Responding to Questions on
Continuing Professional Development
1. Member Status - Practicing versus Non-Practicing
How will I know if I am "practicing" or "non-practicing"?
The Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act, Regulations and Bylaws contains broad definitions of the practice of engineering, geology and geophysics, comprising, reporting, advising, evaluating, and interpreting. These definitions are applicable to the majority of activities undertaken by APEGGA members ranging from purely technical to administrative and managerial. Members should carefully consider declaring their status as non-practicing. APEGGA will offer help in this determination. The following definitions are consolidated from the Act (for actual wording refer to the Act).
- Engineering means reporting on, advising on, evaluating, designing, preparing plans and specifications for or directing the construction, technical inspection, maintenance or operation of any structure, work or process aimed at the discovery, development or utilization of matter, materials or energy and that requires application of the principles of mathematics, chemistry, physics or any related applied subject.
- Geology means reporting, advising on, evaluating, interpreting, geological surveying, sampling or examining aimed at the discovery or development of oil, natural gas, coal, metallic, or non-metallic minerals, precious stones, other natural resources or water and that requires the professional application of the principles of the geological sciences.
- Geophysics means reporting on, advising on, acquiring, processing, evaluating or interpreting geophysical data, or geophysical surveying aimed at the discovery or development of oil, natural gas, coal, metallic or non-metallic minerals or precious stones or other natural resources or water or that is aimed at the investigation of subsurface conditions in the earth and that requires application of the principles of the geophysical sciences.
Also included are teaching engineering, geology or geophysics at a university.
What is involved in moving from "non-practicing" to "practicing" and who will decide when conditions are met?
A change in declaration will result in a review by APEGGA to confirm job activities and the existence of a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program. Depending on the findings, further follow-up, such as an audit or a practice review, may be carried out to verify member competence.
Is a senior or semi-retired member "practicing" or "non-practicing" and on what conditions?
If you accept responsibility for any work as defined in the Act you are considered to be practicing in that area.
What about senior level managers who hire and direct members: are they practicing?
If they hire and direct those who are practicing the profession in accordance with the definition, or are involved in activities that are part of the definition, they are practicing.
If I am "non-practicing", can APEGGA regulate what I do?
As long as they are members of APEGGA, non-practicing members are still subject to the Code of Ethics and the Regulations.
Does the program apply to Members-in-Training?
No, the M.I.T. program focuses on obtaining the qualifications necessary for professional registration. Now finalized, the new MIT Guideline will be introduced late 1998 or early 1999.
However, 2 years after graduation the Continuing Professional Development Guideline will be forwarded in preparation for meeting the CPD requirements after registration as professional member. In applying for professional membership, M.I.T.'s will be expected to submit a Continuing Professional Development Plan for their first year as a professional. The date for implementation of this requirement has not been finalized. Once professional registration is granted, new members are required to report their practicing status, industries of practice and areas of specialization. Reporting of Professional Development Hours commences on the first anniversary of registration.
What happens to dual registrants - e.g. P. Geol., P. Eng.?
Dual registrants will be expected to develop a CPD Plan to conform with their specific individual scope of practice whether it be engineering, geology, geophysics or a combination.
Can non-practicing members still use the professional title or designation?
Yes! Non-practicing members worked hard to earn their designation by meeting both education and experience requirements. They may continue to use the professional designation of P.Eng., P.Geol., or P.Geoph., but may not represent themselves to be practicing. Non-practicing members remain obligated to comply with the Code of Ethics.
2. Individual Scope of Practice
Is it possible to be a "generalist"?
Yes! Each member prepares his or her own Individual Scope of Practice and can define the generalist nature of his or her role within this scope. A CPD Program will be developed to suit. You can include activities that are required to ensure your competency as required under Rule 2 in the Code of Ethics.
Practice areas can and do overlap - how is this to be managed?
This is analogous to the "generalist" and should be managed in a similar fashion. Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics does not prevent members from tackling new challenges and learning new skills.
What if the scope of practice is outside engineering, geology or geophysics?
If it was truly outside the definitions of practice as stated in the Act, the individual could elect to be non-practicing. If you choose to be practicing, your program will have to reflect a different direction.
Will this definition restrict member movement unnecessarily?
No! This should enhance mobility opportunities. Organizations such as the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE), The Canadian Academy of Engineering, and The National Academy of Engineering (U.S.A.) have developed reports and guidelines in support of the lifelong learning process. Several provincial and U.S. state licensing bodies have established formal continuing education requirements, or are in the process of developing programs. APEGGA's program is compatible with the CCPE program and programs in various stages of completion by other provincial associations.
Why does one need an Individual Scope of Practice - isn't a plan for continuing development sufficient?
An Individual Scope of Practice, defines where an individual is and helps define competencies and skills required to do his or her job. Without one, it would be difficult to develop a plan and measure or evaluate its effectiveness.
3. Program Activities; What are Acceptable and Why?
Who should (will) pay the costs of training and development? The employee? The employer? Can APEGGA require the employer to pay all costs?
Many of the activities will not be an incremental cost to either employees or employers. The CPD Program developed by APEGGA provides members with flexibility in the selection of activities. The primary responsibility for a CPD Program and maintaining competence rests with the individual professional. APEGGA can only encourage employers to support the program. The employer has a role to play in professional development, and permit holders have an obligation to ensure that professionals in their employ are competent.
Who assesses whether the activities really are applicable? What guidelines exist?
Each individual practicing member will be responsible for developing an acceptable program, based on his or her assessment of required competencies or job skills. APEGGA will carry out random audits of members, to ensure compliance with the guidelines. Should further review be necessary, technical experts may become involved in determining applicability of the program. Should practicing members be audited or have their practice reviewed by APEGGA, they will need to provide documentation of their activities and demonstrate that their program is appropriate. Non-practicing members will need to demonstrate they are indeed not practicing. The manual for "Continuing Professional Development" and other guidelines, such as the guideline for "Professional Practice", are available resources.
Choosing activities from at least three categories is too restrictive given the nature of practice.
The program identifies six categories to allow flexibility and to recognize the diversity of the membership. Activities in three of the six categories are required so members obtain exposure to various forms of lifelong learning.
What is meant by the member being required to "demonstrate activity"?
The answer to this question has changed somewhat since the publication of this CPD Guideline. This phrase is used in the context of non-practicing members who change to practicing status, transferees from other provincial/territorial jurisdictions and previous members who are requesting reinstatement. They will be expected to comply with the requirements of the program once registered and may expect to follow-up to confirm the creation of their own CPD Plan within three months of registration. The specifics of a member's plan will vary with the duration of the period of non-practicing status, professional specialization, prior experience and intended scope of practice.
Why does community service count for Professional Development Hours (PDHs)?
Based on feedback receive from the membership, council decided to allow community service to count for up to 10 PDHs each year in order to recognize the dedication many of our members have shown towards making their communities a better place to live and work. Further, community service improves ones visibility in the community, broadens perspectives, and may lead to enhanced professional contacts and learning opportunities.
What are other Professional Engineering and GeoScience Associations doing with Professional Development?
APEGGA is leading the way in developing a comprehensive professional development program for its membership. Several provinces are now using the APEGGA model as a basis for developing their own programs. Currently, mandatory programs exist in Alberta and Newfoundland. British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick currently have voluntary programs that are expected to become mandatory in the near future. Quebec currently relies on a system of proactive performance reviews under its "Professional Inspection Program". Ontario is proposing a "Professional Excellence Program", and Saskatchewan, North West Territories, and Yukon are still assessing the issue. Mandatory programs also exist in fifteen U.S. states.
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