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Jim White, P.Eng. 1 Practical Law of Architecture, Engineering, and Geoscience Chapter 3 Ethical Considerations.

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Presentation on theme: "Jim White, P.Eng. 1 Practical Law of Architecture, Engineering, and Geoscience Chapter 3 Ethical Considerations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jim White, P.Eng. 1 Practical Law of Architecture, Engineering, and Geoscience Chapter 3 Ethical Considerations

2 Jim White, P.Eng.2 Ethics Ethics is based on standards of morality, evolved over centuries Codes of ethics set minimum standards Vague, general and highly redundant Often no clear answers

3 Jim White, P.Eng.3 Ethical Duties of Professionals Owed to public, client, employer, profession, self. “Members and licensees shall act at all times with fairness, courtesy and good faith to their associates, employers, employees and clients, and with fidelity to the public needs. They shall uphold the values of truth, honesty and trustworthiness and safeguard human life and welfare and the environment. In keeping with these basic tenets, members and licensees shall: “

4 Jim White, P.Eng.4 1) Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public, the protection of the environment and promote health and safety within the workplace; 2) Undertake and accept responsibility for professional assignments only when qualified by training or experience; 3) Provide an opinion on a professional subject only when it is founded upon adequate knowledge and honest conviction; 4) Act as faithful agents of their clients or employers, maintain confidentiality and avoid a conflict of interest but, where such conflict arises, fully disclose the circumstances without delay to the employer or client; 5) Uphold the principle of appropriate and adequate compensation for the performance of engineering and geoscience work;

5 Jim White, P.Eng.5 6) Keep themselves informed in order to maintain their competence, strive to advance the body of knowledge within which they practice and provide opportunities for the professional development of their associates; 7) Conduct themselves with fairness, courtesy and good faith towards clients, colleagues and others, give credit where it is due and accept, as well as give, honest and fair professional comment; 8) Present clearly to employers and clients the possible consequences if professional decisions or judgments are overruled or disregarded; 9) Report to their association or other appropriate agencies any hazardous, illegal or unethical professional decisions or practices by members, licensees or others; and 10) Extend public knowledge and appreciation of engineering and geoscience and protect the profession from misrepresentation and misunderstanding.

6 Jim White, P.Eng.6 Codes of Ethics Most Canadian engineering codes of ethics are based on the Engineers Canada (formerly CCPE) Model Code of Ethics; In BC, all but 5 and 10 are similar to the model code.

7 Jim White, P.Eng.7 Protect Safety and Environment Paragraph 1, 8 and 9: Duty to the public is paramount: it encompasses a duty to protect safety, health & welfare, and the environment. Regulatory bodies for Professions were established to protect the public interest: their primary purpose.

8 Jim White, P.Eng.8 Protect Safety and Environment Allegations of breach of duty to the public are often made in negligence claims against professionals  Expert evidence is often presented on the standard of care expected of professionals  Experts required act fairly and impartially, by code of ethics and by laws of courts (9) Requires members to report misconduct of fellow members:  Cautiously, or this may itself be professional misconduct  Much soul-searching should be needed.

9 Jim White, P.Eng.9 Qualified and Competent Paragraphs 2, 3 and 6 A necessary aspect of paragraph 1

10 Jim White, P.Eng.10 Fair, Honest and Trustworthy Paragraphs 3, 4 and 7 Faithful agents  Duty to employers and clients, to perform as expected and as promised. The employee is an agent of the employer and so owes the employer a duty of loyalty Similar to the duty to the client Moonlighting: Employees are not permitted to engage in part time work the employer could reasonably have done itself – unless the employee obtains the consent of the employer

11 Jim White, P.Eng.11 Fair, Honest and Trustworthy Employee not permitted to take corporate opportunities the employer could have taken Confidentiality (subject to honesty and whistle-blower requirements) (4) Professionals acting as experts should not unfairly criticize the work of others (7) Consultant may play a dual role: owner's agent and initial arbiter of disputes

12 Jim White, P.Eng.12 Fair, Honest and Trustworthy As arbiter, the consultant must act fairly to the contractor, and not favour the owner's interest (3, 7) Conflict of interest: a consultant's decision in favour of the contractor may have financial consequences for the owner, or even the consultant (insurance issues arise) Conflicts of interest (4)  When an individual owes two duties which conflict.  Codes of ethics help identify priorities in conflicts.  Where unavoidable, conflicts must be disclosed and can require withdrawal from decisions or circumstances.

13 Jim White, P.Eng.13 Compensation Paragraph 5 Imposes an obligation to charge reasonably, and to keep rates reasonable. Not to unreasonably undercut competition. Enforceable realistically?

14 Jim White, P.Eng.14 Collegial Paragraph 7 Extends the fairness requirement to politeness

15 Jim White, P.Eng.15 Extend Knowledge & Appreciation Paragraph 10, related to 5. Not seen in model codes. Duty to promote the status of engineering science and the profession. Enforceable realistically?

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