Continuing Education Program (CEP) under the new regulations

The September 2007 Well Construction Regulations require that any well driller, well digger or pump installer operating in Nova Scotia participate in and successfully complete a continuing education program in order to apply to renew certificates of qualification.

The NSGWA agreed in a letter to Nova Scotia Environment dated 15 December 2007 to undertake the development of the CEP on behalf of the Department as a voluntary extension to the January 2004 MOU on provision that 100% of any additional certificate of qualification fees collected by the Department become available for that purpose. In response, and due to the accounting procedures used by Government, Nova Scotia Environment has for the 2006/07 fiscal period agreed to pay 50% of all additional certificate of qualification fees collected, plus additional seed money for the CEP such that the total initial funding for the CEP was 100% of the additional fees collected. We anticipate that we will continue to receive the full 100% of all additional certificate of qualification fee money collected under the MOU if the CEP is to succeed into the future.

Intent of the continuing education program

The CEP Guiding Document, which had been worked on cooperatively with Nova Scotia Environment during the preceding two years, and which was accepted by the Department in the summer of 2007 pending some minor changes, was brought to our January 2008 annual general meeting for members to vote on for acceptance. The CEP committee was created that same day.

The CEP is intended to apply equally to Certified Well Drillers, Well Diggers, and Pump Installers, whether or not they are members of the NSGWA, to satisfy the requirements of Section 10 of the Well Construction Regulations (382/2007) under the Nova Scotia Environment Act. The CEP may include, but is not limited to, such educational items as: relevant legislation, record keeping, well construction and pump installation techniques, geology and groundwater theory, resource protection, ground-source thermal applications, work safety, equipment and materials handling and maintenance, and others relating to the various trade or sub-trade activities undertaken in the normal course of well construction and pump installation.

The CEP is still very much in its infancy: currently, work has been completed and/or is underway primarily to introduce and announce the program and new legislation to industry – through the NSGWA newsletter that we have begun to distribute Province-wide for this purpose, and through special meetings that we have managed. We have been maintaining a database of all certified persons who have participated in either normal NSGWA activities or outside special meetings. Through the CEP Committee, we are also actively involved in the development of a database and the development/delivery of forms for certified persons to register points for continuing education activities undertaken outside of NSGWA, as well as the ones described above.

We have been actively seeking various educational resources, both local and foreign, with which the NSGWA and/or Nova Scotia Environment may wish to partner; materials that the NSGWA may be able obtain to present directly to industry, and facilitators to deliver those resources. The CEP is intended to continue to evolve and improve over time.

Roles of the CEP Committee

The primary roles of the CEP committee are to:

  • develop a continuing education points system that is flexible, consistent with the CEP Guiding Document and Well Construction Regulations, and for which the means of assessing and applying continuing education points consistent and defendable.
  • ensure that points may be equitably obtained by all certified well drillers, diggers and pump installers in Nova Scotia and that those points are properly accounted for delivery to Nova Scotia Environment for consideration during certificate renewals.

Number of continuing education points required to maintain certification

Each certified person must accumulate a minimum of 100 points within the latest 4 year period to maintain their certification. Nova Scotia Environment will at the time of certificate renewal review the total number of points accumulated by each individual applying for certificate renewal.

Where an individual may have been issued a certificate of qualification under more than one of the disciplines as Well Driller, Well Digger or Pump Installer, that person must accumulate the necessary number of points for each individual discipline. However, while some courses may be unique to certain disciplines, where courses or training sessions may be multidisciplinary in nature, then points may be assigned and offered for each of the relevant disciplines for which that person is certified. In other words, if person certified as a well driller and a pump installer takes a course worth 6 points that is relevant to both discipline, then that person will receive 6 points towards their well driller certificate, plus 6 points towards their pump installer certificate.

It is the responsibility of each person registered under this program to track their own attendance at courses and/or other activities relating to continuing education that may provide them with points under this program. Those activities are to be reported by prescribed cut off dates and a CEP attendance form, which will be signed by the facilitator/presenter of any course or activity sponsored by this program. For courses or activities which may not yet be registered to provided points and as included in the CEP points summary, it is the responsibility of each qualified person registered under this program to present the details of such activity on the prescribed form for review and consideration by the CEP committee.

Through the NSGWA secretary’s involvement on the CEP committee, the NSGWA will maintain a record of continuing education points for all certified well drillers, well diggers and pump installers operating in Nova Scotia.

Points accumulation start up under the new regulation

The the purpose of points accumulation, the continuing education program under the new well construction regulations is deemed to have commenced on 01 January 2008. Any person holding a certificate or qualification as a well driller, well digger or pump installer as of that date is considered to be grandfathered as relates to the continuing education requirements for certification.

At the commencement of the program on January 2008, ALL persons holding a Certificate of Qualification in Well Digging, Well Drilling or Pump Installers were considered to have 100 points (25 for each year 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007). On January 1, 2009, the points for 2004 drop off and then the points obtained for 2008 are added to arrive at a now total for the last 4 years. This will continue in each subsequent year, with only the last 4 years counting. If a person does not have a total of 100 points OR did not acquire 15 points in the last year, then NSE WILL send a letter to that person advising them that (s)he has not achieved the necessary qualifications and that (s)he has one year to bring their requirements for Certification up to standards, or risk losing their Certification of Qualification in their respective disciplines.