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APEGS Member Disciplined for Professional Misconduct

August 8th, 2022

A discipline panel convened on April 21, 2022 to hear professional misconduct allegations against Bill (Xiangjun) Ma, P.Eng. which were received in a written complaint to APEGS. Mr. Ma pled not guilty to two counts of professional misconduct.

The allegations against Mr. Ma were that he undertook engineering services outside his area of competence and did not practice in a careful and diligent manner in a design proposal for renovations to a commercial building in Saskatchewan. These actions were contrary to subsection 20(2)(b) of The Engineering and Geoscience Professions Regulatory Bylaws, 1997.

In October 2019, Mr. Ma prepared and sealed drawings that contained errors in design, and other errors in detail. The drawings appeared to be final, as indicated by the words “for permit”, and contained an electronic reproduction of his professional seal and signature. The drawings were transmitted to a friend of Mr. Ma and subsequently became public. The complainant observed and reported the deficiencies in the drawings to Mr. Ma and to APEGS. Further, the drawings were prepared under the corporate name AACG Ltd. and the organization did not hold the required Certificate of Authorization from APEGS.

The panel determined that the actions of Mr. Ma failed to follow the enduring principles established in the Code of Ethics and failed to protect the safety, health and welfare of the public by releasing drawings that could reasonably be viewed by a member of the public as final drawings. The drawings were not marked as preliminary, not for construction, or something similar to indicate they were not final and they were sealed and signed.

Section 21 of The Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act provides that professional seals may only be applied to final drawings.  By applying a professional seal or an electronic reproduction of a professional seal to preliminary drawings, Mr. Ma breached section 21 of the Act. The Panel acknowledged that the seal was signed, although it was not dated as per section 25 of the Bylaws. However, a member of the public would not be informed enough to notice that detail and neither did the complainant, an engineer, make note of that in their complaint.

The hearing panel acknowledged that the fundamental purpose of sentencing for professional misconduct is the protection of the public. Mr. Ma demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of the use of the professional seal and the impact of a stamped, incorrect document getting into the hands of the public. The risk was that if construction was undertaken with the submitted documents, no matter their intent and no matter how they got to the public, the public would be subjected to a real risk and the profession would be negatively impacted. The control and use of the seal was the issue in question and the orders reflected that.

The hearing panel ordered that Mr. Ma:

  • Is reprimanded for professional misconduct.
  • Shall attend and provide proof of attendance at the APEGS Law and Ethics Seminar and pass the Professional Practice Examination.
  • Shall practice under the supervision of a professional engineer approved by the Registrar of APEGS or have his professional engineering work reviewed by a professional engineer approved by the Registrar, at his own expense. This arrangement shall continue for a period of one year after passing the Professional Practice Exam.
  • Shall obtain a Certificate of Authorization and Permission to Consult as required to provide consulting engineering services for projects or properties located in Saskatchewan.
  • Shall pay costs of the investigation and hearing to a maximum of $1,500 and a fine of $500.

It was further ordered that the Decision and Order be published with names. Failure to comply with any of the orders would result in Mr. Ma being suspended from APEGS and he would remain suspended until there is compliance with the orders.

The full text of the decision and order can be found in the Complaints and Enforcement section of our website at https://www.apegs.ca/complaints-enforcement/discipline-hearings-notices.


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