Weekly licensing questions for Nov. 10, 2023

Here is a weekly roundup of our favourite engineering licensing questions we helped clients navigate (week ending Nov. 10, 2023):


#NPPE (topic II.4)

Q. If I am a professional engineer on vacation and see some dangerous activity. Do you know if I must report?

A. To give you more detail, engineers are accountable for reporting and resolving the problems they encounter while performing their work. PEO, APEGA, EGM, etc., have enacted standards, regulations and by-laws that focus on their members conduct during their professional work (although there are some exceptions we won't get into for this question). The member's duty to report is only when working. Their attention to hazards should be focused on the specific problems that relate to their area of expertise and that they encounter while carrying out their professional responsibilities.

In other words, when a structural engineer is on vacation, they can enjoy themselves without wondering how their hotel was constructed.  However, if they see something unsafe (e.g. corroding reinforcing bars - as was the case in the Florida condo collapse of 2021), they would be wise to bring this to someone's attention to help protect the public's interest.  However, if they don't, there is no penalty as their association does not require them to be "full-time guardians of the public interest."


#NPPE (topic III.3)

Q. If a professional was hired to do an environmental assessment (EA), and she lacks knowledge in a small area of EAs, according to Code of Ethics, I believe she should refuse work when it's outside of her competence. But the answer is to get expert help. Is this only true when it has to do with environmental impact/ regulations? Is this true for other provinces as well, or is it only for my association?

Q. All provinces have adopted the national guidelines on sustainable development and environmental stewardship for professional engineers(see section 4.0 - clause 2) to allow professionals to use experts to complement their knowledge. You can see this clause in other associations (APEGA guide (section 3.2), EBGC guide (section 2.1.3)).

So, it is okay to collaborate with experts to complement engineering tasks.  This can go beyond environmental tasks.  For instance, a structural engineer performing a structural condition assessment may retain a timber specialist during the material testing phase (section 8.3.d).



Q. Does the CBA need to include all 34 categories, or is it acceptable to leave some of them out and not include them in the document?

A. You need an example for each of the 34 competencies. Engineers Canada and the participating associations that use the CBA system (which is most of them), have determined that exposure to all 34 competencies is mandatory to ensure public safety.  However, for each competency, you can focus your example on just one of the indicators.  There is no need to try to address all indicators per competency.


Q. Hi, I am in the process of writing the CBA forms. I wanted to ask, while giving situations and actions regarding a specific skill, can I give examples from multiple projects (for example, one in Canada and another one from Pakistan)? 

A. In general, you want your Situation section to focus on one specific (and unique) project problem that didn't have a pre-determined solution.  In the Situation section, tell them briefly about the project, the challenge and any constraints.  Then, use the Action section to go deep into the steps you took to solve the unique problem.

If you attempt to talk about more than one project per competency, then your Situation and Action sections may confuse the reader and you'll only be able to go into half the level of detail.  While there are no rules against it, I wouldn't recommend it.


Q. As an applicant with work experience at multiple companies (3 companies), I would like to know whether my association expects me to submit three separate CBA forms (3 x 34 competencies) or just 34 of my best competencies?

A. To answer your question, your association is just looking for 34 competencies in total.  You get to pick your strongest example per competency across your work history.


Thanks for reading. Which step can we help you with? NPPE  |  CBA  |  Technical Exams

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