Alberta authorities plans to chop down regulation of ‘software program engineer’ title

Alberta authorities plans to chop down regulation of ‘software program engineer’ title

Alberta plans to permit know-how firms and employees to make use of the title “software program engineer” with no licence from APEGA, the provincial regulator for skilled engineers.

Tabled within the legislature Monday, Invoice 7 would make an exception in Alberta’s Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act.

The province’s guidelines at present say somebody who is not an expert engineer or allow holder cannot use the time period “engineer” together with every other title or title.

Tech firms have advocated to vary that, saying it is hurting the expansion of Alberta’s trade. 

However the Affiliation of Skilled Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) issued a press release final yr warning that, “any exception to the usage of the title engineer will set a harmful precedent and put the lives of Albertans in danger.”

After the proposed laws was unveiled Monday, APEGA registrar and CEO Jay Nagendran mentioned the change is “not one thing we had requested for, however it’s what it’s.”

Superior Training Minister Rajan Sawhney mentioned the brand new laws might be “the primary of its type within the nation” to permit broader use of the software program engineer title or associated variations.

If the invoice turns into legislation, firms would be capable of promote software program engineer positions, and staff would be capable of publicly use the title.

Totally different guidelines for Alberta

Final summer season, the leaders of all provincial and territorial engineering regulators signed an open letter to “voice the alignment” of restrictions throughout the nation on the usage of software program engineer or associated titles with no licence.

The letter issued by the nationwide physique Engineers Canada notes individuals who “improperly maintain themselves out as engineers” have confronted enforcement.

That included an injunction authorised in an Alberta court docket in opposition to an individual utilizing the title “software program engineer” in on-line profiles, regardless of not being registered with the Affiliation of Skilled Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta. 

Nagendran famous Alberta’s proposed change will set the province aside from the rules throughout the remainder of the nation.

Sawhney mentioned the work software program engineers do normally would not fall throughout the follow of an expert engineer with a P.Eng designation, and any software program engineers “making use of engineering ideas” of their place will nonetheless be regulated by APEGA.

However she did not give specifics about how precisely that may work, saying the federal government continues to work with employers and the regulator.

“Our tech sector is booming and we’re listening to our stakeholders, and that is what they want to have the ability to recruit expertise and retain expertise on this province,” Sawhney mentioned.

Tech sector push

APEGA’s place has been that software program engineering ought to proceed to be regulated amid the growing use of synthetic intelligence.

Know-how and Innovation Minister Nate Glubish mentioned Monday that the province is engaged on a man-made intelligence framework.

A man with short brown hair wearing a light blue suit jacket looks directly at the camera, with a white background behind him.
Benjamin Bergen is president of the Council of Canadian Innovators. (Submitted by Benjamin Bergen)

“On the finish of the day, accountable use of AI will not be APEGA’s jurisdiction. That is the federal government of Alberta’s jurisdiction.”

Final yr, representatives from tech firms wrote an open letter to Premier Danielle Smith, asking that the provincial authorities intervene within the challenge. The letter now has greater than 100 signatories.

The tech employees mentioned APEGA was hampering the expansion of Alberta’s tech sector with what they known as an “aggressive” place that software program engineers have to be regulated and topic to certification necessities.

“This can be a traditional case of regulator overreach — tech firms should not want the blessing of a regulatory physique to construct an app,” the letter says.

The group argued that software program engineer is a “globally accepted normal job title” that is widespread in cities with a robust tech sector, and being blocked from utilizing it means Alberta cannot compete for workers.

Benjamin Bergen, president of the Council of Canadian Innovators, informed CBC Information that Alberta particularly wants a software program engineer exception on the books as a result of APEGA has been extra energetic with enforcement.

“Regulators have not gone after corporations to the identical stage or diploma as they’ve in Alberta,” he mentioned.

APEGA lately took Edmonton-based tech firm Jobber to court docket over the agency’s use of the title software program engineer in job advertisements.

Nagendran mentioned a choose has heard arguments within the case, however he is undecided how the brand new provincial laws may have an effect on the result.