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Counting down the top 5 engineering news stories of 2018

2018.12.13

Heartbreak at the University of Toronto. Professional reliance legislation in British Columbia. Controversy over an honorary degree at the University of Alberta. Disciplinary actions against engineers. These were some of the most-read stories from the Engineers Canada Media Report this year. Read on as we take a look back at the top five stories from the engineering world in 2018.

  1. Tragedy at University of Toronto survey camp: In September, an 18-year-old civil engineering student drowned while attending the school’s survey camp at Gull Lake near Minden, ON. Engineering dean Christina Amon released a message to staff and students expressing condolences to the family and friends of the student who died, and that counselling services would be made available for all who need them.
  2. Reaction to professional reliance legislation introduced in British Columbia: In June, the BC government released the final report of the Professional Reliance Review, and later tabled proposed legislation in October that would enable government oversight of the five regulators of engineering and geoscience, agrology, applied science technology, applied biology, and forestry, and establish and Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance. This op-ed from August, in which the CEO of a small BC mining company reflects on the proposed changes, was the second most-read article of 2018.
  3. Engineering dean speaks out against granting of honorary degree to David Suzuki: In April, the University of Alberta announced that it would be presenting an honorary degree to environmentalist David Suzuki. Fraser Forbes, the dean of the engineering faculty at the university, published a letter on the faculty’s webpage criticizing the decision, saying that it “hurt and devalued” the engineering community, and that the university’s decision demonstrated that it was too disconnected from industry and the energy and resource sectors.
  4. Disciplinary actions against three engineers involved in Mount Polley disaster: In September, Engineers & Geoscientists British Columbia announced that its Investigation Committee alleged that three engineers involved in a tailings dam at the Mount Polley mine had demonstrated negligence and/or unprofessional conduct. The Mount Polley disaster was one of the largest in the province’s history, resulting in millions of mine waste into nearby waterways. Disciplinary hearings against the three engineers will be held in 2019.
  5. Engineer faces disciplinary action for speaking out against amber light timings: In July, Manitoba engineer David Grant faced disciplinary hearings for providing statements to newspapers in Winnipeg about amber lights. Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba alleged that in so doing, Grant divulged private information about an investigation, made false statements, brought the engineering profession into ill repute, and expressed opinions without the proper qualifications to do so.