The OIQ’s recommendations, which are detailed in its brief to the Committee on Institutions
, basically concern the new power granted to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) to stop the disciplinary proceedings of a professional order in exchange for cooperation with a criminal investigation.
The OIQ is in favour of improving the protection granted to cooperating witnesses, in particular by allowing the DPCP to stop a disciplinary proceeding. However, it believes that this extraordinary power should be used with care and that a better balance must be struck between this power and the operations of the disciplinary justice system, such as by:
a. Specifying that the notice given by the DPCP may not concern a complaint about compliance with trade practices and the quality of professional activities, which are elements related to the very purpose of the professional system: protection of the public.
b. Providing for a form of collaboration between the DPCP and the syndics of professional orders, in accordance with the laws and each party’s operational requirements. This collaboration could be used to convince a remorseful witness to cooperate with a syndic’s inquiry in exchange for disciplinary immunity, but also to avoid dedicating substantial resources to a disciplinary inquiry that has no chance of leading to a conviction.
c. Publically announcing the DPCP’s notice of terminating disciplinary complaint proceedings, so as not to jeopardize the public's trust in professional orders and the disciplinary system.
About the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec
Founded in 1920, the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec has a membership of some 63,000 engineering professionals in all fields, except forest engineering. The OIQ strives to be a reference for professionalism and excellence in engineering as well as a unifying organization. Its mission is to protect the public by acting to ensure that engineers serve society with professionalism, compliance and integrity in the public interest. For more information, go to www.oiq.qc.ca