February 2007 ISSUE

President’s Notebook

ASET Discussions Successful


APEGGA President

Discussions with ASET regarding the proposed One Act, Two Associations regulatory model have concluded. Talks wrapped up on Dec. 18 with the creation of a memorandum of understanding, which was approved by APEGGA and ASET councils on Jan. 25.

The MOU and an accompanying discussion paper will be presented to members of the two associations over the coming months, beginning with a town hall meeting which took place as The PEGG went to press, ongoing President’s Visits to APEGGA’s branches during February and March, and discussion at the APEGGA Annual General Meeting in Calgary on April 28.

It is then intended that a resolution be presented to members for a ballot vote, probably in May 2007. This would be for the creation of legislation to enable a One Act, Two Associations model.

As stated in Communiqués 1 and 2, as well as in our frequently asked questions document, the primary purpose of considering a One Act, Two Associations regulatory model is to better protect the public interest. We would do this by assuring the competence of engineering and technology professionals across the spectrum of their intertwined practices.

With technologists under the regulatory framework of the EGGP Act, they will become subject to the same requirements of professionalism now expected of professional engineers, professional geologists and professional geophysicists. These requirements include adherence to the Code of Ethics, the obligation to pursue continuing professional development, the possibility of being subjected to the discipline process, and the obligation to protect the public.

Extending the EGGP Act to include technologists will harmonize the engineering and geoscience professions with other professions. Among these are health, which has 30 professions and their professional associations housed under the Health Professions Act, and forestry, which has professional foresters and forestry technologists regulated under a single act.

The discussion team has appreciated receiving feedback from members — some 300 e-mails and letters. We have taken all comments seriously, although obviously we have not been able to embrace every view expressed.  Please see also pages 1, 13 and 14 of this month’s PEGG.

Progress on 2006 Priorities
At a May 2005 strategic planning session, your Council renewed our long-range plan and established 10 short-term priorities for calendar year 2006. Significant progress has been achieved on the 2006 priorities, which I will outline in this section.

Priority 1 — Consult with members regularly and incorporate input appropriately

  • Two forums were held for member input in the strategic planning process

  • Members provided input to guidelines for Management of Risk in Professional Practice, for Selecting a Consultant, and for Professional Responsibilities in Completion and Assurance of Reclamation and Remediation Work in Alberta

  • Member input was sought during the ASET discussions

  • A full member opinion survey was conducted by Ipsos Reid — results to be published in the new year.

Priority 2 — Personalize professionalism

  • The September 2006 President’s Notebook introduced the concept of personalized professionalism

  • A professional advertising campaign which highlights personalized professionalism has been developed for implementation in 2007 and 2008.

Priority 3 — Understand and address member needs related to their professional practices

  • The Annual Conference in April attracted 720 registrants, the highest ever, for continuing professional development seminars, including a first-ever CEO seminar

  • A mentoring conference in November was well attended and well received

  • Practice guidelines were developed for
    – Professional Responsibilities in Developing Software
    – Management of Risk in Professional Practice
    – Selecting a Consultant
    – Professional Responsibilities in Completion and Assurance of Reclamation and Remediation Work in Alberta.
    Priority 4 — Ensure that engineering and geoscience work done outside Alberta meets our standards and is regulated

  • The Practice Review Board conducted an independent review of this issue. It found that outsourced engineering work implemented in Alberta met the same standards as Alberta-engineered work, and that it was being properly regulated through the APEGGA Responsible Member and permit to practice system.

  • As recommended by the Practice Review Board, a guideline is being developed for reviewing outsourced engineering documents.

Priority 5 — Enhance society’s understanding of issues

  • Government and opposition members were fully briefed on our proposal for the One Act, Two Associations regulatory model.

  • Meetings were held with Alberta and B.C. ministers responsible for the recently announced Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement.

  • Two meetings were held with Federal Immigration Minister Monte Solberg to discuss the requirements for internationally educated graduates to become registered with APEGGA.

  • Council has approved the establishment of a task force to create a public policy issues committee of Council, which will identify and develop papers on topics of technical and professional importance to government and the public in general. 

Priority 6 — Mobility

  • A mobility forum in April attracted 80 delegates, including a number from the registration boards of states in the U.S.

  • The annual conference of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region in July resulted in a resolution to implement the NAFTA agreement on professional mobility with the U.S. The motion calls for Canadian P.Engs. with 12 years’ experience or more to be exempt from writing the Fundamentals of Engineering and Principles of Engineering exams. This resolution will form the basis of state-by-state agreements APEGGA will negotiate in the coming years.    

Priority 7 - Aboriginal affairs

  • A start was made on a long-term program to interest and assist more Alberta aboriginals to enter our professions.

Priority 8 — Reduce the time to process applications

  • The Board of Examiners conducted a comprehensive review of its policies and is implementing some 58 recommendations to streamline registration

  • The Board of Examiners has been expanded to better handle the increased number of applications — 6,000 in 2006 versus 4,900 in 2005. 

Priority 9 — Enhance Compliance program

  • Two part-time consultants hired, one in engineering, one in geoscience, to assist in Compliance Department investigations

  • Geoscience manager position filled for Calgary office.
    Priority 10 — Upgrade accounting and member management software systems

  • A new accounting software package was seamlessly introduced in October, on time and within budget.

Highway Safety
I was pleased to note that my November 2006 President’s Notebook item on highway safety attracted some interest. In particular, this comment raised some eyebrows: “Isn’t it time to outlaw the building of new two-lane, high-speed highways, which statistically have several times the fatality rates of four-lane divided freeways?”

My question is based on a review of statistics published by the International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group, which is closely tied to the internationally recognized Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The group (see sidebar) compared 2004 fatality rates per billion vehicle-kilometres for motorways and non-motorways for the 10 countries that segregate their motorway data. (Canada doesn’t do so.)
This data show that it is considerably safer to travel on motorway-class highways than on non-motorways — about three times safer!

Canada’s fatality rate for all roads is 8.6 per billion vehicle-kilometres.

Congratulations to Ed Stelmach, our new Premier and a former transportation minister, for his early attention to highway safety. In his letter to incoming Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Luke Ouellette, he notes that specific priorities include implementing a provincial traffic safety plan to reduce the number of collisions on Alberta roads.

I expect that Premier Stelmach will be asking the Hon. Mr. Ouellette to implement the recommendations contained in the 2004 report Saving Lives on Alberta’s Roads, which was prepared by Donald McDermid, a retired RCMP assistant commissioner.

One of the quotes in the report that caught my eye came from Dr. Brian Fildes of Monash University in Australia: “We must stop constantly blaming the driver for his or her mistakes and accept that humans are not infallible, that they make mistakes for a variety of reasons, and therefore we must design our highways to be more forgiving, to accommodate these mistakes.”

I believe that it is this kind of fundamental paradigm shift that is needed if we are to make progress in improving highway safety. And I believe that our professional members should be — and will be — leading the way.

APEGGA Education Foundation
Thanks for your response to my December appeal to support the APEGGA Education Foundation. In case you missed it, I am challenging all members to participate in building an endowment fund that will be able to support scholarship awards worth $500,000 per year in total.

A modest donation of $50 to $100 per year by each of our 47,000-plus members can make this happen! Larger donations, of course, would be welcome. A donation form appears on page 25.
As always, I appreciate your comments and feedback at president@apegga.org.


Fatalities per
billion vehicle-km

Fatalities per
billion vehicle-km
All Roads

























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