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F. Professional Law (8%) – NPPE (& BC PPE) Syllabus Category

Are you wondering what kinds of questions might arise for topic F, Professional Law in the context of your Professional Practice Exam (PPE)?

In this 12 minute video, included in my NPPE Course and BC PPE course, I'll give you my perspective on each of the 5 sub-topics to help you build your foundation in this section. Enjoy!

Video & transcript below.

In this presentation, and the 6 others (for course members), I'm going through all 47 syllabus topics to give you my insights and to highlight terms, definitions, and cases that I believe are relevant.

Let's get started.

Download my NPPE or BC PPE form cheat sheet to get a summarized overview of the key topics and my recommended study method.

F.1  The Acts Regulations and Bylaws Provincial and Territorial Acts

  • Act
    • Each province has its own Act, Regulations, and Bylaws to direct the behaviour of its members.
    • By now, you should have printed out or bookmarked the location of each for your province or territory for easy reference. The Regulations and Bylaws are typically found in the Act or linked to it.
    • Each region is different, so I’m going to highlight the commonalities amoung them.Then your homework is to review your associations' documents to get a little more familiar with them.
    • Act - Provincial or territory law that gives the Association the responsibility for implementing it. It is the foundation document by which the regulations and bylaws are based on.
  • Regulations
    • Regulations - Rules that clarify the act, or define operating procedures. A more detailed set of requirements created to support the duties established in the Act.
  • Bylaws
    • Bylaws - Rules for running the Association. Typically include:
    • Election Procedures - How the council is elected and how many people sit on the board.
    • Meetings - How often they occur, what topics are discussed, and who is involved in those meetings.
    • Financial Matters of the Association - The associations are non-profit, so balancing the books are important.
    • Committees - What are the powers of the committees and what are their rules and responsibilities.

F.2 Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest

  • Code of Ethics
    • Each Engineering / Geoscience Association has a Code. There are many similarities among them. We already covered this section in detail back in syllabus topic B.3.
  • Conflicts of Interest
    • Secret Commission - Accepting a secret gift from someone you have a business relationship with.
    • Misuse of Employer’s Facilities - Conducting personal or other business activities at your place of work.
    • Moonlighting - Working for another company without having the approval of your main company.
    • Self-Serving Decisions - Making business decisions that benefit yourself ahead of the company.
    • Influence Peddling - Using your position in a company to support special groups or political parties.
    • Arranging Future Employment - Changing jobs and working for a competing firm by using confidential information or trade secrets.

F.3 Admission to the Professions

  • Education - Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board and Canadian Geoscience Standards Board (CGSB) approves engineering or geoscience programs or equivalent. It is possible to bridge the gap with a combination of interviews, exams or courses at the Association's discretion.
  • No criminal convictions.
  • Pass the Professional Practice Exam.
  • 48 months of work experience with a heavier focus on Application of Theory and Practical Experience. At least one year in Canada under a P.Eng.

F.4 Illegal Practice, Enforcement Against Unlicensed Practice, and Misuse of Title

  • Illegal Practice
    • Companies not holding a Certificate of Authorization or a Permit to Practice, where a professional engineer or geoscientist assumes professional responsibility for the firm and acts in a supervisory role.
    • Companies Not Carrying Proper Insurance in Their Province - Usually, liability insurance, (also known as errors and omission insurance), are needed to provide engineering or geoscience services to the public.
    • Individuals practicing engineering without a license, (which we will discuss now in enforcement.)
  • Enforcement
    • Cracking down on people without a license benefitting from misleading others. The 3 common enforcement situations are: 
      • Practicing engineering/geoscience without a license.
      • Misleading others with a term/title to suggest being a license holder.
      • Using a seal that could mislead others.
    • Fines for illegal practice range between provinces. They typically start around $10k for the first offense.
  • Misuse of Title
    • Misuse of Title - Here are two examples of titles that can’t be used if you’re not licensed:
      • Project Engineer and Chief Geoscientist. It's important not to have the words Geoscientist or Engineer in your title if you are not actually licensed. Management should insist on accurate titles for their staff.

F.5 Professional and Technical Societies

  • Professional Associations or Societies
  • Technical
  • Technical Societies - Groups that are organized around a central theme (such as a technical discipline, a geographic region, or government organization). It collects, analyzes and publishes data to keep its members informed, as well as offers a great opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals. It can offer voluntary certification to distinguish your learning and or experience.


Be sure to pick up a copy of the 5th edition Ethics textbook and 3rd edition Law textbook which were both used as references for the above presentation.

For all 7 videos (which totals over 1 hour of rapid learning content), visit the NPPE Course or BC PPE course page to get your access. The content there is continually updated and comes with a bank of sample questions, study checklist, a cheat sheet and more. Visit today to download my free 2-page cheat sheet.

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