To the Editor,
Letter to the Editor: First-person information about Tchou-San-Da vs. APEGBC Case.
Have you ever felt like the legitimacy of all Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (EGBC), all their services, and voting might be put in doubt by any choosy client or critical person?
Internet users can read many different articles about the Tchou-San-Da vs. Association Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC) case and about the resolution of this case in the Supreme Court of British Columbia (see some hyperlinks below). None of these articles provides readers with full information. Somehow my opinion was forgotten, as a result, regular readers or even members of EGBC receive a one-sided presentation, which is just the tip of the “iceberg”. These articles affect my reputation, career, and I decided to provide readers with first-person information.
Most professional engineers and geoscientists who were working under the old Professional Governance Act would never feel that it had unlawful bylaws. Nevertheless, the B.C. Supreme Court decision demanded the engineering association amend bylaws. A professionally designed project, for example, a high-rise building or a bridge could be accurately calculated and looks gorgeous, but anyway, the client or other parties may question the engineer’s professional legitimacy. Do engineers and geoscientists deserve this possibility and its implications?
The old Act had no criteria to evaluate the experience of a candidate applying for the Professional Engineer (P.Eng) membership. This question undermines the legitimacy of all engineers and geoscientists. The unlawful bylaws generated questionable eligibility. This is a causal relationship, which has been overlooked. But this affects engineers from time to time. These bylaws were about 100 years old.
But what about if such bylaws were questioning engineers for 50 years in a row? Or 100 years? Doesn’t it get a little … tired?
Industrials engineers were the most vulnerable under the old Act. How could an individual professional engineer defend public interests against, say, a plant owner, who is not an EGBC member? What are the mechanisms for regulations between engineers and owners? Such businesses do not necessarily follow EGBC’s Code of Ethics, whereas the P.Eng. is obliged to do so.
100 years of stress for industrial engineers of BC with the unlawful bylaws? Too much? Too tired?
I was working for an international business owner for months on a full-time basis in the position of Quality Assurance Manager and was the applicant for P.Eng. While this businessman tried to protect his investment, my goal was to protect public safety. Here comes a conflict of interests overlooked in the Professional Governance Act 100 years ago.
Every time I visited the head office of APEGBC, their executives repeated the same mantra: “You have to follow the Code of Ethics. The Act is good! Remember you are an applicant for P.Eng.”.
The more I asked APEGBC’s executives to amend the Act, the more I was stuck with my application process. There was no explanation of what I have to do to gain my local experience as an Engineer In Training! What would you do in such a situation?
I decided to take the advice of APEGBC’s officials and to follow the Code of Ethics – protect the public, other engineers, geoscientists, and for this purpose to implement required changes into the Professional Governance Act.
You would think it would be impossible, but it is not. You just have to be clear about what you doing… We’ve all been there …
I made my move. The Supreme Court of British Columbia stoutly supported my goal to amend the Act of APEGBC.
Some industrial engineers in B.C. appreciated my initiative to update the old Professional Governance Act in an attempt to deal with the conflict of interest between professional engineers and their clients and employers. This conflict of interests is in the process of elimination now, and we got criteria to evaluate experience for Engineers In Training.
I wrote this article, not for the reason to get more appreciation from the public, members of EGBC, or The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. It has a more simple reason – to represent my point of view.
It is not a secret that this experience sets me apart from the other 32 000 members of EGBC. “Thanks” to newsmakers.
Their articles only have a portion of the information that spreads the bitter taste of misunderstanding that still follows me in my life. I have decided to take action and to turn over this “iceberg” to illuminate what was underneath.
Serguei Tchou-San-Da, P.Eng., Ph.D.