Activity Report

Editor’s Note: The following statistics track this year’s APEGGA Compliance Department activity from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30. 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, 2004  
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 Sept 30, 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, and clarification that a company is actually a trade name of a member etc.

In previous Compliance Department columns, we reported on our activities pertaining to the permit to practice. This time, we would like to update you on the Compliance Department’s activities and progress relating to title violations, in particular, use of the word “engineer” in the title “Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer” (MCSE).
This is a Microsoft program in which that title is bestowed by Microsoft upon the program’s graduates.

Although the activity of the graduates is not considered to be the practice of engineering, use of the word “engineer” in the title is misleading to the public and is in violation of the EGGP Act, Section 3(1), as it implies that the individuals are professional engineers.

In and around the year 2000, there was a proliferation of the use of “engineer” in the Microsoft title. The Compliance Department conducted a survey and determined that there were approximately 90 learning institutions offering the MCSE program in Alberta. In conducting the survey, it was concluded that an awareness program was required as most of these institutions did not know of APEGGA and its responsibilities under the EGGP Act. As a result, a focused action plan was developed and put in place to contact each institution.

Information sessions were organized in 2000. These were held over breakfast and lunch in both Calgary and Edmonton. Invitations were extended to the decision makers from all of the institutions offering the MCSE program.

The objective was to introduce and develop an appreciation for APEGGA and its regulatory responsibilities. An overview of APEGGA was presented at each session, in which the major focus was on the exclusive use of the word engineer.

Grads At Risk
We emphasized that the graduates of the programs, and not the institutions, are subject to legal action. By including the word engineer in the MCSE title, the various institutions are creating potentially embarrassing situations for their graduates and making them vulnerable to prosecution under the EGGP Act.

Quite a few of the institutions were not familiar with APEGGA, and after attending the information sessions immediately agreed to comply. Others were more reluctant, primarily due to their relationship with Microsoft.
After the completion of the information sessions, the Compliance Department continued with ongoing follow-up, as well as monitoring of advertisements, websites and promotional literature. As a result, more institutions are gradually complying with the EGGP Act and the results are encouraging.

The recent success by Ordre des Ingenieurs du Quebec in its prosecution of Microsoft Canada has also contributed to this increased compliance. We are now finding a distinct decline in the use of the word “engineer” in the MCSE title.

Many institutions are simply using the acronym without any reference to the word “engineer.” Others have replaced “engineer” with “expert”. By removing or replacing the word “engineer” with a more appropriate word, learning facilities are not prevented from offering or advertising the course or other similar courses in this province.

Recently we received some additional encouraging news, relating to two large institutions that had been reluctant to modify their program advertising. In addition to using “engineer” in the MCSE and other unaccredited engineering programs, they were also using the word “engineer” in the titles of future employment opportunities for their graduates.

After continued contact, and in one case a face-to-face meeting with senior management, these two institutions have now modified their respective websites to replace the word “engineer.”

We’ve also taken note that one large Edmonton college was advertising the MCSE program on a large sign outside one of its building as “Microsoft Certified Systems Expert.”

In addition to maintaining contact with the various educational institutions, several meetings were held by the Compliance Department during the early stages of this focused program with senior managers in Alberta Learning. They were very supportive and actually drafted a notice to be sent to the educational institutions. The notice describes the potential legal concerns.

The Compliance Department continues to monitor websites, newspaper advertisements and other sources for title and practice violations, but we also rely on our members and members of the public to report violations to APEGGA.

If you become aware of any such violations, please contact us.

If you suspect a non-member
or non-permitted company of
operating in contravention of the
EGGP Act, contact
Louise Heron
Toll-free 1-800-661-7020, Ext. 2325


Q. Where is it stated in the EGGP Act that an individual must be a member of APEGGA to use the title “engineer”?

A. Information outlining the restriction of the title “engineer” by non-members can be found in Section 3(1) of the EGGP Act. It states the following:
Exclusive use of name engineer

3(1) No individual, corporation, partnership or other entity, except a professional engineer, licensee or permit holder entitled to engage in the practice of engineering, shall

(a) use

(i) the title “professional engineer”, the abbreviation
“P. Eng.” or any other abbreviation of that title, or
(ii) the word “engineer” in combination with any other name, title, description, letter, symbol or abbreviation that represents expressly or by implication that the individual, corporation, partnership or other entity is a professional engineer, licensee or permit holder,

(b) represent or hold out, expressly or by implication, that the individual, corporation, partnership or other entity

(i) is entitled to engage in the practice of engineering, or
(ii) is a professional engineer, licensee or permit holder.

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