“The bill that was introduced is a big step for the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec and for the profession. The current Engineers Act basically dates back to 1964. The Act absolutely needs to be modernized so that it better reflects the changes in science and technology over the last several decades and accommodates future developments,” explained Kathy Baig, Eng., FEC, MBA, President of the OIQ.
Several major improvements
This bill will help bring the Engineers Act in step with current realities in the profession. Some of its main improvements are:
- a more broadly defined field of practice for engineers, which gives greater consideration to the many fields of engineering practice that have appeared in the last fifty years – especially computer and software engineering, biomedical engineering and environmental engineering – as well as emerging fields of practice;
- new reserved acts for engineers, such as certifying the validity of results generated by computer systems or design assistance software that use concepts derived from engineering principles, during the design of these systems and software;
- the clear inclusion of embedded systems in works reserved for engineers, such as programmable logic controllers;
- the inclusion of better provisions for counteracting unlawful engineering practice.
Room for further improvements: work supervision and temporary restrictive permits
The OIQ plans to submit some recommendations to MNAs on how the bill can be enhanced. To help improve construction quality, the OIQ will recommend that the new Engineers Act require engineering work to be supervised. Supervision is a sure way to make certain that buildings are properly constructed and that clients actually receive what was agreed upon.
The OIQ also hopes that the new Act includes the possibility of issuing permanent restrictive permits. This type of permit, which exists elsewhere in Canada, would not only help protect the public, but also help integrate professionals with atypical profiles into Québec’s professional system, such as internationally trained professionals who have specific expertise in a very small field of engineering practice. Such a measure would help reduce the labour shortage in specialized fields.
Full cooperation in the next stages
The bill should follow the usual steps in the legislative process before it comes into force as an Act. The OIQ is certainly pleased that the government made this issue a priority in the last few months and thanks the minister for her full cooperation. The OIQ truly hopes that MNAs will pass the final version during this legislature. Three different bills aimed at modernizing the Engineers Act all died on the Order Paper in recent years after elections were called.
The OIQ plans to fully cooperate with all parties concerned. After consulting members of the profession, the OIQ will actively participate in the consultation conducted by the National Assembly.