U.S. Mobility Endorsed
Pacific NorthWest Region Pushes for Cross-border Cooperation


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 States.

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 it.

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.

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