September 2001

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The How and Why of Protecting Professional Titles

With the Force of Law to Back it Up, Compliance Department Helps Ensure Public Confidence

This is the second installment of a regular feature in The PEGG on compliance and enforcement activities involving non-members. Please address any questions or comments to the Compliance Department.

APEGGA Director, Compliance

In the inaugural column of this feature last month, we talked about why APEGGA has a Compliance Department. We said that one of the duties of the Compliance Department is to seek to ensure non-licensed and non-qualified persons, including corporations, do not hold themselves out as licensed and qualified.

The law backs us up in these efforts. Part (1) Scope of Practice of the EGGP Act, Sections 3(1), 6(1) and 8(1), relate to the exclusive use of titles and provide the necessary legislation for the Compliance Department to do its work. The message in these sections clearly states that registration with APEGGA is required for the following (it's the law):

· Individuals who use the designations "P.Eng.", "P.Geol.", and/or "P.Geoph." on business cards, correspondence etc.

· Individuals whose job title includes the word "engineer," "geologist," or "geophysicist," such as Software Engineer, Junior Geologist, Senior Geophysicist.

· Companies that include the word "engineering," "geology," "geophysics" or any variation of these words in their corporate name.

Why is the Use of Protected Titles of Such Concern?
Titles are protected to give members of the general public confidence that when they retain an individual or company using these titles, they are receiving advice from fully qualified, experienced and licensed professionals. Professional associations, like APEGGA, are charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of their respective acts.

How Does the Compliance Department Determine Whether a Title Violation Exists?
First, it must be determined whether the individual title or corporate name violates the reserved title provisions contained in sections 3, 6 and 8 of the EGGP Act. Sections 3, 6, and 8 provide that holding out may be expressly or by implication.

APEGGA does not have a monopoly on the word "engineer" by itself. Titles are reserved to members of APEGGA whenever the title plus the context of the title usage would lead the public to believe or to legitimately assume that the title user is licensed to practice. Examples of this include Plant Engineer, Chief Geologist, Staff Geophysicist, John Smith Engineering, John Smith Geological Consultants, or John Smith Geophysical Consultants.

Titles such as Manager -- Engineering, Co-ordinator - Drilling Engineering, Supervisor - Arctic Engineering, Vice-President - Geology, District Manager - Geophysics and the like, in an engineering, geological or geophysical work-related context, should normally be used only by members of APEGGA.

Some occupations have traditionally used the word "engineer" (i.e. Power Engineer, Stationary Engineer and Train Engineer). The use of these terms normally does not lead others to believe that the user is a member of APEGGA. That's particularly emphasized because these titles historically and continue to be referred to in the Safety Codes Act and Regulations relating to the design, construction and installation of boilers and pressure vessels.

Titles which are not a clear violation of the EGGP Act are referred by the Compliance Department for discussion and recommendations to APEGGA's Enforcement Review Committee.

In the case of a title violation, the offender has two options to avoid legal proceedings:

· Seek registration with APEGGA, or
· Change the title or corporate name violating the EGGP Act.

There are a number of mechanisms that enable the Compliance Department to compel compliance with the act. These, along with some specific cases will be discussed in the October issue of the PEGG.

Frequently Asked Question and Answer

Q. What title am I authorized to use as an Engineer-In-Training, Geologist-In-Training or Geophysicist-In-Training?

A. Members-In-Training may use the title Engineer-In-Training, Geologist-In-Training, Geophysicist-In-Training or the accepted designations M.I.T., E.I.T., Geol.IT, Geoph.IT. Titles such as Junior Engineer, Graduate Engineer, Assistant Engineer and Mechanical Engineer are not acceptable until such time as the individual becomes registered.



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