Apegga1c.gif (2007 bytes) The PEGG
July, 1999
Page 1

Court Finds Sherwood Park Resident Guilty of 11 Violations of EGGP Act

A criminal prosecution under the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act (EGGP) has resulted in Sherwood Park man, Dennis Edward Huculak, 36, being found guilty by a provincial court judge on 11 charges of unlawful representation, resulting in fines totalling $5,500 or six months in jail.

Mr. Huculak’s offences, which took place early in 1998, occurred under section 3(b)(ii) of the EGGP Act, APEGGA’s governing legislation. Section 3 of the Act deals with exclusive use of the title engineer and with prohibitions on individuals, corporations, partnerships or any other entity, except a professional engineer, licensee or Permit holder, engaging in the practice of engineering.

The case was heard in the Provincial Court of Alberta in Edmonton on June 7 and 8, and Provincial Court Judge J.P. Jorgensen delivered his decision June 23.

Mr. Huculak was the chief operating officer of two companies which were issued APEGGA Permits to Practice — namely Edward-Nelson Corporation, which received a Permit to Practice in March 1991, and Edward-Douglas Engineering, which had an APEGGA Permit to Practice issued in May 1997. Mr. Huculak, who holds a diploma in water resources technology from NAIT, was listed as a principal of the companies but not as the responsible professional Member listed on the Permit.

The court was told APEGGA received a report of Mr. Huculak’s use of a "P.Eng." stamp. The reporting party knew Mr. Huculak was not a registered APEGGA member.

Mr. Huculak had been able to obtain a stamp with his name by misrepresenting himself at APEGGA’s Edmonton office. Based on database searches and as a result of another Member practicing engineer in Calgary having identical names to those of Mr. Huculak, the Sherwood Park resident erroneously was assigned a P.Eng. designation when the Permits were granted.

In his defence, Mr. Huculak claimed that an error had been committed by APEGGA because of confusion relating to the professional Member with the same name.

Further in his defence, Mr. Huculak claimed he believed himself to have been "grand-fathered" into APEGGA as a P.Eng. Although he claimed to have applied for registration with APEGGA several years ago, APEGGA has no record of his application. If he had applied for registration, as a graduate of a technical institute, he would have been assessed examinations.

Mr. Huculak used the stamp obtained from APEGGA on drawings submitted to Alberta Environment and Natural Resources in Calgary. The drawings were submitted on behalf of a client seeking permission to build pipeline crossings over several creeks.

Crown Prosecutor Gary Cornfield noted that provincial officials, in granting approvals, take into account whether the drawings are stamped by a properly qualified professional engineer. When it appeared Mr. Huculak did not meet that qualification, the matter was turned over to the Calgary Police Service Commercial Crime Unit for investigation. It led Crown prosecutors in Calgary to lay charges under the EGGP Act.

In finding the accused guilty on all counts, Judge Jorgensen said Mr. Huculak took advantage of a mistake on APEGGA’s part to hold himself out as a professional engineer. The judge also rejected the defence argument that the misrepresentation resulted from an "officially induced error".

In arguing in favour of a fine of $1,000 per offence (the maximum is $2,000) having a deterrent value, Crown Prosecutor Cornfield noted: "engineers do important work in society and their work is relied upon in terms of safety to the public."

Judge Jorgensen accepted the defence argument that there was no evidence that there had been any direct damage to the physical environment as a result of the improperly stamped drawings. He imposed a fine of $500 per offence.

Home | Past PEGGs | Contact | Ad Rates