Terri-Jane Yuzda

Who Is Responsible?

The Details of Holding a Permit to Practice

Editor's Note: Following is the regular column of the Compliance Department of APEGGA.


Director, Compliance

In my March article, you were reminded that as well as individual registration, the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act also requires that partnerships, corporations and other such entities which practice engineering, geology and geophysics hold a Permit to Practice.

The article provided a brief overview of the history of the permit-to-practice, who requires a permit, why a permit is required, and overall responsibility. In the next two columns, I will discuss more specific responsibilities and administrative details.

It is recognized in the act and regulations that effective control of the quality of professional practice in partnerships, corporations and other such entities requires that the employer of professionals provide the atmosphere and organizational structure necessary for the proper practice of the professions. This involves three distinct levels and/or types of responsibility:

Corporate Management

The chief operating officer of a company undertakes to maintain an organization in which the practice of the professions can be conducted in accordance with the intent of the Act.

Member Assuming Responsibility for the Professional Practice

Full time employees or members of the firms undertake to provide responsible direction and personal supervision of the professional practice engaged in.

Member Supervising or Performing the Work

The individual APEGGA member, in accordance with the Code of Ethics, undertakes only such work as he/she is competent to perform or supervise by virtue of training and experience.

An individual who is a professional member or licensee of APEGGA, who engages in the practice of engineering, geology or geophysics in his or her own name does not require a permit to practice. Their personal registration is, in effect, their permit. If this same individual practices through a company, then the company requires a permit to practice, even if the member is the only employee.

If a parent company or joint venture group holds a permit to practice, any subsidiary of that company that engages in the practice of engineering, geology, or geophysics must also hold a permit if the subsidiary is a separate entity with a different name.

The Association will issue a permit to practice to any partnership, corporation or other entity provided at least one full time employee or member of the firm, who is also a member or licensee of APEGGA, undertakes to direct and accept responsibility for the professional practice of the permit holder. The member or members who assume responsibility for the professional practice must be qualified by training and experience in the fields of engineering, geology or geophysics in which the firm provides services and must be available to the full extent necessary to direct the day to day activities engaged in by the permit holder.

Large organizations with functional divisions spread geographically over several operating centres are encouraged to name as many professional members as necessary to provide responsible direction and personal supervision to the professional practice engaged in. The number of members selected to assume that responsibility for the organization should complement the organization's structure and will vary according to the type of operation and management style of the organization.

Reference in the act to a full-time employee or member of the firm is interpreted to mean that the relationship between the APEGGA member and the firm is an ongoing and continuous one, as distinguished from one that does not have the depth or responsibility normally associated with a full time employee relationship.

If the permit to practice is cancelled, lapses, is revoked or for any reason becomes invalid, approval by APEGGA to use the words engineering, geology and geophysics or any form thereof in the firm's name is automatically withdrawn.

Permit holders whose registration is cancelled by APEGGA due to nonpayment of annual dues or for any other reason are assessed an administrative fee when applying for reinstatement. Permit holders who request in writing that their permit to practice be cancelled will not be assessed the administrative fee when they apply for reinstatement.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

Q. When/in what circumstances is a person acting under the "supervision and control" of a member of APEGGA?

A. When the member of APEGGA has in place an adequate supervision and control system including an appropriate approval process and the person being supervised is included in that system.

Q. What is an adequate supervision and control system?

A. An engineer's or geologist's or geophysicist's supervision and control system is adequate when that engineer, geologist, or geophysicist is willing to accept responsibility for and thus incur liability for, both to the public and to APEGGA, the results of the engineering, geological or geophysical tasks done by others working under his/her supervision and control.

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