APEGM has always issued, and will continue to issue, a manual seal to every member once they become registered, in order to authenticate their professional products. An imprint of the manual seal and signature by the hand of a registered member has been the traditional means by which Professional Engineers and Geoscientists authenticate their documents. Prior to 2011, this was the only way that APEGM's members were allowed to authenticate.
Member's now have the additional option to digitally authenticate their electronic documents. The process still involves applying an image of their manual seal and signature to a document, but goes further to include a digital certificate that is linked to the member.
APEGM has partnered with Notarius, who maintain the verification infrastructure and manage digital signatures for various professional organizations. Applications and renewals of the digital signatures are maintained through Notarius, while APEGM verifies new applications and maintains the authority to revoke the digital signatures in accordance with a member's standing.
Electronically signed documents can be modified, but the state of the document when signed will always be preserved. Documents can be signed multiple times through their lifetime by multiple people. Documents can also be encrypted to restrict access to their contents. This new authentication option has the potential to eliminate the need to print and store physical versions of electronic documents.
In 1998, the Engineering and Geoscientific Professions Act was modified to include a provision for the future option to digitally authenticate documents. At the time, the term “Electronic Seal” was used to describe the technology. Since 1998, the digital world has evolved considerably. Current terminology refers to “Digital Signature” to reflect that the process involves the application of a unique identifier to a document. In the future, the Act will be modified to reflect current terminology, but in the interim the term Electronic Seal may be considered as a reference to the Digital Signature.
Here are a few articles from Notarius:
Notarius is the only provider of digital signatures that is currently approved by APEGM. To begin an application, visit the Notarius site.
For any questions about the Digital Signature / Electronic Seal, contact:APEGM Professional Standards Officer