What’s in a name, or even a job title? Apparently, a lot — according to Alberta’s largest association of engineering professionals. That’s why the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) says it will be appealing a court ruling seeking to limit the use of the job title ‘engineer’ to certified, licenced practitioners.On Dec. 8, the group filed notice to the Alberta Court of Appeal to reverse a decision that would allow software developers and programmers to call themselves engineers with no real formal accreditation.It comes after a lower court judge on Nov. 9 dismissed the group’s request for an injunction against Getty Images and software provider Jobber Inc. on their use of the title “engineer” in job placement ads..“If you’re not applying engineering principles, you can really call yourself a software engineer now after the legislation passed, and that wasn’t the case earlier.”Advanced Education Minister Rajan Sawhney.According to engineering associations across the country, the court’s interpretation of the UCP’s Bill 7 — the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act — has the potential to lead to increased use of the title “engineer,” regardless of whether the title is being used as part of a recognized engineering discipline.In an emailed statement to The Western Standard, APEGA external relations manager Andrew MacKendrick stressed the suit isn’t against Bill 7, but against the two specific companies that are using the title, ostensibly under principles in the legislation.The bill was introduced in the Legislature on Nov. 6 in a bid by Advanced Education Minister Rajan Sawhney to draw and retain workers in Alberta’s burgeoning tech sector, which has nearly tripled in size since 2019.According to government estimates, 3,000 tech firms employ more than 80,000 people in Edmonton and Calgary alone. Meanwhile, APEGA says it has more than 69,000 registered members across Alberta. Calgary itself has more registered engineers per capita than any other city in Canada..Companies like Edmonton-based Jobber says Bill 7 is needed to align “universally accepted” job titles in places like Silicon Valley to attract top talent to Alberta.But if the ruling is allowed to stand, APEGA says it “will significantly undermine APEGA’s ability to effectively regulate the engineering profession,” citing concerns for public safety and professional integrity.The issue is becoming even more acute given the role of engineers in developing critical infrastructure systems — not just buildings and bridges — but now power grids and even AI.“Public trust in engineering is built around the title ‘engineer,’ which is associated with a standard of excellence, a commitment to the public interest, and an adherence to a code of ethics. Ensuring titles are not used in a way that is misleading is pivotal in protecting Albertans, which is the driving force behind our decision to appeal,” says registrar and CEO Jay Nagendran, who is himself a dedicated ‘P.Eng’..In addition, it says the decision sets a “concerning precedent” that could affect regulations in other Canadian jurisdictions and have broader implications for other regulated professions, such as the health and legal sectors.Bill 7 is also opposed by APEGA’s national counterpart, Engineers Canada, which it called a “dangerous precedent “ in a statement of its own.For instance, on Dec. 7 it reported a New Brunswick man was fined $50,000 for use of an engineer‘s seal on what it called “deficient design drawings.”“This is a national issue, and this decision sets Alberta apart from the standard practices observed in other Canadian provinces and territories,” said CEO Gerard McDonald.