Professional Engineers Association Appeals Court Decision Allowing Use of “Software Engineer” Title

Professional Engineers Association Appeals Court Decision Allowing Use of "Software Engineer" Title

Concerns arise over potential misuse of the term “engineer

The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) is appealing a recent court decision that permits a company to use the term “software engineer” in job advertisements. The association is concerned that this decision could set a precedent for the unregulated use of the term “engineer,” raising issues of public safety and professional integrity. APEGA’s appeal comes after a November 9 ruling by Justice J.S. Little, who determined that using the term “software engineer” does not breach the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act (EGPA) in Alberta.

The Definition of Engineering

Justice J.S. Little’s decision was based on the interpretation that employees with the title “software engineer” are not practicing engineering as defined in the EGPA. This distinction was made because the term was being used in resumes and job advertisements rather than in soliciting work from the public. Little also found that the use of the term did not misrepresent the field of engineering.

Concerns for Public Safety and Professional Integrity

APEGA argues that the court’s decision could lead to the increased use of the title “engineer” in various industries, potentially compromising public safety and professional integrity. The association emphasizes that the title “engineer” is synonymous with a commitment to excellence, adherence to a code of ethics, and a dedication to the public interest. APEGA believes that ensuring titles are not used in a misleading manner is crucial for the protection of Albertans.

Bill 7 and the Exemption for “Software Engineer”

On Thursday, Bill 7, also known as the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Amendment Act, received royal assent in Alberta. This bill includes an exemption for the term “software engineer” from the EGPA. APEGA’s court appeal seeks to address the potential unauthorized use of the “engineer” title outside the technology industry. The association is concerned about the misuse of the title leading to confusion and the hiring of individuals who are not qualified to practice engineering. APEGA also warns that the Alberta court decision could set a concerning precedent beyond the province’s borders.

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APEGA’s Role as a Regulator

APEGA has been the regulator of the engineering and geoscience professions in Alberta for over a century. The association’s mandate is to ensure the protection of the public and maintain the integrity of the professions it oversees. By appealing the court decision, APEGA aims to safeguard the proper use of the “engineer” title and maintain the trust that the public places in the engineering profession.

Conclusion:

The appeal filed by APEGA against the court decision allowing the use of the term “software engineer” in job advertisements highlights the association’s concerns about potential misuse of the title “engineer.” APEGA argues that such misuse could compromise public safety and professional integrity. The association’s appeal aims to address the unauthorized use of the “engineer” title outside the technology industry and prevent confusion and the hiring of unqualified individuals. APEGA’s role as a regulator is to protect the public and maintain the standards of excellence associated with the engineering profession. The outcome of this appeal will have implications not only within Alberta but also potentially beyond its borders.

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