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    Embezzlement allegations: restoring public trust must be a priority

    mardi 9 février 2010
    • As the National Assembly resumes its work and the media continues to report alleged cases of embezzlement in the construction and consulting engineering sectors, the President of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ), Maud Cohen, Eng., believes that everyone should make restoring public trust their prime objective.
    • "With such a wide range of allegations of all kinds, it feels disturbingly like everyone is guilty. That is why the OIQ still thinks it is a good idea to hold a public inquiry. That way, deviant practices can be exposed and corrected and we can be sure that we are getting our money's worth, that work is well done and that the public's seriously shaken confidence will be restored," stated Ms. Cohen.
      For that reason, the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, in addition to conducting its own inquiries, has decided to increase its intervention efforts. The Board of Directors of the OIQ has now granted additional budgets in order to strengthen the Office of the Syndic's team in response to the growing demand for an investigation into these allegations. As part of these efforts, resources will also be deployed in regional areas so that work can be done on specific missions.
      For the purposes of prevention, the Board of Directors has authorized the addition of some 200 focused professional inspections to the 750 already planned for engineers in private practice. These inspections, which serve a variety of objectives, are particularly intended to ensure that those who practice the profession do so competently and in accordance with the laws and codes of ethics and conduct. If improper practices are observed, the OIQ can demand that they be corrected and even take steps to crack down on them.
      Just like the directors of the OIQ, its president is also convinced that the allegations concern only a small number of engineers and she is shocked and saddened by the distrust looming over the entire profession, especially since engineers have always been considered by the public to be some of the most trusted professionals. Furthermore, in a recent survey, the vast majority of engineers indicate that they are in favour of a public inquiry. Aware that the bond of trust has been weakened, the OIQ feels that the political and government system, consulting engineering firms and engineers would all benefit from renewed confidence governed by appropriate policies.
      Founded in 1920, the, the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec consists of some 59,000 engineering professionals in all fields. The term "engineer" designates any member of the OIQ holding a permit to practice that confers the right to perform professional services on an exclusive basis. The role of the OIQ is to supervise the practice of engineering in order to ensure the quality of the services rendered by its members and thus ensure protection of the public.

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