About APGO’s Registration Process
During the past few months I’ve noted an increase in complaints from prospective members who have been told they are missing critical academic course work and must take certain courses in order to qualify for registration. In many cases this happens to those who have graduated some years ago and have either been working without professional registration, or have been out of the business for a while and now want back in.
Nowadays, as more and more companies and government departments are requiring their geoscientists to be registered professionals, experienced as well as newly minted geoscientists are being caught in the regulatory net.
Not surprisingly these people are not happy, and sometimes we receive tirades quite uncomplimentary to APGO, implying that our main purpose in life is to keep good geologists from registering as professionals.
If my registration was denied I wouldn’t be happy either. But the reality is this:
Registration of geoscientists is not just an Ontario issue. Because registration of the professions is a provincial responsibility all provinces and territories, other than Prince Edward Island and Yukon, require geoscientists to be professionally registered in the province or territory in which they are working.
Having your Ontario P. Geo. will make it much easier to fast-track your registration in another province if you choose to work there. Note also that at the present time APGO has short-term mobility agreements with British Columbia and Quebec, which allow you to work on a short-term basis in those jurisdictions without becoming registered there, and we are in favour of signing similar agreements with other provinces and territories.
In Ontario it has been illegal to practice geoscience without professional registration since the Professional Geoscientist’s Act was proclaimed in 2000 and APGO, the provincial regulator, came into being.
Currently, to be registered as a GIT or P. Geo., applicants are required (among other things) to meet certain knowledge requirements. These knowledge requirements (Geoscience Knowledge and Experience Requirements for Professional Registration in Canada) are standard across Canada, and all ten geoscience regulators use them. They are listed on each regulator’s website. The use of common registration requirements across the country facilitates cross-Canada mobility (one of the top concerns of our members) and ease of registration by professionals in other provinces and territories. It also ensures that applicants for a P. Geo. designation are treated equally everywhere in Canada.
During the early years of APGO (up until approximately 2009) registration requirements were more open to allow experienced geoscientists, who may have not possessed all the currently required knowledge requirements, to become registered. Some individuals who procrastinated during that period are now complaining because the regulations have caught up with them.
Because the Registration Committee bases it’s decisions on whether knowledge requirements have been attained, the university degree (or degrees) a registrant may possess does not guarantee or prevent them becoming registered. Most Canadian universities have adjusted their syllabus so that they comply with the current Canadian knowledge requirements, however there may still occasionally be areas of non-compatibility. We encourage student memberships so that students have access to the current knowledge requirements and make sure they are covered during their time of study. We also encourage students to review the knowledge requirements for registration when they are choosing courses during their university career.
It is not APGO’s purpose to keep out qualified people, or to ruin the careers of those who are not qualified. Our aim is to be as flexible and fair as possible while still maintaining standards and being consistent across the board. Chances are that the lack of one first year non-geology course will not hold someone back; there is usually more to each story of denial than that.
Experienced applicants who know they are missing key science or math courses (for instance) may explain how the principles and practice of the course material have been applied during the preparation of their work history. The Registration Committee can only evaluate applicants based on the information provided, so if all knowledge requirements have not been met, the more detailed and complete your work history, the better.
The Registration Committee may be prepared to re-evaluate your application if you provide more detailed information at a later date. Aftab Khan and Renée Coulcher, our registration staff, will be able to help out with all your questions. If all else fails you have two options: either to take the required courses (there may be online options for many first year courses) and pass the required examinations; or apply for a limited licence pertaining to the level of experience and knowledge you have.
David S. Hunt, P. Geo.,