BY GEORGE LEE
APEGGA has been working for years to make it simpler for
qualified engineers and geoscientists to practice their professions
in outside jurisdictions. It’s the issue known as mobility,
and it’s a critical one for Alberta professionals who
work around the world, across the country or in the United
One of the tools for improving mobility with the U.S. is
the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region, and over the summer
a PNWER resolution put its support of engineering mobility
into writing. Licensing bodies from Alberta, B.C., Idaho
and Washington endorsed A Resolution Regarding Licensing
of Engineers in the Pacific Northwest Region.
“We also received a very strong statement of support
from the Pacific Northwest political representatives who were
there and signed as witnesses,” said APEGGA Executive
Director Neil Windsor, P.Eng.
“This resolution doesn’t bind legislators to change
their laws. But it certainly sends a very clear message that
Canada and the U.S. have similar economic interests, particularly
in the northwest but also throughout both countries, and
that these interests are best served when we recognize the
high quality and similarities of our engineering licensing
requirements,” Mr. Windsor said.
PNWER is a public-private partnership made up of the American
states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washinton and Alaska; the
two Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia; and
Canada’s Yukon Territory. Its mission is to foster
sustainable development throughout the region.
Already, PNWER’s mobility message is extending beyond
the Pacific Northwest. The National Society of Professional
Engineers in the U.S. has endorsed the resolution. A meeting
of the Western Zone of the National Council of Examiners
for Engineering and Surveying in Cleveland also supported
Mr. Windsor, together with President-Elect Larry Staples,
P.Eng., signed the resolution in Victoria during the 14th
annual PNWER Summit. Other signatories are George Twiss,
P.L.S., Executive Director of the Washington Board of Registration
for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors; Scott McClure,
P.E., Secretary of the Idaho Board of Professional Engineers
and Professional Land Surveyors; and Dick Fletcher, P.Eng.,
Past President of the Association of Professional Engineers
and Geoscientists of B.C.
The resolution notes that although licensure systems throughout
the region are “different in many respects, (they)
appear to provide reasonable assurance that persons so licensed
by all these jurisdictions are fully qualified and experienced
to practice the profession of engineering in their jurisdictions.” Licensing
authorities “are encouraged to seek any legislative
amendments necessary to provide to the Board/Council the
authority to issue a license to a person licensed in a PNWER
jurisdiction where in the opinion of the Board or Council
the licensure requirements of the home jurisdiction are substantially
equivalent to those required by the host jurisdiction.”
The resolution concludes by encouraging legislative representatives
of the PNWER jurisdictions to “introduce and support
any legislative or policy amendments that may be required
in their home jurisdiction to facilitate such agreements.”
Several legislators were among those who signed as witnesses,
including the Hon. Clint Dunford, Alberta Minister of Human
Resources and Employment, whose department is responsible
for APEGGA’s self-governing legislation, the EGGP Act.
Alaska Sen. Fred Dyson, P.E., PNWER President, and Montana
Sen. Glenn Roush also signed.
A professional engineer from Alberta must pass the U.S. fundamentals
of engineering exam and have four years of work experience,
before writing the NCEES Principles and Practice of Engineering
exam. Upon successful completion of the PE exam, the engineer
is allowed to use the American designation P.E. and can apply
to any state board for a licence.
State boards, however, approve applications independently.
The resolution signed in Victoria may well lead to the boards
in the PNWER region choosing to waive the FE exam for Canadian
accredited engineering graduates.