On October 3rd, 2023, the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly passed Bill 93, Practice of Engineering, Geoscience and Applied Science Technology Act, which will help match industry standards to other Canadian jurisdictions. Bill 93 repealed and replaced the former Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act with a new and modernized Act. The Honourable Diane Archie, Deputy Premier and Minister of Infrastructure, sponsored the Bill. The Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (NAPEG) is the administrator of the Act. As such, NAPEG provided important recommendations for amendments to the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment, which were adopted. Some of these adopted amendments include:
• Allow NAPEG to accept academic qualifications reviews from other Canadian engineering/geoscience regulators for Registrants-In-Training to remove barriers to relocating to the Northwest Territories;
• Give NAPEG the ability to implement Limited Licenses to improve labour mobility;
• Make professional development mandatory for licensed professionals, ensuring
skillsets are kept up-to-date;
• And, give NAPEG explicit authorization to publish disciplinary findings publicly, as part of the modernization of disciplinary practices.
The new Practice of Engineering, Geoscience and Applied Science Technology Act will help better protect the public, which is “the primary role of NAPEG,” says Melanie Williams, P.Eng., President of NAPEG. “The standards in this Act help us provide greater transparency and accountability to the public with renewed disciplinary actions and the ability to enforce professional development requirements,” Williams explains. In addition, many of the changes are geared at making it easier for professionals to apply for NAPEG membership to work in the North. “The new Act will reduce barriers faced by internationally-trained professionals or those coming to the Northwest Territories from
other Canadian provinces or territories,” Williams continues. This is particularly important, she notes, due to the “labour shortages looming and the lagging enrolment of students in engineering and geoscience programs across Canada.” According to Statistics Canada data, mining and mineral engineering graduates alone dropped by a third between 2016 and 2022. With the Act passed, NAPEG will be responsible for implementing these changes on an agreed-upon schedule with the Government of the Northwest Territories.