INNOVATION November-December 2013

regu la tor y note s

BC-Ontario Agreement Improves Geoscience Practice Mobility APEGBC and the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (APGO) have signed an agreement that will support improved labour mobility for geoscience professionals in both provinces. Implementation of the agreement on a two-year pilot basis will take effect January 1, 2014. Furthermore, 84.7% of survey respondents indicated that the ability to carry out short-term assignments in other jurisdictions would be beneficial to their practice. In addition to reducing the regulatory burden for both geoscientists and regulators alike, the agreement has positive implications for public protection. Now, a single organization—the geoscientist’s home association— will have disciplinary responsibility for that individual,

The Professional Geoscience Mobility Agreement allows geoscience professionals registered in one of the signatory provinces to perform short-term work (defined as 45 days or less per year) in the other without the need to hold a licence in that province. Currently, a geoscientist must hold a separate licence for every jurisdiction in which they practice, regardless of the length of time spent working there. APEGBC and APGO have legislated authority through provincial statute to enter into this type of agreement. Owing to the temporary and spontaneous nature of many geoscience projects, the concept o f incidental practice has long been of particular interest to geoscientists in the mineral exploration and oil and gas industries. The Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC) has expressed its support for the agreement and recognizes the value-added for its members. “This important agreement will enable AME BC members to move freely between jurisdictions and implement best practices in geoscience wherever they operate.” Under APEGBC’s current legal framework, and in accordance with the Agreement on Internal Trade, anyone who is registered as a professional geoscientist elsewhere in Canada is qualified, with very few exceptions, to be registered with APEGBC. Establishing incidental practice rights further facilitates mobility for short-term geoscience practice and may provide an economic benefit by helping to address regional skilled labour shortages in the mining,

regardless of whether a complaint occurs in BC or Ontario, eliminating the need for multiple discipline processes to assure public protection in both jurisdictions. APEGBC and APGO have also received feedback from government, business, and other stakeholders that is enthusiastically supportive of enhanced seamless mobility; however several geoscience regulators have advised caution in implementing short-term unlicensed practice. It is for this reason that the two provincial bodies are moving ahead to implement the agreement on a two-year pilot basis. Professional geoscientists and limited licensees who are members of APGO and who wish to take advantage of the incidental practice agreement when it comes into effect January 1, 2014, may resign their APEGBC membership online in lieu of paying 2014 fees. Geoscience members and licensees of APEGBC and APGO who wish to take advantage of short-term practice under the terms of the agreement must keep records of their incidental practice for auditing purposes. On a yearly basis, they will also be asked to report their incidental practice for statistical purposes. Full information on the agreement may be found on the regulators’ websites. APGO members: APEGBC members: Professional-Practice/Professional-Geoscience- Mobility-Agreement

natural resource, and energy sectors. Mobility is essential for experts in a given field. SLR Consulting (Canada) Ltd., an environmental consulting firm, agrees. “This [agreement] provides an important cross-pollination of skills between offices and provinces that can only strengthen the practice of geoscience in each province and Canada-wide,” said Richard Johnson, Director and Chief Operating Officer. Consultation with geoscience members of both associations prior to the signing of the agreement indicated strong support, with a majority of members surveyed indicating that they already practice in more than one province or territory in Canada.


Nov e m b e r /D e c e m b e r 2 013

i n n o v a t i o n

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