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Engineers and technologists in two provinces forging closer links

Is the traditional resentment between professional engineers and engineering technologists coming to an end? Signs...


Is the traditional resentment between professional engineers and engineering technologists coming to an end? Signs are that it may be, with two professional engineering organizations in Canada indicating moves towards closing the gap between the two groups.
British Columbia’s professional engineers have gone so far as to have agreed in principle to merger their professional association with that of the engineering technologists. In its publication, Innovation, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. announced that at its April 10 meeting the association’s council approved in principle the merger of their association with the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C. (ASTTBC).
A task force had been considering several options for integrating the practices of engineering, geoscience and technology, and had concluded that a “one Act, one organization” was the best method.
The organizations are now seeking input from members and if they receive strong support will approach the government to draft a new comprehensive Act. This is unlikely to occur before 2004.
Ontario is not so far ahead, but the fact that it is moving towards embracing technologists is suprising. The province’s engineers are among the few who have resisted a move to move in with the geoscientists. Most western provincial associations of engineers integrated the geoscientists a few years ago, but Ontario engineers turned such a suggestion down.
Today, however, Ontario engineers are considering licensing the technologists. The Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT), and Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) have had a task force studying the issue for two years. The task force recently issued its report, and it is currently on the PEO web site for comment.
According to Engineering Dimensions, PEO’s publication, the task force is recommending that PEO should issue technologists a limited licence to practice in a defined area. They concluded “Enabling technologists to take responsibility for a defined area of engineering practice through PEO’s limited licence process is to the public’s benefit, and so should be encouraged by any means that does not lower standards of qualification or practice.”
The technologists association would do the initial screening for candidates, who would have to have 11 years experience, at least six of which would be in the defined area of practice.
Once it has taken and digested the feedback from the engineer members, the task force is expected to report back to the PEO council in September. If the association was to go ahead with licensing technologistis, major changes would be required to the Professional Engineers Act and Regulation 941.