“Demand-side legislation” refers to an overarching piece of legislation that requires certain work be performed by people with specific qualifications within different areas (e.g. environment, mining, etc.). Demand-side legislation is welcomed by provincial and territorial regulators, provided that it does not infringe upon engineering legislation and self-regulation.
Public interest is best served by self-regulation where a group of experts sets admission, practice, and discipline and enforcement. To reiterate provincial and territorial regulators’ national position on self-regulation with respect to demand-side legislation, the Qualifications Board published a “Engineers Canada paper on qualified persons in demand-side legislation” in 2018.
This document, developed under extensive consultation with Canada’s engineering regulators, accomplishes three primary things:
- It reiterates the exclusive authority of engineering regulators to self-regulate the profession of engineering.
- It outlines how any parallel/competing governance structures established by demand-side legislation can jeopardize the public interest.
- It presents recommendations to be considered when demand-side legislation is being contemplated, developed, and implemented.
To accomplish these, the paper makes nine recommendations:
- Demand-side legislation must not undermine the exclusive jurisdiction of engineering regulators to self-regulate the practice of engineering.
- Demand-side legislation must not permit persons other than engineering licence holders to perform or take responsibility for engineering work.
- Demand-side legislation must be specific in describing the work to be performed and the results to be achieved.
- Demand-side legislation must not attempt to set out the qualifications and requirements of engineering licence holders.
- “Qualified persons” must work be performed by members of regulated professional associations,
- Demand-side legislation must ensure that it uses an appropriate term to describe the categories of qualified persons authorized to perform the work in question.
- Government must ensure that engineering regulators are engaged in all aspects of demand-side legislation.
- Government must retain engineering licence holders to evaluate and oversee engineering work being performed pursuant to demand-side legislation.
- Government should consider adopting standards of disclosure for demand-side legislation work.
The hope in articulating these recommendations is that they will be used by governments and any other parties involved in the contemplation, development, and implementation of demand-side legislation that authorizes qualified persons to perform various tasks and duties, which may include the practice of engineering.
To read the white paper in full, as well as other documents developed by the Qualifications Board, you can visit the National Engineering Guidelines and Engineers Canada papers page at engineerscanada.ca.