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Call Made to Review Engineers Act in Quebec

Jean Marc Fournier

A bill tabled by Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier calling for reforms to the Engineers Act has earned plaudits from a Quebecois engineering association.

The bill will help fill gaps in the original act, which was passed in 1964. Since that time, widespread advances have been made in the engineering field, both in terms of scientific knowledge and the number of fields fallling under the engineering umbrella. In the nearly 50 years since the Engineering Act came into being, the sector has seen the advent of such diverse fields as aerospace, biomedical, environmental, automated production, software and more.

The Order des ingenieurs du Quebec (OIC) said the time was ripe for the act to be reviewed. Fournier’s call for a review of the act fell under the auspices of his role as Minister responsible for Administration of Professional Legislation.

“The tabling of this bill is a major step in the process that the OIQ has given its full attention in the last few years. By tabling this bill, Minister Fournier is making it possible for the legislative framework to be adapted to the modern realities of the engineering and construction sector,” said OIC president Maud Cohen, Eng. “To provide the OIQ with the tools it needs to fulfill its mission of protecting the public, it is now more important than ever before that the Act be adapted to the way engineering is now practiced and that the knowledge and skills of the engineers who work in these fields of practice meet the requirements of the Act.”

Fournier’s bill points to the important role engineers play in the developments of buildings, structure and infrastructure, energy systems and industrial processes and posits that engineers need to have a seat at the table when it comes to such developments for public safety reasons. Under the bill, engineers would be mandated to monitor engineering works, ensuring the safety of infrastructure and other structures.

“In the current context, it is more important than ever before to reassure the public by making sure that nothing compromises the integrity, safety, value and sustainability of engineering works,” Cohen said. “By better governing the way engineering works are monitored, not only will their design be reliable, but the subsequent steps of construction, maintenance, renovation and reconstruction will also be conducted without compromising their integrity.”

The OIQ has called for the bill to be passed following the usual legislative process and is hopeful that the Commission des institutions will prioritize its reading. The OIQ has also committed to cooperating throughout the consultation and adoption process.

By Richard Barnes
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