Professionalism requires a set of attitudes and behaviors that may be related to:
- Honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness
- Knowledge and competance
- Knowing ones limitations
- Lifelong learning
- Efficiency and time management
Generally the role of engineers is to demonstrate professionalism and adhere to code of ethics. Specifically engineers: protect the public and serve public interest. Where “public interest” means the benefit to the general public — net benefit vs costs to the public.
To protect the public, engineers minimize risk of failure that impact public safety. To serve public interest, engineers reduce negative society, environmental, and economical impact.
EGBC regulates engineering practices in BC. They uphold and protect public interest with respect to engineering.
Self regulation is regulation of a profession by members themselves. In BC, engineering is self-regulated. The alternative is direct regulation by government bodies.
EGBC, along with other associations make up Engineers Canada which includes Canadian Engineering Accredidation Board (CEAB) for accreding engineering programs and Canadian Engineering Qualification Board (CEQB) for developing national guideines for engineering qualifiations and standards.
- Canadian citizen or permanent residence
- Completed accredited program
- 4 years of engineering experience (at least 1 year in Canada)
- Attend law and ethics seminar
- Attend professional practice exam
- English language competency
- Evidence of good character
- Employment requirement of many positions
- Right to practice professional engineering
- Right to P.Eng title
- Prestige, distinction, and professional excellence
- Engagement in professional committees
- Access to EGBC publications, service, professional development, etc.
- Engineering Licensee — can practice within a prescribed scope
- P.Eng with non-practicing status
- Non-Resident Licensee — licensed to practice in BC
- Inter-Association Mobility Agreement — P.Eng or EIT from another province
- International Agreement — P.Eng from another country
- Provisional Member - applicants working towards one-year experience in Canada requirement
Recall from week 2, engineers-in-training status are granted to graduated people working towards P.Eng. Experience requirement is under P.Eng supervision.
A ritual to serve as a reminder of the obligations, ethics, and humility associated with the profession.
Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest arises when a professional has a special interest that influences their professional duties.
Special interests typically consists of:
- self-interest like job, career, reputation, etc.
- financial relationdships with family or friends
- emotional connection
Professional duties typical consists of:
- duty of care and standard of care
- impartiality/fairness when making decisions/evaluations
- fiduciary duties
COI could result in:
- Damage to reputation and career
- Damage to company
- Damage to the profession
- Criminal and civil charges
- Conflicting interest is not a COI
- Conflicting legitimate obligations are not COI
- Ethical Dilemma is not COI
Types of COI
- Actual COI: evidence of interference of professional duties by special interests is beyond reasonable doubt.
- Potential COI: current situation does not infer an actual COI, but could lead to an actual COI through a possible chain of events.
- Apparent COI: is not an actual COI, but to a reasonable person/outsider the situation would appear to be an actual COI.
We want to avoid any of these cases.
Cause of COI
Fundamentally COI is a battle between self-interest against interest of others. Self-interest is from automatic mental processes, which leads to latent biases such as:
- implicit prejudice
Automatic processes are opposite of controlled processes. They are done subconciosuly and its influence on decision-making is difficult to eliminate, i.e. COI is inevitable.
|Fast (parallel processing)
||Slow (serial processing)
|Inaccessible to introspection
|Acts on self-interest
||Acts on professional duties
Since automatic processes cannot be eliminated, if we foresee COI, we must:
- Try to avoid it
- Disclose to all concerned; not that this does not eliminate or mitigate COI
- Recuse — disqualify oneself from any decisions
- The conflict between professional duties and personal morality (ethical dilemma) is not a conflict of interest.
- Negative consequences of conflict of interst could include: damage to work colleagues or company, damage to reputation and career, and possible criminal and civil charges.
- The CEAB is responsible for accrediting all Canadian university engineeing programs to ensure schools are meeting criteria regarding faculty expertise and student knowledge base.
- A P.Eng from another country cannot immediately obtain a P.Eng license upon starting a new job in Canada — at least 1 year of experience in Canada is required.
- The EGBC is given authority from The provincial Engineers and Geoscientists Act.
- A code of conduct, for example, could be policies established to outline environmental responsibility, conflict of interest, workpalce safety and alcohol and drug use.
- Engineers usually don’t have fiduciary duties.
- It is not possible to completely separate one’s personal interest from their professional duties because the brain associated with emotions do not operate independently of those associated with cognition and control.
- If one has completed 4 years of engineering work experience, the CEAB would be the organization responsible for taking issues with them.