ethics as an individual professional member. The responsible member requirement in regulation 48(1)(c) is for the purpose of ensuring this accountability within a corporation. New regulations 48(1)(d) and 48.1 were recently approved by the Alberta Government for the purpose of strengthening the importance and value of the permit. These regulations require that permit holders follow a Professional Practice Management Plan and that their responsible members attend a Permit to Practice Seminar, once every five years.