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Office of the Manitoba Fairness Commissioner


In response to the Fairness Commissioner’s Recommendations, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba proposed the following action plan as of June 2012. 

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1. That the Association develop and implement more timely alternate assessment strategies to recognize academic qualifications for IEEGs from non-equivalent academic programs; Two (2) assessment methods are commonly used by Canadian jurisdictions to determine whether an applicant’s education is equivalent to the Canadian standard set by the CEAB: (i) confirmatory exams and (ii) interviews. Manitoba has added two more options: (iii) courses in lieu of exams and (iv) the Internationally Educated Engineers Qualification program. A fifth option currently being tested in Alberta is the American “FE” or Fundamentals of Engineering exam. Although the FE exam seems like a good alternative method of testing equivalency, strict policies on the administration of the exam outside the USA by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying may prove too onerous and expensive for Canadian regulators.

Compliance with The Agreement on Internal Trade and The Mobility Act make it extremely difficult for professional regulators to provide alternate assessment options. Common practice between jurisdictions ensures mobility, while differential practices aggravates the agreement. As a result, APEGM is currently discussing alternate options at the national level with the other provincial regulators of engineering and geoscience to ensure mobility and compliance with AIT.

2. That the Association develop and implement an assessment strategy to recognize academic qualifications evident in professional work experience of IEEGs with less than ten years work experience; The interview option works very well for applicants with significant experience. Of the interviews conducted by APEGM, it has been seen that some applicants do well, while others demonstrate an astonishing lack of understanding of their discipline. Often this is because they have been stuck in a construction management role. For example, some applicants from the Middle East have worked extremely hard in a management role, but demonstrate limited growth in professional engineering practice.

It is a complex and sensitive process to match interviewers with applicant profiles. Done carefully and accurately, the interview candidate has a good opportunity for a fair and successful interview. However, sometimes it is difficult to assemble a panel of interviewers with the matching professional practice background of the candidate. Applicants who interview poorly cause embarrassment to themselves and create extreme disappointment for the panel members. Interviewers often resign from volunteer service in response to a bad interview.

One curious aspect about interviews is that many applicants want to proceed with them, but when asked what kind of time frame they would like – they ask for a time frame far into the future. For example, one person working in Dubai and another working in Afghanistan have requested interviews in 2014. This increases their years of work experience and confirms that many applicants are not in a hurry to sit for an interview. As a result, APEGM will explore the necessity and efficacy of reducing its interview cut-off below 10 years.

3. That the Association explore strategies to provide greater support to IEEGs challenging exams;The purpose of confirmatory exams is to confirm the knowledge that the applicant already possesses from their home country. APEGM provides information on available resources, past exams, text books and coaching. A recent support group for assessment applicants has been established by the APEGM Filipino Members Chapter. It is hoped that additional support groups can be added over time.

4. That the Association review the national Professional Practice Exam with regard to the difficulties it poses for IEEGs;The NPPE is a national standard and required by all engineering regulators across Canada. APEGM acknowledges that the NPPE poses a challenge to some applicants including IEEGs. Recently, APEGM has offered a successful NPPE preparatory seminar that covers material for the NPPE and includes strategies for writing and passing the exam. The instructor has been very good and well-received by the applicants. One improvement that will be added is a short session on ‘how to write a bubble test.’ APEGM has discovered that occasionally IEEGs have difficulty understanding this concept. Applicants who have taken the seminar appear to do better overall, than people who haven’t. The instructor contacts participants after the exam to get their feedback and has provided assistance to those who have had difficulties. The NPPE pass rate for Manitoba is 91% and APEGM is confident the NPPE is only a problem for a few. APEGM will ask the NAOG (National Admissions Officials Group) to consider extending the NPPE exam to 3 hours from the present 2 hour time limit.

5. That the Association give consideration to the development of a restricted scope of practice license;The restricted scope of practice license or “limited license” as it is known across Canada is not a new concept. Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia have limited licenses with common features. One standard requirement of the limited license is that the applicant must be a non-engineer. Chemists, biologists, technologists and other scientists and technical applicants seeking to practice in a small, specified scope of engineering apply for a limited license. They become registered as “engineering licensees” separate and distinct from the professional engineer license category.

An IEEG who successfully completes the registration process would be granted a full license as a professional engineer and not seek a limited license. Unsuccessful applicants may register with another certifying body and apply for a limited license as a non-engineer. APEGM is presently researching the possibility of new legislation to establish a licensee category in Manitoba.

6. That the Association review its volunteer service requirement;APEGM has not found the volunteer service requirement to be a barrier for IEEGs. The requirement is to obtain 12 hours of voluntary service and this will be made clearer in the new web section. Most IEEGs enjoy participating in volunteer events because it develops their networking skills. Many do more than the minimum. APEGM will review the volunteer service component in the context of the new continuing professional development by-law affecting all members.

7. That the Association review its policy regarding English language proficiency requirements and consider benchmarking its exams and/or reconsider the requirement of CLB level 8 in reading and writing as a requirement for challenging the exams;APEGM advises all applicants that a minimum language proficiency of CLB Level 8 is recommended. Many applicants obtain a CLB grade level before applying for assessment. A specific engineering CLB test designed for engineering applicants is being developed. APEGM will consider changing its policy once this specific test is available.

8. That the Association remove or significantly reduce the $500 deposit required for formal appeal, for those for whom this cost may be a barrier; in addition, that the Association provide information to explain the circumstances under which appellants may lose their deposit;To date, no one has been charged the appeal deposit of $500. There are two opportunities for an applicant to receive a hearing prior to a formal appeal: (i) reconsideration and (ii) hearing before the Registration Committee. In some cases, more than one reconsideration is given. Should an applicant be denied registration by the Registration Committee, they have the right to an appeal to Council. Appeals to Council carry a deposit of $500 which the council reserves the right to keep, but may elect to return to the appellant. Appeals to council are rare, but have occurred at considerable cost (ranging $2,000 to $5,000). Council has limited authority to collect costs from appellants. As a result, multiple reconsiderations prior to appeal and the deposit fee of $500 will remain the practice and policy respectively.

9. That the Association approach Engineers Canada to request a review of their academic credential assessment practice and to consider the possibility of allowing their data-base to be used to develop a tool that will allow IEEGs a better sense of how their academic qualifications will likely be assessed; APEGM will ask the foreign credential assessors of Engineers Canada to consider publishing their database for wider use as a self-assessment tool by IEEGs.

10. That, with respect to registration information, the Association provide:

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• A dedicated web section for IEEGs.APEGM will undertake this change by December 31, 2012.

• Information be introduced to better define the Association’s academic standard and the rationale behind its application.APEGM will add new information to the web section for IEEGs by December 31, 2012.

• Registration information be reviewed to ensure it is up-to-dateAPEGM will undertake this review by December 31, 2012.

• Information about the recognition of international work experience be clarified.APEGM will undertake this clarification in the web section for IEEGs by December 31, 2012.

• Information be provided about the English language proficiency requirements and communication demands of the profession.APEGM will undertake this change in the web section for IEEGs by December 31, 2012.

• More practical, concrete information be provided about the Association’s Code of Ethics and the ethical obligations of professional practice.APEGM will add this information to the IEEG web section by December 31, 2012.

• Information be provided to clarify the possibility of IEEGs providing alternative documentation, with reasons, when they cannot provide the required documentation due to unalterable circumstances.The APEGM Academic Review Committee (ARC) will discuss this topic at its upcoming policy meeting. A draft policy allowing for alternative documentation will be presented. Once ratified, it will be included in the web section for IEEGs.

• Academic assessment letters be required to make reference to the guidelines employed. Letters should also identify the Engineering Economics Exam where appropriate.APEGM is confident that assessment letters are accurate, detailed and provide complete information back to all applicants. Engineering Economics is identified where applicable. Only applicants not showing Engineering Economics on their transcript are assigned the exam. Applicants referred to the IEEQ Program are required to take the course over again as part of the UM Faculty of Engineering syllabus. Although this is a repeat for the applicant, it is an IEEQ/UM policy outside the control and authority of APEGM.

• A more elaborate definition of the meaning of licensure be provided, one which gives better explanation of the possibility of non-licensed engineering and geoscientific work and which better explains what is involved when licensed engineers and geoscientists directly supervise and take legal responsibility for engineering and geoscientific work.APEGM will add this information to the IEEG web section by December 31, 2012.

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11. That information be provided about the procedure for accessing records.APEGM provides a secured login area on its web site where assessment applicants can access their own file information. Restrictions prevent the viewing of some confidential documents, but the applicant can access and manage most of their own information. Accessing paper records requires assistance from an APEGM staff member. Information about the procedure for accessing records in person will be added to the IEEG web section by December 31, 2012.

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