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Ordre des ingénieurs du Quebec’s Kathy Baig: ‘Integrity is a key component of your professional brand’

Law Meets Engineering lecture at Concordia stresses the need for regulation, transparency and accountability
February 18, 2020
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By Joanne Latimer

Kathy Baig: “It pleases me to see this new generation of young engineers taking the ethical code so seriously.” Kathy Baig: “It pleases me to see this new generation of young engineers taking the ethical code so seriously.”

Kathy Baig had an impassioned message for students poised to graduate from the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.

“Your professional brand follows you throughout your career — and your integrity is a key component of that brand.”

On January 28, 2020, Me Morton S. Minc, Concordia's Jurist-in-Residence and Me Robin Schiller, Director of Programming invited Kathy Baig, President of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ), to be the guest speaker at the fourth Law Meets Engineering lecture.

Inspired by Concordia’s Jurist-in-Residence program, the law-related talk was the latest in a seven-part series.

A packed room of lawyers, engineers as well as students and faculty, listened to Baig speak on the ethical obligations of engineers and how those obligations are regulated by the OIQ.

From left: Robin Schiller, Morton Minc, Kathy Baig, Amir Asif and Martine Gervais. From left: Robin Schiller, Morton Minc, Kathy Baig, Amir Asif and Martine Gervais.

How to behave on the job

“Ideally, ethical behaviour governs the daily life of all professionals in every domain,” notes Me Morton S. Minc, Concordia’s Jurist-in-Residence and the evening’s host.

“Montreal has had its share of controversies where people haven’t respected a code while dealing with municipalities or town managers. Ethics are essential to ensure we govern ourselves in an appropriate manner.”

In her presentation, Baig outlined how the 65,000 members and future members of the OIQ — representing more than 47 types of engineers — are expected to act in the public’s best interest.

“Our mission at the OIQ is to protect the public by regulating our members, upholding the code and disciplining professional misconduct,” said Baig, who has been president for four years.

Her team at the OIQ includes 22 inspectors who evaluate members’ practices. Other staff members condemn illegal practice by non-engineers, provide mandatory continuing education and inform the public and members about conduct and prevention. The OIQ evaluates more than 200 requests per year.

“For each case brought to our attention, we apply a three-tier ethical decision test which focuses on transparency, setting a good example and reciprocity,” explained Baig. “In many cases, we’re looking for a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

The disciplinary process is no mere slap on the wrist. Fines can reach $62,500, and members can have their practice temporarily or permanently suspended or restricted.

“It pleases me to see this new generation of young engineers taking the ethical code so seriously,” noted Baig. “They have a heartfelt desire to keep the public safe.”

A promising start to the series

At the inaugural lecture of the Law Meets Engineering series in September 2019, guest speakers Me Nancy Cleman, partner at Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melançon and Me Nicholas Bertram, a patent procurement expert, discussed what engineers need to know about intellectual property. Among other things, they covered trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, industrial design and patents.

The following event focused on business strategy, featuring Elliot Lifson, vice-chairman of Peerless Clothing Inc.

In November, Me Claudia Desjardins Bélisle and Me Marissa Frishman presented labour law tips for engineers and entrepreneurs. The two speakers — representing the employer and the employee — shared their knowledge on the most relevant facets of labour law.

Coming up next

The next Law Meets Engineering lecture series will focus on latent defects, also known as hidden defects, meaning significant problems in a building that are either unknown or “hidden” by a seller from a buyer at the time of the sale.

Who pays for the repairs? What are the best strategies to prevent litigation?

On February 25, 2020, join Me Robin Schiller in conversation with Me Harry Dikranian and Me Julien Grenier, as they explore the complicated legal issue of “latent defects”.

 

The Law Meets Engineering lecture series is designed for students in the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science. The events are free and open to the public. Register for the next lecture.

Learn more about Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and ScienceDepartment of History, the Jurist-in-Residence program and the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.

 



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