Safety and welfare are clearly defined
in the APEGGA code, and the Consulting Engineers of Alberta
has a complementary set of mechanisms.
BY BRUCE CALDERBANK, P.ENG.
Codes of ethics adopted by Canadian engineering and geomatic
professional associations in the provinces and territories
tend to relate to business dealings, but some elements in
each relate to corporate social responsibility, or CSR. For
instance, under Alberta statute APEGGA registers, sets practice
standards and determines disciplinary action, when necessary,
for its approximately 37,000 professional members, members-in-training,
licensees and permit holders. Many of these members work in
the oil and gas industry in Alberta as well as overseas.
The APEGGA Code of Ethics states it should be used to guide
professional engineer, geologist and geophysicist conduct
at all times. The first Rule of Conduct states that they "shall
have proper regard in all their work for the safety and welfare
of all persons and for the physical environment affected by
their work." Under Section 43 of the Engineering, Geological
and Geophysical Professions Act, a contravention of this code
may constitute unprofessional conduct or unskilled practice,
which is subject to disciplinary action. The code applies
wherever APEGGA professionals and permit holders are.
The Consulting Engineers of Alberta represents the business
interests of consulting engineers and geoscientists firms
in Alberta, and has approximately 75 member firms. Many of
these CEA member firms work in the oil and gas industry in
Alberta as well as overseas. The APEGGA Code of Ethics binds
In addition the CEA developed for the year 2000 a chief executive
officer charter as a means of establishing solidarity between
members for a strong industry voice, and as a reaffirmation
of the CEA Code of Consulting Engineering Ethics. The charter
was signed by the member companies' chief executive officers
of the day, in a public ceremony at the CEA's annual general
meeting. Any new members also sign the charter.
This charter exerts strong peer pressure to "do the
right thing." Over the years, provincial and territorial
consulting engineering associations have developed codes of
consulting practice to set higher standards for their members
in the fulfillment of their duties towards society, clients,
other consulting engineers and employees.
The business interests of CEA members are also represented
at the national level by the Association of Consulting Engineers
of Canada, which includes both engineering and geomatics,
as well as other sector disciplines. The ACEC Code of Consulting
Practice instructs members to "fulfill their duties with
honesty, justice and courtesy towards society." It also
instructs that "members shall practice their profession
with concern for the health, safety and social and economic
well-being of society." Should the need arise the ACEC
can choose to remove a company's membership as the disciplinary
The ACEC is in turn a member of the International Federation
of Consulting Engineers. The federation is committed to promoting
the values promulgated in the United Nations Global Compact.
It operates as a separate entity and the ACEC has not articulated
a position on the federation's stand on the Global Compact.
The Alberta Land Surveyors' Association is a self-governing
professional association in Alberta legislated under the Land
Surveyors Act. The ALSA regulates the practice of land surveying
for the protection of the public and administration of the
profession. The ALSA is legally concerned with the land boundaries
and other geomatic issues within Alberta. The ALSA Code of
Ethics stresses that the land surveyor shall "serve society"
and maintain the "public interest." The code applies
to all members of the ALSA wherever they are.
In other provincial jurisdictions there are similar self-governing
professional land survey associations. The codes of ethics
of these associations generally encourage integrity and dignity
of the profession while, as with the ALSA code of ethics,
the main focus is on business, training and inter-professional
The Association of Canada Lands Surveyors is a federally
enacted professional association governed by the act respecting
Canada Lands Surveyors. The ACLS has 540 members across Canada
who have expertise in surveying, photogrammetry, geodesy,
hydrography and land information systems.
Canada Lands Surveyor commissions are granted to those who
meet specific standards of geomatics training and education
and successfully pass a set of rigorous examinations. Many
Canada Land Surveyors also hold a provincial commission, allowing
them to practice in more than one jurisdiction. All of the
land surveyors in the territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories
and Nunavut are members of the ACLS.
Only licensed members of the ACLS may perform cadastral surveys
on Canada Lands or private lands in one of the Canadian territories.
Canada Lands include most of the offshore from coast to coast
to coast. The ACLS Code of Ethics requires members to ensure
that to the best of their ability their names are not used
"in association with persons or enterprises of dubious
or doubtful ethics." The code applies to all members
of the ACLS and permit holders wherever they are.
All of these Canadian engineering and geomatic professional
associations have disciplinary powers that could be invoked
if their codes of ethics are not upheld.
Bruce Calderbank P.Eng., has carried out assignments in more
than 25 countries while providing offshore geomatic and quality
control consulting services to Canadian and other international
oil companies. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of
Chartered Surveyors, a commissioned Canada Lands Surveyor
and an APEGGA member. The Canadian Institute of Resources
Law has published a longer version of this article, with appendices
Reach Bruce Calderbank at
Read his full paper, appendices and references