APEGS ANNUAL MEETING RACK SESSIONS<
The FYI on CPD
Continuing professional development (CPD) has been a hot topic at APEGS annual meetings for many years and 2019 was no exception. With the new mandatory reporting requirement passed at the 2018 Annual Meeting, APEGS members have more questions than ever on this topic. APEGS staff members Luke Brisebois, P.Eng. and Jolene Arthur were on hand to give some guidance.
risebois brought an important perspective to the discussion. In addition to being an engineer, he has recently completed his law degree.
“CPD is part of our obligation as a profession, similar to other professions. It’s a vital part of keeping our skills sharp,” Brisebois said.
Although CPD has been in the APEGS bylaws for a long time, until last year members could track their CPD requirements themselves and any reporting was purely voluntary. The move to mandatory reporting was necessary to keep APEGS in line with its counterparts across the country and other professional associations. “It helps maintain public confidence for our professions both individually and collectively. It’s in your interests to protect your professional reputation. If something goes wrong on a project, a verifiable CPD record allays concerns that professional competence might have been a cause.”
APEGS has made every effort to make reporting easy, Brisebois said, by allowing members to submit their annual reports online. There is no need to send in supporting documents, although those documents should be kept for at least three years in case the member is audited.
While reporting at the end of the year is quick and easy, Brisebois emphasized that members should invest thought at the start of the year in creating a CPD plan rather than simply picking up CPD opportunities at random. He encouraged members to ask themselves a series of questions to create this plan:
- Where are my skills at now?
- Where do I want them to be?
- What are the skills and competencies I need to stay on top of trends in my current career?
- What are my future career goals and what skills will I need to achieve them?
Brisebois also stressed that, in the interests of reinforcing professional competency, a CPD plan must focus on a member’s scope of practice.
With this plan in hand, members can head out to find CPD opportunities that fit the minimum requirement of 80 hours covering at least three out of six potential categories. Each category has been assigned maximums for which hours can be counted towards CPD requirements.
Professional Practice (max 50 credits) – this is the good news: just going to work allows you to cover off the lion’s share of your CPD requirements. You just need to keep a record of your employment or contract projects. Formal Activity (max 30 credits) – a typical example of this is taking a course for which a certificate is issued.
Informal Activity (max 30 credits) – this includes self-directed educational activities such as reading professional books, journals and magazines. Even what you are doing right now – reading The Professional Edge – counts for about an hour of CPD time. Just keep a log of what you’ve read and about how much time you spent reading it.
Participation (max 20 credits) – this covers any sort of volunteer activity, either inside or outside of the profession. While volunteering on an APEGS committee is an obvious way to cover this off, even coaching your child’s soccer team counts. “In any public setting, you are acting as an ambassador for the profession which has value both for APEGS and your professional reputation.”
Presentations (max 20 credits) – you can earn points by teaching as well as by learning by giving presentations at conferences or being a guest lecturer at a college.
Contribution to Knowledge (max 30 credits) – ideas also count for CPD, in ways such as making submissions to professional journals or receiving a patent.
“There is obviously a lot to choose from this list so it really should not be difficult at all to accumulate the required hours,” Brisebois said.
In addition to the 80 CPD hours requirements, members must also log an hour per year of verifiable ethics training or refresher courses. However, Brisebois noted that APEGS offers a free online ethics module that counts towards this requirement.
CPD for the past year must be filed by January 31 of the following year at the latest. Members can apply for reductions or exemptions, for example in the case of parental leave.
Once the report is filed for the year, there is nothing more for the member to do except to hold onto the supporting documents. APEGS conducts random audits of supporting documents. As well, members may be required to produce them for any sort of competence or misconduct investigation.
What happens if you don’t submit your report? Brisebois said that APEGS was prepared to be understanding – to a point.
“We will issue a series of warnings to encourage the member to fill the gap of hours voluntarily. We will also work with the member to try to come up with a plan to cover the deficit. Ultimately, though, if a member is not cooperative about his or her CPD obligations, we will look at suspending the member’s license until the requirements are fulfilled.”BACK TO TOP