The Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC) is pleased to share the results of its reserved practice survey that was underway in 2023 and concluded in early 2024. The survey collected feedback from Professional Governance Act (PGA) registrants, the public, and industry on establishing reserved practice for applied science technologists and certified technicians.

In total, the survey garnered feedback from 422 respondents including 37 employers.

Here are some highlights of the survey results. The summary can be found here.

Overall respondents across all categories, including ASTTBC registrants, non-ASTTBC respondents, and employers agreed that:

  • Work in the engineering and engineering technology disciplines can pose serious consequences if performed by individuals without the proper training;
  • a gap between professional engineers and those with no skills or training in their discipline. This gap is fulfilled by technologists and technicians; and
  • there are established codes and standards utilized by technologists and technicians to guide their work.

Regardless of their risk profile, respondents identified seven common areas of work performed by technologists and technicians:

  • Field work and inspections,
  • Project management,
  • Professional collaboration,
  • Regulatory compliance,
  • Quality assurance,
  • Risk assessment and mitigation, and
  • Administrative and management tasks.

To the extent that these activities are classified as low, medium, or high risk is largely dependent on how respondents evaluate the work in relation to:

  • Public and environmental safety concerns
  • Working conditions and hazards
  • Project complexity and scope
  • Technical expertise
  • Financial and operational implications
  • Regulatory compliance and oversight

Nearly 82% of respondents agreed that low and medium risk work is an acceptable limit to allow technologists and technicians to review and authenticate their own work.

Overall, there is strong conceptual support for establishing reserved practice for technologist and technicians; however, a significant theme gleaned across the survey data was the caution for more detailed information, including possible implementation, so that impacts can better determine on industry, organizations, and individuals.

Perceptions of Technologist and Technician Work
Both ASTTBC registrants and non-registrants were asked to evaluate their work. When examining the results from across the two groups of respondents, there is general agreement that:

  • Each believes their work poses serious consequences if performed by individuals without proper training;
  • There is a gap between professional engineers and those with no skills or training in their discipline. This gap is fulfilled by technologists and technicians.
  • There are established codes and standards utilized by technologists and technicians to guide their work;
  • Where there are no codes and standards, technologists and technicians are relied upon to provide their technical opinion and aid in decision making; and
  • Within their respective disciplines, there is an understanding by each group when to seek out direct supervision and when the other needs to provide it.

Scope of Work
Respondents were asked for their specific insights on what they found as low, medium, and high-risk work within their fields and what factors led them to this conclusion.

Across all respondent groups as well as risk types, the most common work performed by technologists and technicians were:

  • Design and drafting
  • Field work and inspections (includes data collection, technical analysis and report writing)
  • Project management
  • Professional collaboration (collaborating with professional engineers and consultations on design reviews while providing technical support and guidance to clients and contractors)
  • Regulatory compliance (ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards)
  • Quality assurance
  • Risk assessment and mitigation
  • Administrative and management tasks

While these tasks were common across all risk profiles, what made them a low versus high-risk work were the factors considered. Respondents identified six key factors they considered when assessing the risk. To learn more about these factors please click here for the survey summary.

Review and Authentication of Work
Respondents were asked to provide insight into the type of work that a technologist and technician can complete safely without the need for further review or authentication by a supervising professional.

According to survey results, both employers and individual respondents agree that technologist and technicians should be able to complete and sign off on specific tasks within their field of expertise and competency without the need for supervision, as that is in the regulated practice of engineering, especially where regulatory requirements and standards already exist. This can include, but is not limited to, drafting, maintenance, field investigations, small-scale design work, basic civil designs, technical memos, feasibility studies, field inspections, testing, and commissioning, as well as handling specific systems and equipment.

Limited Licensure
The reserved practice survey explored the concept of ASTTBC applying a limited licensure credentialling model similar to those utilized by other PGA regulatory agencies. In the survey, respondents were asked if limited licensure could complement the establishment of reserved practice for technologists and technicians.

Overall, 75% of respondents expressed no concerns with the ASTTBC using limited licensure however, when reviewing the comments regarding possible opportunities for this type of credentialling could pose for their organization, the responses show that there is a wide interpretation on what it necessarily entails.

Impact of Reserved Practice
To measure the impact of introducing reserved practice for technologists and technicians may have, respondents were asked to provide their level of agreement on five impacts statements.

The results of the agreement for each statement are summarized with notable observations that:

  • while the majority of respondents (52%) believe there will be minimal impacts to industry and work practices with the introduction of a reserved practice, there is a significant portion (31%) that are undecided; and
  • nearly 82% of respondents agreed that low and medium risk work within their disciplines could be independently review and authenticated by technologists and technicians.

Concerns & Conclusions
While the majority of respondents explicitly expressed no concerns with introducing technologist and technician reserved practice (40% – 168 responses) or did not provide an answer (21% – 89 responses), for those who did provide an answer, there were three distinctive and consistent concerns expressed across all respondent groups:

  1. Uncertainty arising from limited information regarding implementation
  2. Impact of skilled labour on industry and business
  3. Potential conflicts with other professional designations

To conclude the survey, a request for feedback to ASTTBC regarding reserved practice was made. Across 422 responses, four themes emerged: expressions of support for reserved practice, recognizing the value of technologists and technicians, requests for more information and/or suggestions to improve ASTTBC’s processes and systems and upholding safety and public interest.

Thank you to all those who took the time to complete this survey. Your feedback is invaluable and will help direct ASTTBC in its decision-making as we work towards a reserved scope of practice for technologists and technicians. This is not the last time we will be consulting with registrants on this topic, there will be opportunities for further input in the near future.

ASTTBC encourages you to review the survey summary.

Questions on reserved practice can be directed to