Regulation of Members & Discipline Process (NPPE Notes)


See all notes here:


Unskilled practice (or incompetence)

When the professional shows a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment when practicing.  

Practice reviews of individuals (purpose of)

To ensure members are practicing competently and professionally. Also, to evaluate a member looking to reinstate their license.

Practice reviews of individuals (consequences for failing)

  1. The license, permit or certificate can be canceled. 
  2. A fine.
  3. The results can be published on the association’s website.

Unprofessional conduct (or professional misconduct)

Any conduct of a professional member or certificate holder goes against the public's best interests or a code of ethics or displays a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment. 

Discipline (purpose of)

To reprimand, suspend or expel members who are guilty of professional misconduct, negligence, or incompetency to ensure high professional standards. 

Discipline (list 3 consequences)

  1. Revoke the license. 
  2. Suspend the license. 
  3. Impose restrictions on the license (e.g. needs to be supervised). 
  4. Require the practitioner to pay the cost of the investigation and hearing. 
  5. Require the practitioner to take a course or write examinations set by the Association. 
  6. Impose a fine.

Continuing professional development (purpose)

Lifelong learning in the interest of protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public. 

Practice reviews of individuals (3 types)

  1. Random (to ensure compliance among a sample large enough to represent the membership). 
  2. By request of the member. 
  3. If the member is requesting reinstatement. 

Continuing professional development (requirements)

Approximately 80 hours per year for 3 years in different categories (e.g. professional practice; formal; informal; participation; presentations; and contributions to knowledge).

Discipline (procedure)

The 3 stages of the disciplinary process are:

Step 1: Gathering Evidence

Step 2: Investigation and Review of the Complaint:

- The investigative committee (or complaints committee) reviews the complaint and decides whether they will refer the complaint to the discipline committee for a formal hearing or dismiss the complaint

Step 3: The Discipline Hearing:

- Formal hearing by the discipline committee

Practice review of firms (purpose of)

To assess whether the processes and procedures for a professional in a workplace are consistent with the professional standards.


What is the difference between Unprofessional Conduct, and Unskilled Practice?

Unprofessional Conduct versus Unskilled Practice.Under each provincial and territorial Act, an association is responsible for protecting the safety of the public by responding to complaints and disciplining its members. The finding of both unskilled practice or unprofessional conduct are causes for an association to discipline a member. Unprofessional conduct is also known as professional misconduct and is a term that describes any action by a member that is detrimental to the best interest of the public or an action that harms or tends to harm the standing of the profession generally.  Though each association cannot define every Act of Professional misconduct, most include general clauses that would describe it as any act that would reasonably be regarded as dishonorable, disgraceful, or unprofessional.

Unskilled practice is a term that is used to describe incompetent practice, or practice that lacks skill, knowledge, or judgement.

What’s the difference between Complaints Committee, and Investigative Committee?

The term complaints committee, and investigative committee, can be used interchangeably as they both refer to the association committee responsible for reviewing complaints made against professional engineers and geoscientists. The name used simply depends on the provincial or territorial association in question.

The discipline process:

  1. Complaint made against professional engineer or geoscientist
  2. Investigative/Complaints committee (made of licensed members) reviews and evaluates every signed complaint, without contacting either the complainant, or engineer.  They then decide whether to refer the case to the discipline committee for a formal hearing.
  3. Committee decides if the case is approved for a penalty, or dismissed if the case is frivolous/insufficient evidence. 

What’s the difference between Practice Reviews of Individuals and Practice Reviews of Firms?

Both types of reviews serve the purpose of protecting the public. These reviews cover both the practice of the individuals, and firms or permit holders. The main difference is that one review focuses on an individual (ensures professional standards are being met), whereas the other reviews a firm or permit certificate holders (ensures they have appropriate professional practice management plans in place).

Are unprofessional conduct and professional misconduct the same thing?

Yes both terms mean the same thing, and they mean any conduct by a member who puts the public’s safety or well-being in jeopardy. This also can mean a lack of skill or judgment in their area of expertise.  

Would a physical injury be considered incapacity?

Yes, a physical injury could be considered incapacity. Incapacity means any physical, mental, or emotional condition that prevents a professional from doing their job safely and competently.

Is the discipline consequence and process different for different types of member actions?

The discipline consequence is always the same for anyone that breaches the Act, regulations, or bylaws.  The process begins with a complaint that is issued to the association, where a council looks over and gathers evidence, and submits this to the discipline committee if the case is approved. The consequences vary for the extent of the case, and are put in place according to the severity of the act.

What is the difference between a peer review and a peer practice?

A peer review is something that a company initiates to improve something about the business (eg. a hiring process, manufacturing process etc). This method gets independent feedback from an outside source to help them improve their product or service.  Peer Practice on the other hand, is done by the engineering regulator to ensure excellence in professional practice and ensure that their members are adhering to the codes of practice.

How long in my career do I have to do continuing professional development and learning?

The idea that professional development and learning will occur at all times throughout your career, specifically by maintaining your quality of work, keeping up with the standards and regulations, and continuing to grow your professional experience in the field.

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