Quebec engineering licensing body put under trusteeship
Despite making efforts to show how it would sort out its troubles, the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec – OIQ (Quebec Order of Engineers) has lost its right to be self-governing.
On July 6, the Quebec Offices des Professions (Office of Professions), which oversees professional bodies in Quebec announced that it has placed the OIQ under the trusteeship of the province. There is no indication how long the trusteeship will be imposed.
The Office of Professions has been closely following developments at the OIQ since 2014. It said it had found shortcomings in governance and internal management at the licensing body to the point where it believed the OIQ could not effectively exercise controls over the engineering profession and its financial stability was threatened. The situation meant that the OIQ might not be able to protect the public, which is its primary purpose. Therefore the Office had decided to appoint three directors to oversee the OIQ board’s decisions.
The OIQ responded by saying it respects the Office of Professions’ move, but is “disappointed” with the decision. OIQ pointed out that it had spent a year making efforts to bring itself into line with its mission of protecting the public.
In a statement, Kathy Baig, eng. has recently been elected as president of OIQ, said she hoped that the three new directors would recognize the work that has been done to date at the association. “We have shown extensive cooperation in the last two years and intend to continue doing so,” said Baig. “I am confident that we can speed up our work, even in this context, since we are striving for the common objectives of sound management and governance.”
(Among the problems that have plagued the OIQ over recent years has been strong resistance to efforts to raise licensing fees.)
The three directors appointed by the Office of Professions include one engineer: Michel Pigeon, along with lawyer Johanne Brodeur, and accountant Francois Renauld. The directors are ordered to see that the OIQ board passes appropriate resolutions and will be given other powers, yet to be outlined.
Stéphanie Vallée, the Minister responsible for applying legislation for professionals, said, “The appointment of these three directors and the election of Kathy Baig as President of the OIQ is right in line with the government’s desire to give new life to the Order.”
The OIQ as the licensing body governing engineers in Quebec was founded in 1920 and has 61,000 professional members. The members are in all fields, except forestry.
The Office of Professions in Quebec was established in 1973 by the law of the Quebec Professional Code. It oversees 46 professional orders in the province.
To read the July 6, 2016 statement by the Office of Professions of Quebec, click here.
To read the response by the OIQ, click here.