October 2001

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What Happens When A Compliance Violation is Identified? APEGGA Seeks Voluntary Compliance But Sometimes Must Proceed to Prosecution

Director, Compliance

In the September column, I talked about titles that are exclusive to registered members of APEGGA, why protected titles are a concern, and how the Compliance Department determines whether a title violation exists. I explained how in the case of title violations, the offender has two options to avoid legal proceedings:

· If qualified, seek registration with APEGGA, or
· Change the title or corporate name that is violating the EGGP Act.

In this column, I will review the Compliance Department's procedure for contacting individuals and companies regarding title violations, and mechanisms that enable the department to compel compliance with the EGGP Act.

The process is both proactive and reactive, with information coming to the Association from any one of a number of possible sources, including:

· Complaints/inquiries from APEGGA members and the general public.
· Search of the Alberta Gazette regarding corporate names.
· Media monitoring, including career sections, Yellow Pages directories, industry registries and directories etc.
· Lists of individuals from other jurisdictions presumed to be practising in Alberta and not registered.

An example of information would be a business card of an individual or an announcement in the Alberta Gazette of the incorporation of a company.

When a complaint or perceived violation of title is received, the first step is to confirm the registration of the individual or whether the company holds a Permit to Practice

If there is no record of individual or corporate registration and there appears to be a clear violation, an initial letter is sent. The messages in the letter are:

· The requirements of the EGGP Act.
· The nature of the evidence which leads us to conclude that the company or individual is contravening the requirements of the EGGP Act.
· Request that the company or individual take action to eliminate the contravention and cease to use the title or become registered.

The overall objective is to gain voluntary compliance.
If, in the opinion of staff, voluntary compliance is not possible, the case is referred to APEGGA's Enforcement Review Committee. This alternative is used when:

· No response is forthcoming.
· APEGGA messages are viewed as not serious, or
· The person contacted argues that it is not really a legal requirement.

The recommendations from the ERC might be:

· If it has not already been done, arrange to visit with the individual or company.
· Request legal counsel to write the individual or company with the warning of pending legal action if compliance is not received.
· Pursue legal action.

The mechanisms for pursing legal action with individuals, corporations, partnerships or other entities not specifically exempt under the EGGP Act are:

· Lay a complaint with the Crown Prosecutor's office for prosecution in provincial court under Section 81 or the EGGP Act.
· Initiate civil court proceedings under Section 9 of the EGGP Act for an injunction.
· Pursue a forced corporate name change pursuant to the Business Corporations Act.

In the November column, I will deal with specific cases utilizing the mentioned mechanisms.

Frequently Asked Question and Answer

Q. Is a Life Member of APEGGA allowed to use the designations P.Eng., P.Geol. and/or P.Geoph.?

A. Yes. Life Membership entitles individuals to use these designations but does not entitle them to actively engage in the practice. Membership must be re-instated to "active" status to engage in active practice, even on a part-time basis.


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