The Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance (OSPG) has announced that the Professional Governance Act (PGA) will come into full force on February 5, 2021. Implementation will repeal legacy Acts including the Engineers and Geoscientists Act signalling closure on more than two years of effort to modernize professional regulation in BC. Read the full press release here.
Of specific note in the new regulation will be the transition to new rights for some of the regulated professions including reserved titles for Applied Biologists and Agrologists. The OSPG provided guidance that practice rights under the PGA will remain status quo for all regulated professionals despite changes to the language and expression of regulation. The regulation differentiates between regulated practice and reserved practice, with the latter referring to practice that is exclusively regulated by the Association of BC Forest Professionals and Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC). The new regulation will in essence reference legacy definitions for the practice of forestry, engineering, and geoscience to ensure the definition of reserved practice is understood by practitioners and the general public.
– Exemptions in the legacy Engineers and Geoscientists Act (mines inspectors and prospectors, tenure acquisition and maintenance) will carry forward to the PGA.
– Registrants of Applied Science Technologists and Technicians BC (ASTTBC) who practice engineering must continue to do so under the supervision of a registrant of Engineers and Geoscientists BC.
The potential for interpretation of practice rights for engineering technologists and technicians has been the subject of much discussion, which the OSPG indicate is on-going with the respective regulators (ASTTBC, EGBC). The complexity of a scope of practice falling under the mandate of more than one regulator is not unique to ASTTBC and EGBC, but the broad overlap of engineering presents challenges that will not be addressed through implementation of the new Act. More on this topic is expected as regulators begin operating under the new Act and regulations, and registrants provide first hand feedback of regulation in practice. ACEC-BC will continue to be active in collaborating with the regulators and the OSPG, and creating opportunity for members to learn about this important change and how it will impact their business.