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Alberta to loosen guidelines round use of 'software program engineer'

Invoice 7, the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Amendments 2023 Act, modifications current laws to permit corporations to make use of the software program engineer title in job postings in an effort to attract and retain tech employees

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The Alberta authorities is looking for to amend laws to allow the broader use of the title “software program engineer” throughout the know-how sector amid an ongoing battle  between business and its provincial regulator over the time period.

Invoice 7, the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Amendments 2023 Act, modifications current laws to permit corporations to make use of the software program engineer title in job postings in an effort to attract and retain tech employees.

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“If you’re a software program engineer in Alberta, making use of engineering ideas in your place, you continue to should be regulated by the regulator,” mentioned Superior Schooling Minister Rajan Sawhney forward of introducing the invoice within the legislature.

“However when you’re not making use of engineering ideas, you possibly can actually name your self a software program engineer now after the laws handed, and that wasn’t the case earlier.”

Sawhney mentioned using “software program engineer” was frequent exterior of Alberta.

In Alberta, engineering is a regulated occupation overseen by the Affiliation of Skilled Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA).

The invoice, if handed, would make three modifications — exempting using “software program engineer,” affirming that the title of “skilled engineer” stays restricted to these registered with APEGA, and permitting the minister to make laws prescribing titles associated to “software program engineer” for comparable exemptions.

The variety of Alberta know-how corporations has virtually tripled since 2019, to three,083 from 1,238, in response to authorities estimates, which additionally put Edmonton and Calgary’s tech workforce at 31,000 and 52,000 respectively.

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Earlier than Invoice 7 amendments are handed, the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act defines engineering as using math, chemistry, physics or associated topics in work “aimed on the discovery, improvement or utilization of matter, supplies or power or in some other method designed for the use and comfort of people.”

In October 2022, greater than 30 corporations and associated teams signed a letter despatched to Premier Danielle Smith claiming APEGA “has taken the aggressive place that software program engineers should be regulated, and topic to onerous, restrictive, and pointless certification necessities.”

Signatories argued that “software program engineer” is a normal job title for anybody constructing technical packages and argue APEGA shouldn’t be treating it as a task in want of certification and regulation like skilled engineers.

They went on to name on Smith to take away the “regulatory pink tape” across the terminology.

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On the time, APEGA mentioned use of the time period “engineer” implies compliance with its organizational requirements.

The proposed modifications come amid an ongoing authorized battle between Edmonton tech firm Jobber and APEGA over using “engineer” in job advertisements.

The regulator argued using that time period breached authorities laws and that software program engineering is a acknowledged engineering self-discipline that may have important public security impacts in areas associated to transportation, nuclear power, and biomedical fields.

The corporate countered that the time period “software program engineer” is broadly understood to be distinct from engineers who’re ruled by APEGA, who it accused of “regulatory overreach.”

Sawhney mentioned it was “by no means actually a consideration” to attend for that court docket dispute to conclude.

“We now have been engaged on this file for a while,” she mentioned. “It was very clear this was a change the tech sector wished to see.”

— with recordsdata from Jonny Wakefield and The Canadian Press

[email protected]

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