Quebec engineers will have to ace ethics course



MONTREAL - Quebec's Order of Engineers says it will force all of its 63,000 members to take an ethics course in response to damning testimony from the province's corruption inquiry as well as an increase in ethics violation complaints against its members.

All engineers in the province who received their certification before 2011 will be required to take the 2 1/2-hour online course and subsequent exam.

Order president Daniel Lebel told QMI Agency his organization opened five times as many disciplinary hearings in 2012 than in 2009. He said 46% of the 400 investigations in 2012 involved suspected ethics violations.

Lebel said the organization has become sensitive to the daily barrage of damning headlines coming out of the province's corruption inquiry.

The head of an engineering company told the commission on Thursday that engineering firms colluded to fix the price of municipal contracts and gave kickbacks to a political party.

"Those are things that do not make us very happy," Lebel said.

The province's engineers have until May 15 to complete the course and must receive at least 87% on the exam.

Lebel said that failing the course could result in an engineer being stripped of his or her certification from the order.

"This is an obligatory course," he said. "It is a course that is very serious for us."

Many of the engineers that QMI Agency spoke with on Thursday said it's somewhat insulting to be forced to take an online ethics course.

Several engineers told QMI the questions were "easy."

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