Mandatory continuing professional development — How will it impact you?

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In September 2013, OSPE presented a report on continuing professional development (CPD) to Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) Council. The report recommended that PEO adopt a modified version of the program used by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA).

Since then, PEO Council has formed the Continuing Professional Development, Competence and Quality Assurance (CPDCQA) task force to develop recommendations for a PEO CPD program.

In addition, on October 15, 2014, the Honourable Paul R. Bélanger, Commissioner of the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry, released his report on the partial collapse of the rooftop parking deck of the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ontario. Among the recommendations in the report, Bélanger called on PEO to establish a system of mandatory CPD for its members as soon as possible, and no later than April 2016.

PEO’s CPDCQA task force is currently considering a system that would take into account each licence holder’s practice of the profession. It is building its recommendations based on these guiding principles:

  1. A PEO CPD program must improve the regulation of professional engineering in the public interest.
  2. A PEO CPD program must be tied to the engineering services provided by each practitioner and the necessary skills and knowledge to perform them.
  3. A PEO CPD program must ensure only that practitioners maintain a level of knowledge and skill that safeguards the public.
  4. A PEO CPD program must recognize practitioners’ diverse needs and resources.
  5. The requirements of a PEO CPD program must relate to the risk to the public imposed by each practitioner’s practice of engineering.
  6. The effectiveness of a PEO CPD program must be measured against a predetermined goal and the program must effectively assist practitioners in determining their CPD requirements and complying with them.

Based on these principles, the task force is currently recommending that PEO’s CPD program have three levels of requirements, according to whether practitioners are:

  1. Non-practising (professionalism module required, including ethics, regulatory and legal aspects of practice); or
  2. Practising (professionalism module required, plus a self-directed technical study program based on the practitioner’s practice risk assessment); or
  3. Specialist (professionalism module and self-directed technical program required, plus an assigned technical study program).

Please send your comments, questions and suggestions to PEO’s CPDCQA task force at CPDCQA@peo.on.ca, with a copy to John Moudakis, OSPE’s Manager, Professional Development and Career Services at jmoudakis@ospe.on.ca.

 

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. ALI

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? ARE YOU ALL IN YOUR MIND ospe? THIS IS A PURE MONEY MAKING SCHEME JUST LIKE PMI’S PMP.. THEY ARE GONA FORCE YOU TO TAKE EXPENSIVE COURSE JUST FOR THE HECK OF IT.

  2. Staff

    Thanks for your comments Bronwen, Peter and Ali.

    Ali – as the leading provider of professional development services for engineers across Ontario, the Society believes that Continuing Professional Development will ensure practitioners maintain a level of knowledge and skill that safeguards the public, while helping engineers tailor their education to meet their career goals and aspirations.

    Professional Engineers Ontario’s (PEO) is hosting Town Hall meetings across Ontario to get input on its continuing professional development program. We encourage you attend and share your ideas. You may attend the Town Halls in person or via webcast/teleconference. More information here: http://www.peo.on.ca/index.php/ci_id/29011/la_id/1.htm

  3. Peter Rapin, P Eng

    I am a retired engineer, with a valid license, and have practiced in three provinces. I was also a member of PMI and maintained a PMP designation for a number of years.
    I agree with mandatory CPD for active engineers providing professional services with an impact on the public. In my 40+ year career any refresher and/or training was provided haphazardly by my employer (there were many) and through personal research and self-education. Some of my supervisors were engineers and recognized the need, others not so much. Most employer based training was to enhance my value to the client (a CV builder) rather than concern for public responsibility. I don’t think it’s asking too much for a professional to dedicate some hours to his/her career development each year and maintain their license. Formalizing it and making it mandatory is a natural evolution of that process. The public, through the Professional Engineers Act as regulated by PEO, has every right to expect engineers providing professional services to be up to date within their field and know that there is a process in place to ensure that is the case. I fear that those opposed are the small percentage of practicing engineers that would benefit the most.
    I agree the PMI PDU is mostly a money maker however the comparison to the PMI “PDU’ system is not valid. PMI designation is for non-licensed services. There is no “protection of the public” component to PMI whatsoever.
    Let’s get this in place before it’s mandated through the Act or we lose our self-governing status.

  4. Jeff Dixon

    I am wondering why OSPE is involved with this issue at all? I understood that when OSPE was put in place its goals were to be focused on advocating for engineers in Ontario and supporting improved services and/or benefits, not regulating engineers or placing more requirements on them for a designation that in many areas is increasingly less relevant. I am left to wonder why we are paying for a pseudo-duplicate of PEO?

  5. Staff

    Thanks for your comment Jeff. OSPE is the leading provider of professional development services for engineers across Ontario. As PEO’s sister organization, we are working with their Continuing Professional Development Committee to ensure OSPE will be able to execute any new or required training programs effectively.

    Check out OSPE’s blog post which clarifies the difference between PEO and OSPE, and the top 3 reasons why every engineer should join their advocacy organization.

  6. Dave Freeman

    As a semi-retired engineer with a PMP designation, I agree with the requirement for CPD for engineers. Having said that, I, like Ali, am concerned that this will evolve into a money making scheme for various course providers. We have already seen the OSPE offer courses from Queen’s that generally run in the $1500 – $3000 range, which is pretty steep for a working engineer. I realize that the large cadre of my colleagues working for government owned entities, such as OPG, have their course costs covered by their employer, but those of us working for consulting organizations or as independent contractors don’t have that luxury.
    As a PMP, I have found some online courses that are more affordable and I have also found online courses in engineering subjects that are less costly, but my fear is that PEO and OSPE will mandate only courses provided by one of the universities in the province and if Queen’s is typical, it is going to be a very expensive load on working engineers.

  7. Mitch Vine

    As a registered engineer, like many others, I have worked for over 30 years in positions where being registered was completely optional. Annual registration fees are fairly modest compared to other professions, and so it hasnt been too expensive to pay my annual dues. However that will not be the case with mandatory professional development. There is a large annual cost and time commitment for mandatory professional development. I would probably drop my registration completely and I suspect there are thousands of Engineers in a similar situation.

  8. Graham Wayy

    Down with OSPE!!! OSPE has to be abolished. You are a total waste of time and money for engineers. You have never done anything useful for engineers or for the public. All you stand for is rent-seeking, making money off engineers and their employers.
    I am not paying you any dime, you gang of thieves!
    No to Mandatory courses!!!

  9. EDWARD GASIOR

    I disagree with any system of mandatory CPD program put forth by OSPE. All professional engineers practice in a wide variety of disciplines. There are many professional technical associations such as IEEE ASME and others that provide courses directly pertaining to the engineers area of practice. I have my LEED certification and the courses required to maintain it are expensive and to qualify for all the CPD credits you have to take courses that you are not interested in nor applicable to the area you practice. This is just a money grab to maintain the agency executive salaries. OSPE or PEO should not put CPD as a requirement for maintaining an engineers license..

  10. Staff

    Thanks for your comment Mitch. As mentioned, you can voice your opinions regarding CPD through PEO’s Town Hall meetings happening across Ontario. We encourage you to attend and share your ideas.

    Graham – sorry you feel that way. OSPE has done a lot for the engineering profession, including educating the public. Some of our recent media coverage includes bringing attention to the underemployment issue, discussing options for the Gardiner Expressway from an engineering perspective, and promoting diversity in the profession. We offer free access to an engineering-specific job board, we run Engineering Employment Events for professionals looking for work, and we publish reports that provide engineering input on government policy, like our most recent Engineering A Cleaner Economy: Examining Ontario’s Carbon Pricing Program and the Role of Innovation. If there’s something additional we can offer or an issue you feel we should be tackling, please get in touch with us at memberservices@ospe.on.ca.

  11. R. McAuley

    I am a registered Professional Engineer (30 yrs) and proud of it! I’m also a Certified Building Code Official, so I have been watching the Elliot Lake Inquiry with double interest. I fail to see how forcing CPD onto Professional Engineers would have changed the outcome of that terrible event. The individual Engineer and the building’s owners had much to do with those events, and i doubt that a CPD, had it been in place, would have changed anything. PEO already has a well oiled and respected process to vet candidates, and discipline them if needed. And they do not appear afraid to use either!. In my opinion, CPD does nothing to avoid the incompetent or unscrupulous engineer and the honorable Commissioner took a quick way out to blame and regulate our profession for the ills of one member, instead of focusing on that person’s unprofessional and unethical behavior. I, like most of my peers i know, take CPD courses to stay current or enhance our work. They do not need to be forced upon us. We are, after all, Professionals!!! .

  12. John

    We must remember that we are in a position where either the PEO does a thorough job with our input, or the politicians will mandate their own brand without any input from those effected.
    Attend those Town Hall meetings and make your voices heard.
    This type of continuing education is necessary in our rapidly changing fields and there are many options that can be included that are not time and money consuming.
    Some that I have seen other jurisdictions use are attending conferences and symposia in your field, Tutoring others, and participating in standards development activities

  13. Stephen Stewart P.Eng, MBA

    I think a mixed set of comments have been left. The views are polarized and both have valid points. I would concur though that I have seen no proposal that would have altered the outcome of the situation we have and until one is presented I would not support a change.

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