Frequently Asked Questions - Life membership and non-practicing category changes

PEGNL is making necessary changes to our life membership and non-practicing categories. 

This document is aimed at providing clarity and answering anticipated questions. We will add questions and answers to this document as we receive them.

We are seeking your feedback on these changes. Please provide your comments or questions by emailing Megan at main@pegnl.ca by October 3. This feedback will be important in informing any potential final amendments to the Bylaw which outlines the categories of membership in PEGNL. The current proposed changes to that By-Law can be found HERE.

What are the life membership and the non-practicing categories?

Life membership is a category of membership that was created to provide retired professional engineers and geoscientists a formal connection to the organization after they have stopped practicing. In addition to the requirement of being retired from practice, the life membership category requires a member to be at last 60 years old and to have been a PEGNL member for a minimum of 20 years in order to be eligible. 

The non-practicing category currently has two different options: non-practicing-maintaining-the-right-to-practice (maintaining eligibility to return to practicing status through adherence with the PD program, but not currently engaging in the practice of the professions) and non-practicing-not-maintaining-the-right-to-practice (not maintaining eligibility to practice but wishing to maintain membership with PEGNL while not meeting the criteria for life membership). 

What changes are happening to the life membership and non-practicing categories?

The key change for members in both categories is how they use the designations P.Eng. and P. Geo. When using a designation, life and non-practicing members must now add one of two qualifiers depending on their employment status: (Retired) or (Non-practicing). The (Retired) qualifier is for individuals who no longer work. It must be presented in a non-abbreviated form and accompany any use of P. Eng. or P. Geo. The (Non-practicing) qualifier is for individuals who are not registered to practice but are not retired. The (Non-practicing) qualifier must also be presented in a non-abbreviated form and accompany any use of either P. Eng. or P. Geo.

Another change is that all life and non-practicing members will be required to sign an annual declaration of their non-practicing status.

On approval of the proposed changes to the By-Law, the non-practicing category will be used by any previously licensed individual with PEGNL who is no longer entitled to practice and has not already become a life member. There are no age or years of service restrictions to this category. License holders who are currently in the non-practicing, maintaining-the-right-to-practice category will have the choice of applying to move back to practicing status or joining the non-practicing member category.

Upon amendment of the By-law, no new applications for the life membership category will be accepted. Those members will maintain the option to voluntarily pay fees.  

PEGNL previously communicated changes to these categories that were different from what I'm reading now. Why did you decide to not adopt all of those changes?

The initial changes that were made to member categories were in response to issues relating to our regulatory responsibilities. At PEGNL, we are charged with administering the Engineers and Geoscientists Act, 2008, as owned by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Internal and legal reviews had found that allowing the use of P. Eng. and P. Geo. in unqualified formats by those not entitled to practice was in contravention of the Act, and the ideal alternative to this misuse was to limit any use of the designation to those entitled to practice.

Upon seeking feedback from members and the Board of Directors about these changes, we were asked to compile further information on the practice across the country and to obtain a broader legal opinion.

After gathering this information and hearing this feedback, we worked towards finding a new solution that encompassed the concerns from members like you while abiding by legislation.  Feedback on this new proposal will be collected and reviewed in the same manner. We ask that you provide feedback by October 3 to help inform any other potential amendments prior to being presented to the Board of Directors.

Why does The Act not permit a former license holder to use a non-modified version of the designation?

Section 2, subsections j-k of The Act defines professional engineers and geoscientists:

 2. In this Act:

   (j)  "professional engineer" means a person registered to engage in the practice of engineering under this Act;

                   (k)  "professional geoscientist" means a person registered to engage in the practice of geoscience under this Act;

While sections 15 and 17 refer to the use of title:

 15. (1) A professional engineer only shall use the title "professional engineer" or the abbreviation "P. Eng.".

17. (1) A professional geoscientist only shall use the title "professional geoscientist" or the abbreviation "P. Geo.".

What are the benefits of being a non-practicing member?

Non-practicing members retain voting privileges, access to insurance programs and can receive all PEGNL communications. They are also eligible for membership in their regional Connections Chapter and to volunteer with PEGNL.

We are thankful we can maintain relationships with our former license holders and recognize the support they provide in our operations, along with their contributions to the professions.

What is the cost to being a non-practicing member?

The annual licensure fee will be reduced by 80% for non-practicing members. Payment of fees by life members will continue to be voluntary.

If I am not currently practicing, how do I return to practice?

Please contact the PEGNL office at (709) 753-7714 and as for either Mark Fewer (ext. 106) or Janet Bradshaw (ext. 107).

When will this change happen?

Upon amendment of the By-law, no new applications for the life membership category will be accepted. As of January 1, 2020, the current non-practicing categories will be replaced by the new, singular non-practicing category. 

And what other timelines are involved in this process?

On October 10, the PEGNL Board will review the proposed by-law changes together with a summary of feedback received.