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    Report of the Johnson Commission: The Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec is satisfied with the recommendations and urges the Government to implement them as soon as possible

    jeudi 18 octobre 2007
    • The Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ) indicates that it is generally satisfied with the Johnson Commission's recommendations, which mainly reflect the nine proposals made in the OIQ's brief to the Commission. Mr. Zaki Ghavitian, Eng., OIQ President, states that "We think that the work of the Commission marks a turning point in infrastructure management in Québec. For the first time in decades, society has realized that it needs to pay serious attention to public infrastructures. The ball is now in the government's court, and they must act as soon as possible."
    • Mr. Ghavitian adds: "The report of the Commission contains the elements necessary if we are to hope that a tragedy like the de la Concorde Overpass does not happen again. That is the very least society owes the victims. And I would stress the excellence of the immense work done by the Commission."
      The OIQ is pleased to note that the Commission has adopted the essence of the recommendations it offered as an intervener at the hearings.

      The first of these involves the supervision of construction work on construction sites. For that to happen, the legal framework of the profession must be revised. "Engineers must have the legal authority to supervise construction sites. Moreover, if the law contains an obligation to provide supervision, the OIQ will have the legitimacy necessary to intervene on the sites," Mr. Ghavitian points out.

      The OIQ notes with satisfaction that the Commission has adopted its recommendations that "as built" drawings be signed and sealed when the construction of a structure is complete. This is the first step in true documentary management that infrastructure owners must be required to conduct. The OIQ hopes that the government will legislate this requirement as well.

      As for integrated infrastructure management, the Commission has responded to the OIQ's hopes with respect to civil engineering structures. However, it is essential that the framework law announced by the government also include roads and urban infrastructures, such as underground networks. The municipalities are among the main infrastructure managers. Accordingly, their role and responsibilities must be defined and supervised by the law.

      With regard to budgets, the Commission has accepted the OIQ recommendation that infrastructure maintenance and overhaul budgets be subject to long-term planning, preferably over a period of 10 years or longer.

      Furthermore, with regard to public administration, the Commission has responded to a concern long expressed by the OIQ about the need for a policy of granting consulting engineering contracts based above all on competence. "We are very pleased to note that according to the Commission, the selection of professionals must be based first on competence and expertise, and that this principle will also be applied to construction contractors. In our view, this principle is valid not only for civil engineering structures but also for all public infrastructures," Mr. Ghavitian concludes.

      The OIQ considers it vital, even though the Commission does not mention the subject, that a supervisory and inspection function for the maintenance and general condition of infrastructures be created. This function should be entrusted to an independent and accountable agency.

      In conclusion, Mr. Ghavitian indicates that "The OIQ has taken careful note of the findings, conclusions and evidence revealed by the Commission. The Order is responsible for the disciplinary supervision of its members, a responsibility that is held specifically by the investigation and supervisory services of the OIQ, which perform their work independently and in accordance with the rules of the Professional Code, the Engineers Act and the Code of Ethics of Engineers." The OIQ considers its 55,000 members to constitute a professional body of competent and highly responsible individuals.

      About the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec
      Founded in 1920, the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec has a membership of more than 60,000 engineering professionals in all fields, except forest engineering.
      The mission of the OIQ is to ensure the protection of the public by supervising the practice of the profession within the framework of its constituent laws and ensure that the profession serves the public interest.

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