PRACTICE REVIEW BOARD The Practice Review Board (PRB) ensures that APEGA’s licensed professionals using reserved titles and designations controlled by the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act (e.g., engineer and geoscientist) are qualified and competent to practise, and through their practice, they adhere to the standards, regulations, and ethics of these professions. Appointed by the minister of labour in November of 2020 as the Government of Alberta’s public representative, I have the responsibility to fully participate in the work and decisions of the PRB to ensure the public’s interests are fully represented in the board’s considerations, deliberations, and decision-making processes. The PRB undertakes its responsibilities and work by making recommendations and decisions involving: • requests for reinstatement of APEGA licensure • requests to change practising status (e.g., resume- practice applications, non-practising declarations, and removal of restrictions and conditions) • practice reviews of permit holders, which include reviews of Professional Practice Management Plans • registrant compliance with the mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program, CPD reviews, and special-consideration requests • inquiries into ethical conduct and skilled practice • the development of, revisions to, and withdrawal of APEGA practice standards, guidelines, and bulletins Most recently, the PRB developed the Graduated Assessment of Permit Holders process. This risk-based approach to conducting practice reviews of permit holders consists of several review levels that increase in scrutiny. This process has seen a considerable increase in the PRB’s ability to monitor the professions, and in 2021, 189 reviews were completed, and the PRB approved the closure of 70 permit holder practice reviews. Most of these were satisfactorily completed with permit holders taking action to address review findings. The PRB’s operational structure with our four subcommittees is proving very successful, and we are achieving KPIs to the satisfaction of the board and Council. A continued significant benefit is the increased engagement with our permit holders, licensed professionals, and volunteers through educational and learning modules, seminars, workshops, information sessions, and increased personal contacts. This has achieved an increased awareness and understanding of permit holders and registrants about regulatory requirements, which has resulted in increasing the positive relationship between permit holders and their professional organization. In short, this achieves an overall strengthening of the professional practices of engineers and geoscientists.
Specifically, the PRB is simultaneously committed to fulfilling two important goals: 1. maintaining the high-level integrity of and public confidence in APEGA as a regulatory body 2. providing APEGA registrants with an optimal level of support to increase their understanding and awareness of, and support in, adhering to their professional practices, the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act and General Regulation , and APEGA’s practice standards, bulletins, and guidelines Praise should continue to be heaped on APEGA, and to PRB members, in particular, for their excellent execution of continuing to implement a remote set of working procedures to accommodate the varying pandemic restrictions. Staff and the PRB have continued to: • effect changes and corrections to bring permit holders and licensed professionals into compliance • improve CPD reporting • develop, revise, and maintain APEGA practice standards, bulletins, and guidelines • investigate new areas of concern, such as: o assessing the impact of unlicensed professionals practising in Alberta
o sole practitioners contracting professional services to permit holders without holding an APEGA Permit to Practice
In 2021, the board approved 58 permit holders for new practice reviews and closed 72 practice reviews. It handled 1,076 reinstatement and resume-practice applications and approved 581 special-consideration requests. I continue to be very encouraged by the initiatives and dedication of PRB volunteers and APEGA staff, as well as APEGA Council, in taking bold steps to improve their service to regulating the professions for the overall benefit of Albertans. I commend them for their professionalism and diligence and have appreciated APEGA staff and the other volunteer members of the PRB fully embracing and giving due consideration to my input on behalf of the public interest.
Maria David-Evans, B.Sc., MBA, MA, RSW Public Member
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