Activity Report

Editor’s Note: The following statistics track this year’s APEGGA Compliance Department activity from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31. The department’s job is to enforce the right-to-practice and right- to- title provisions of the EGGP Act Part 1. The Compliance Department’s focus, therefore, is on individuals and companies that are not members – those which may be, inadvertently or otherwise, holding themselves out as members or practicing the professions illegally.

Active files as of January 1, 2004  
Files opened during period  
Files Resolved for Individuals  
   Ceased using restricted title
   Personal registration
   Verified not practicing
   Files Resolved for Companies
   Permits issued or reinstated
   Ceased using restricted title/violating
   Verified not practicing
Active Files at May 31, 2004  

*Note: Compliance files not mentioned above were resolved for various other reasons, such as confirmation that an individual or company is already registered with APEGGA, verification that an individual contacted is not living or working in Alberta, clarification that a company is actually a trade name of a member etc.

When a company employs APEGGA members, the Compliance Department assumes that the company’s activities constitute the practice of engineering, geology or geophysics and a permit to practice is required. This is not always the case, however. Periodically, the Compliance Department encounters companies employing APEGGA members whose activities are not clearly the practice of these disciplines.

In these situations, the Compliance Department, with the assistance of the Enforcement Review Committee, must reasonably and responsibly apply the broad definition of the practice of engineering, geology, and geophysics as found in the EGGP Act to specific activities or sets of activities in specific settings and contexts. In addition, we must determine whether or not the activities in question would be exempt under the EGGP Act sections 2(4), 5(2), or 7(2).

The following are two examples of cases in which companies employ APEGGA members, but a clear case could not be made that their activities constitute the practice of engineering as defined in the EGGP Act.

Company number one was contacted for the reason that it employs engineers and their activities appeared to constitute the practice of engineering. It responded by describing activities as that of a manufacturer’s agent. The company’s clients provide specifications and it matches these requirements to items listed in catalogues of the various manufacturers it represents. Any engineering in developing the specifications is done by the clients’ engineers.

In analyzing this case, a decision-making process was applied to the legal definition of engineering. It was determined that the company is involved in some of the activities mentioned in the definition (such as reporting on, advising on and evaluating), however in doing these, it is not involved in making judgments or recommendations that require the professional application of the principles of mathematics, chemistry, physics or any other related applied subject. Also, as the company supplies products designated by engineering performed by clients, it could be considered to be exempt under the EGGP Act section 2(4)(a).

In concluding this case, the fact that the confirming information was provided by a professional member was taken into consideration. The company was advised that the activities as described are exempt under section 2(4)(a) and are not considered to be the practice of engineering as defined by the legal definition. For this reason, APEGGA would not be pursuing a permit to practice any further at this time.

However, if any change is contemplated in the future, we would expect the company to apply for a permit before any engineering activity takes place.

Company number two is a construction company employing APEGGA members. We contacted the company on the assumption that some of its activities would involve the practice of engineering. In response, the company advised that it is a general contractor and project manager, and does not engage in the practice of engineering.

One purpose of the EGGP Act section 2(4)(a) is to exempt traditional contractors who do not practice engineering, but whose projects are designed and supervised by a P.Eng. With this in mind, the company was requested to provide detailed information by responding to the following question: “After considering the definition of engineering, do you feel that the company’s activities constitute at least some engineering or would you consider them to fall entirely into the category of a traditional contracting firm and qualify for an exemption under section 2(4)(a)?”

A very detailed response was received from a senior P.Eng. employee in which the various activities stated in the definition of engineering were applied to the activities of the company. Although several of these activities (such as reporting on, advising on, evaluating and directing the construction of) are carried out, it was determined that none require making judgments or recommendations that require the professional application of mathematics, chemistry, physics or any related applied subject.
It was concluded that the activities have to do with achieving the specifications of third-party engineers, as opposed to developing the specifications. After considering all of the information, it was concluded that the company operates as a traditional contracting firm as opposed to an engineering firm, and the exemption under section 2(4)(a) applies.

Similarly to company number one, company number two was advised that the activities, as described, would not be considered to be the practice of engineering as defined by the legal definition, and that APEGGA would not be pursuing a permit to practice any further at this time. However, if change is contemplated in the future which would involve the practice of engineering, we would expect the company to apply for a permit before the additional activity takes place.


Q. What is the correct procedure for laying a complaint to APEGGA on a compliance issue?

A. The Compliance Department encourages complaints from both members and members of the public regarding non-members who are practicing or holding out to practice engineering, geology and/or geophysics. The complaint is not required in writing, but it must be accompanied by evidence such as a business card or report etc. If the evidence is sufficient to support the complaint, the Compliance staff will make contact with the person or company complained against. The source of the complaint is treated anonymously.

If you suspect a non-member or non-permitted company
of operating in contravention of the EGGP Act, contact
Louise Heron
Toll-free 1-800-661-7020, Ext. 2325

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