ENGR 201 winter 2010

ENGR 201 winter 2010 - CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF...

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Unformatted text preview: CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF ENGINEERING AND COMPUTER SCIENCE ENGR 201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY PROFESSOR : REMI ALAURENT, ENG. CHAPTER 07 CODE OF ETHICS : DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS THE PUBLIC 1. Respecting obligations 2. Protecting life, health, safety, property and the environment 3. Whistle blowing 4. Being knowledgeable and honest 5. Advertising and promotion 6. Equity page 1 page 3 page 5 page 6 page 8 page 12 TOPIC 1 : RESPECTING OBLIGATIONS The primary duty of the engineer is to respect its obligation towards Man (in the generic sense, of course : mankind). • CODE OF ETHICS OF ENGINEERS DIVISION II DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS THE PUBLIC Rev. 2009-02 © Concordia University, 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 2.01. In all aspects of his work, the engineer must respect his obligations towards man and take into account the consequences of the performance of his work on the environment and on the life, health and property of every person. In its essence, this obligation clearly derives from the necessity to ensure the protection of the public which is the reason why professional orders exist and, moreover, why the members of certain professions are granted an exclusive right of practice : • PROFESSIONAL CODE CHAPTER IV (PROFESSIONAL ORDERS), DIVISION I (CONSTITUTION OF PROFESSIONAL ORDERS) 23. The principal function of each order shall be to ensure the protection of the public. For this purpose it must in particular supervise the practice of the profession by its members. 26. The members of an order shall not be granted the exclusive right to practise a profession except by an act; that right must not be granted except in cases where the acts done by these persons are of such a nature and the freedom to act they have by reason of the nature of their ordinary working conditions are such that for the protection of the public they cannot be done by persons not having the training and qualifications required to be members of the order. These "obligations towards man" are : • legal obligations according to criminal, penal, administrative and civil laws • obligations deriving from regulations enacted under various laws • conventional obligations deriving from contracts and mandates • obligations under "Rules of the Art" which do not have to be legally defined Professional law is specific in that reprehensible conduct does not have to be defined in an act or regulation : it may evolve in time according to scientific knowledge and generally recognised theories and practices. It is up to the Disciplinary council to decide, to the exclusion of any Court, "1) whether the act with which the respondent is charged is derogatory to the honour or dignity of the profession or to the discipline of the members of the order;" (section 152). However, professional law will differ again in that it does not require to establish the facts and consequences as it would be required to secure a criminal or any other PAGE 2 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 conviction : the transgression may be demonstrated by the professional conduct alone, even if consequences did not materialize. The professional may invoke an inducement to cease to act : • CODE OF ETHICS OF ENGINEERS DIVISION III DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS CLIENTS 3.03.04. An engineer may not cease to act for the account of a client unless he has just and reasonable grounds for so doing. The following shall, in particular, constitute just and reasonable grounds: (a) the fact that the engineer is placed in a situation of conflict of interest or in a circumstance whereby his professional independence could be called in question; (b) inducement by the client to illegal, unfair or fraudulent acts; (c) the fact that the client ignores the engineer's advice. The professional may benefit from some protection if he suffers in his employment or otherwise because of his refusal to take part in acts that may come under the previous section. TOPIC 2 : PROTECTING LIFE, HEALTH, SAFETY, PROPERTY AND ENVIRONMENT The duty to protect life, health, environment and property is worded differently : • CCPE GUIDELINES – CODE OF ETHICS Professional engineers shall conduct themselves in an honourable and ethical manner. Professional engineers shall uphold the values of truth, honesty and trustworthiness and safeguard human life and welfare and the environment. In keeping with these basic tenets, professional engineers shall: 1 - hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and the protection of the environment and promote health and safety within the Workplace; [...] PAGE 3 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 6 - present clearly to employers and clients the possible consequences if engineering decisions or judgements are overruled or disregarded; [...] 8 - be aware of and ensure that clients and employers are made aware of societal and environmental consequences of actions or projects and endeavour to interpret engineering issues to the public in an objective and truthful manner. • CODE OF ETHICS OF ENGINEERS DIVISION II DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS THE PUBLIC 2.01. In all aspects of his work, the engineer must respect his obligations towards man and take into account the consequences of the performance of his work on the environment and on the life, health and property of every person. In this, the engineer shall take positive action to favour technological solutions, processes and materials which are most compatible with the "paramount" considerations. There may not be any single, simple and obvious answer. This is where risk analysis may be advisable (re : lecture 4). One difficulty arises when opposing or seemingly incompatible considerations are at stake. This is where ethical reasoning may come into play (re : lecture 5). This section does not in effect give the engineer control on every decision. He will, however, have to notify his client and, if necessary, "blow the whistle". • CODE OF ETHICS OF ENGINEERS DIVISION III DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS CLIENTS 3.02.07. Where an engineer is responsible for the technical quality of engineering work, and his opinion is ignored, the engineer must clearly indicate to his client, in writing, the consequences which may result therefrom. Two unacceptable courses of action are to simply bow to authority (usually the employer or client) or to close one's eyes and ears. There are countless case studies of PAGE 4 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 man-made disasters to demonstrate that engineers who take these paths will not escape unscathed if and when things go wrong. TOPIC 3 : WHISTLE BLOWING Engineers are expected to cooperate with enforcement of legal standards in general and of good professional practice of their profession in particular: • CCPE GUIDELINES – CODE OF ETHICS ... professional engineers shall: [...] 7 - report to their association or other appropriate agencies any illegal or unethical engineering decisions or practices by engineers or others; The guideline above is less specific that the "whistle blowing" provision : • CODE OF ETHICS OF ENGINEERS DIVISION II DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS THE PUBLIC 2.03. Whenever an engineer considers that certain works are a danger to public safety, he must notify the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (Order) or the persons responsible for such work. Because of their specialized knowledge and expertise, engineers are naturally relied upon by society to signal certain dangers that they alone may properly identify and evaluate. Where modern technology abounds, responsible practice by engineers will be an essential condition for the safe enjoyment of the benefits expected from such technology. Whistle-blowing, or signalling, is a very delicate action to take. The consequences may be far reaching. Colleagues, family and citizens may take exception to a conduct that threatens their livelihood and is often branded as "rebellious" or "ratting". "Going public" should usually be a last resort option, after all avenues of resolution have been exhausted in good faith. PAGE 5 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 Notifying OIQ may be a sensible solution when the engineer feels that the persons responsible for the work are not responding adequately to his notifications, or when an anonymous denunciation is warranted in the circumstances. However, it is up to the engineer to evaluate the emergency and seriousness of a given situation. It is very difficult to devise universal rules of conduct, except than to keep to the "paramount" duties, to express only learned opinions and to avoid falsely alarming statements. TOPIC 4 : BEING KNOWLEDGEABLE AND HONEST Engineers are expected to be proficient in their professional practice. • CCPE GUIDELINES – CODE OF ETHICS ... professional engineers shall: [...] 2 - offer services, advise on or undertake engineering assignments only in areas of their competence and practise in a careful and diligent manner; [...] 4 - keep themselves informed in order to maintain their competence, strive to advance the body of knowledge within which they practise and provide opportunities for the professional development of their subordinates; • CODE OF ETHICS OF ENGINEERS DIVISION II DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS THE PUBLIC 2.02. The engineer must support every measure likely to improve the quality and availability of his professional services. 2.04. The engineer shall express his opinion on matters dealing with engineering only if such opinion is based on sufficient knowledge and honest convictions. 2.05. The engineer must promote educational and information measures in the field in which he practises. PAGE 6 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 Proficiency is measured against current standards of practice within the profession, the diligent professional being one who strives to keep up with the Rules of the Art in his field(s) of expertise. This is a demanding obligation because the engineer: • is personally responsible for keeping himself up to date : it is not his employer's responsibility • may have to invest his personal time and money • cannot wait for information to come his way; as a person who voluntarily engages into the practice of regulated activities, it is up to him to take every action to ascertain what current rules, practices and scientific standards are as they evolve. Maintaining proficiency gets more difficult with age. There may be a loss of ability to learn and of mental capacities. Unfortunately, there may come a time when an engineer should quit his practice, or the OIQ may have to take precautionary action. Engineers are also expected to be honest. This obligation appears in the duties towards clients, but it applies to others because there cannot be honesty without fairness, impartiality and independence. • CODE OF ETHICS OF ENGINEERS DIVISION III DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS CLIENTS 3.02.10. An engineer must be impartial in his relations between his client and the contractors, suppliers and other persons doing business with his client. 3.05.03. An engineer must safeguard his professional independence at all times and avoid any situation which would put him in conflict of interest. 3.03.04. An engineer may not cease to act for the account of a client unless he has just and reasonable grounds for so doing. The following shall, in particular, constitute just and reasonable grounds: (a) the fact that the engineer is placed in a situation of conflict of interest or in a circumstance whereby his professional independence could be called in question; (b) inducement by the client to illegal, unfair or fraudulent acts; (c) the fact that the client ignores the engineer's advice. PAGE 7 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 Lack of independence and conflict of interest have proven to be difficult to demonstrate, except in the most obvious cases. Conclusive disciplinary decisions do not abound. TOPIC 5 : ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION Prior to June 21, 1990, most professional bodies regulated commercial advertising by their members in minute detail. The OIQ was no different. Anything that was not allowed was prohibited by the Regulation respecting advertising by engineers. Advertising was, for all practical purposes, restricted to the "business card" style. Office signs could not be lighted, etc. Even the size and contents of business cards and telephone listings were regulated (no more than 50 mm by 90 mm ...). This practice amounted to prohibition for some. A dentist practising in Ontario, Dr. Howard Rocket, decided to contest citations regarding violations to similar advertising regulations in that province, on the grounds that these restrictions violated his rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ss. 1, 2(b). On June 21, 1990, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the regulations on the basis that they infringed unduly on the right to commercial expression. In essence, the court stated that Professional bodies had a heavy duty to adopt appropriate regulations which did not unduly restrict the freedom of expression of their members. The importance of promoting professionalism and preventing irresponsible and misleading advertising, however, outweighed the protection of any commercial interests of professionals. The court was of the opinion that the professions and legislators were in the best position to determine the precise content and wording of such further exceptions as may be required, and that it was not impossible to draft regulations which would prohibit advertising which is unverifiable and unprofessional while permitting advertising which serves a legitimate purpose in providing the public with relevant information. This judgement meant that the OIQ's regulation was largely inapplicable, as were similar regulations adopted by other orders. The government of Québec reacted and, following the Court's suggestion, an act (c. 76, 1990) was introduced to amend the Professional Code by adding three sections which presently read as follows : PAGE 8 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY • CHAPTER 06 PROFESSIONAL CODE CHAPTER IV (PROFESSIONAL ORDERS), DIVISION I (COMMON PROVISIONS) 60.1. A service or product provided by a professional must conform with any statement he makes, or advertisement he places, concerning that service or product; the professional is bound by such statements or advertisements. 60.2. No professional may, by whatever means, make false, misleading or incomplete representations, in particular as to his level of competence or the scope or effectiveness of his services or of those generally offered by members of his profession. 60.3. No professional may, falsely, by whatever means, (a) ascribe particular advantages to a service or product; (b) claim that a pecuniary benefit will result from the use of acquisition of a service or product; (c) claim that a service or product complies with determined standards; or (d) ascribe certain performance characteristics to a service or product. The Professional Code was amended again on October 15, 1994, to include in section 87 additional requirements regarding the contents of codes of ethics : (5) provisions setting out conditions, obligations and, where applicable, prohibitions in respect of advertising by the members of the order. The OIQ eventually reacted and the Code of ethics of Engineers was amended by decree in 2002 (D. 920-2002, 2002 G.O. 2, 5966) to include a new division, while the old regulation was formally repealed : • CODE OF ETHICS OF ENGINEERS DIVISION V OBLIGATIONS RELATIVE TO PROFESSIONAL ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION AND OBLIGATIONS RELATIVE TO THE NAMES OF PARTNERSHIPS OF ENGINEERS § 1. Advertising and promotion 5.01.01. An engineer may not in any way and under any circumstances make false, misleading or incomplete advertising with respect to his professional activities and services. PAGE 9 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 5.01.02. The information that an engineer provides in his advertising or promotion must be of a nature to help the public make an informed choice. Such advertising or promotion must be done with integrity and favour professionalism. 5.01.03. In all advertising or representation he may make, an engineer must give his name and professional title. 5.01.04. An engineer shall not in his representation or advertising: 1º invade a person's privacy; 2º undermine a person's reputation; 3º compare the quality of his services with that of the services offered or rendered by other engineers; 4º discredit, denigrate or disparage the services offered or rendered by other engineers. 5.01.05. In addition to the obligations mentioned in section 5.01.04, an engineer shall not attribute to himself experience, professional or academic qualifications or particular qualities unless he is able to justify them. 5.01.06. An engineer shall ensure that the persons working with him in any capacity in the practice of his profession comply with the rules concerning advertising. 5.01.07. An engineer who, in his advertising, mentions fees or prices shall do so in a manner that can be understood by the public, which has no particular knowledge of the practice of engineering or the professional services covered by the advertising, and shall: 1º keep them in effect for the period mentioned in the advertising or, if no period is specified, for a period of ninety (90) days following the last publication or broadcast; 2º specify the nature and extent of the services included in such fees or prices; 3º indicate whether or not certain fees are included in such fees or prices; 4º indicate what additional services may be required which are not included in such fees or prices. 5.01.08. In the case of advertising offering a special price or a discount, an engineer shall specify how long such special price or discount is valid, as the case may be. This period may be less than ninety (90) days. 5.01.09. An engineer shall keep a copy of all advertising for a period of three (3) years following the date of its last broadcast or publication. On request, this copy shall be given to the syndic. PAGE 10 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 § 2. Names of partnerships of engineers 5.02.01. The name of a partnership or engineers includes only the names of the engineers who are practising their profession together. It may not include the name of a deceased or retired associate engineer for more than one (1) year, unless he or his legal representatives had made an agreement in writing to the contrary. 5.02.02. When an associate engineer withdraws from a partnership to practise alone, to join another partnership or another business or to hold a position that is incompatible with the practice of the profession, his name must be eliminated from the name within thirty (30) days of his withdrawal, unless there is a written agreement to the contrary. In all cases, the agreement may not stipulate a period of more than one (1) year. 5.02.03. The name of a partnership of engineers may end with the words "and associates" when the names of at least two associates are not included in the name. 5.02.04. An engineer practising in a partnership is jointly responsible with the other professionals for following the rules concerning advertising, unless he can establish that the advertising was done without his knowledge or consent and in spite of the provisions made to ensure compliance with such rules. Since 1973, the Professional Code also prohibits the unauthorized use of the qualification of "specialist" : 58. No person may use a specialist's title corresponding to a class of specialization defined in a regulation under paragraph e of section 94 or act in such a way as to lead to the belief that he is a specialist in that class of specialization unless he holds the appropriate specialist's certificate. A professional may not designate himself as a specialist unless he holds a specialist's certificate. . and, since 2000, the use of the title "Doctor" is also controlled therein : 58.1. No professional may use the title of "Doctor" or an abbreviation of that title unless the title or abbreviation is placed 1) immediately before the professional's name, where the professional holds a doctoral diploma recognized as a valid diploma for the issue of the permit or specialist's certificate held by the professional pursuant to a government regulation under the first paragraph of PAGE 11 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 section 184 or a doctoral diploma recognized as equivalent by the board of directors of the order that issued the permit or certificate, and unless the professional's name is followed by a title reserved for the members of the order; or 2) after the professional's name, and the title or abbreviation is followed by the name of the discipline in which the doctoral diploma is held. This section does not apply to the members of the Ordre professionnel des dentistes du Québec, the Collège des médecins du Québec or the Ordre professionnel des médecins vétérinaires du Québec. Several other laws have sections which could be relevant, depending on the circumstances : the Civil Code of Québec and the Consumer Protection Act, to name but a few. TOPIC 6 : EQUITY Equity is a fundamental value in society today. But it took time to become law. In 1960, the Parliament of Canada enacted the Canadian Bill of Rights [1960, c. 44], which was a very short act (five sections) applicable to the relations between the citizens and the state. It began with : PART I - BILL OF RIGHTS 1. It is hereby recognized and declared that in Canada there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex, the following human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;(b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;(c) freedom of religion;(d) freedom of speech;(e) freedom of assembly and association; and(f) freedom of the press. When it was enacted in 1973, the Professional Code contained provisions (slightly modified later) respecting basic rights and equality : • PROFESSIONAL CODE CHAPTER IV (PROFESSIONAL ORDERS), DIVISION I (COMMON PROVISIONS) PAGE 12 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 43. No order may refuse to issue a permit or specialist's certificate or to grant a special authorization for reasons of race, colour, sex, religion, national extraction or social origin. 57. No professional may refuse to provide services to a person because of the race, colour, sex, age, religion, national extraction or social origin of such person. 59. Every professional who contravenes section 57, 58 or 58.1 commits an act derogatory to the dignity of his profession. In 1975, The Charter of human rights and freedoms (R.S.Q., chapter C-12) is enacted by the National Assembly of Quebec. Its provisions against discrimination are more detailed that the Canadian Bill of rights and it applies to all levels of government and administration in the province and to corporations and citizens. 10. Every person has a right to full and equal recognition and exercise of his human rights and freedoms, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, civil status, age except as provided by law, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, a handicap or the use of any means to palliate a handicap. Discrimination exists where such a distinction, exclusion or preference has the effect of nullifying or impairing such right. In 1982, the Canadian Charter of rights and Freedom was enacted for Canada by the British parliament as part 1 of the Constitution Act. It applies to the Parliament and government of Canada and to the legislature and government of each province – not to individuals. 15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. In 1983, the Code of ethics of Engineers was amended by decree to include the following section : • CODE OF ETHICS OF ENGINEERS DIVISION IV DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS THE PROFESSION PAGE 13 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 4.02.07. An engineer may not refuse to collaborate with a member of the Order, in professional dealings, on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, national, ethnic or social origin and for any ground mentioned in section 10 of the Charter of human right and freedoms (R.S.Q., c. C-12). There is no disciplinary precedent on these questions. It can be argued that these prohibitions against discrimination would extend to other unmentioned forms of discrimination through "reading in". It is also likely that violations of equity-related obligations could be considered as violations of "obligations towards man" (section 2.01 of the Code of ethics of engineers), or "derogatory the honour and dignity of the profession" (section 59.2 of the Professional Code), especially if they are publicized. It should come as no surprise that the CCPE/CCI also expressed its views on the matter : • CCPE GUIDELINES – CODE OF ETHICS ... professional engineers shall: [...] 5 - conduct themselves with equity, 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 criticism; [...] 9 - treat equitably and promote the equitable treatment of all clients, colleagues and coworkers, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental ability, marital or family status, and national origin. PAGE 14 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 06 REQUIRED READING • CCPE / CCI : Guideline on the Professional Engineering Practice in Canada - Guide sur l’exercice de l’ingénierie au Canada http://www.ccpe.ca/e/files/guideline_practice_with.pdf • CCPE / CCI : Guideline on the Environment and Sustainability for all Professional Engineers - Guide sur l’environnement et le développement durable à l’intention de tous les ingénieurs http://www.ccpe.ca/e/files/guideline_enviro_with.pdf SUGGESTED READING • Rocket v. Royal college of dental surgeons of Ontario [1990] 2 S.C.R. 232 http://www.canlii.org/ca/cas/scc/1990/1990scc66.html A FEW REFERENCES • Charles Fleddermann, Engineering Ethics , 1999, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River (NJ) • Roland Schinzinger and Mike W. Martin, Introduction to Engineering Ethics, 2000, Mc GrawHill, New York (NY) • Gordon C. Andrews and John D. Kemper, Canadian professional Engineering Practice and Ethics, 1999, Harcourt Brace & Co, Toronto, Canada • Gordon C. Andrews et al., Introduction to professional engineering in Canada (3rd ed.), 2009, Pearson Prentice Hall, Toronto, Canada • Disciplinary decisions by the Committee on discipline of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (mostly in French) http://www.oiq.qc.ca, select "Decisions/Judgements" PAGE 15 OF 14 © Concordia University 2003 ...
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This note was uploaded on 05/09/2010 for the course ENGR 201 taught by Professor Remialaurent during the Winter '10 term at Concordia Canada.

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