President’s Notebook

President’s Visits Highlight Renewed APEGGA Focus

APEGGA President

March already! My term as president of APEGGA is fast drawing to a close. It is also the time when, as president, I have the pleasure of visiting all of our branches, speaking about what has been accomplished and sharing my perspective on key issues facing our professions.

These visits are a highlight of any president's term, and I am truly enjoying the opportunity to meet with the many individuals who attend.

Our Association and our Council have been busy over the past year, so there is a lot to talk about. President-Elect Larry Staples, P.Eng., has been chairing a task force working on updating and formalizing our strategic plan, and Vice-President Dave Chalcroft, P.Eng., has been leading the ongoing work on inclusivity.

Work is also underway on improving our connection with our members, primarily through improved communication and consultation. In addition, Council and its Governance Committee are reviewing the Association's internal governance policies and practices to clarify, streamline and improve transparency.

As I say in my President's Visit talk — all of these initiatives are weaving together and the result is that APEGGA is changing and renewing itself.

A key aspect of the “new APEGGA” is an increased emphasis on our members. We are self-governing professions. We need more “self” in our self-governance. We need more engagement of our membership. For me, this is the key theme running through the initiatives Council has undertaken this year.

Inclusivity's Message
The pushback on last year's inclusivity proposal demonstrated clearly that we needed better connection with our members. We spent a good portion of our 2004 Strategic Planning Session dealing with that issue, and it has been an ongoing area of focus for Council.

We are consulting more broadly now, and on more issues, and we are trying a variety of techniques, including a new online forum for members and consultation drafts of policy proposals.

Our branding initiative is underpinned by a change in the way APEGGA interacts with, talks about and “brands” its members. Members have become the top priority in our communications, with a focus on engaging members in influencing and supporting the future of our professions.

The Inclusivity Consultation Group has been working on a consultation draft of a white paper that clarifies concerns with regard to a group of non-licensed but competent practitioners of our professions and identifies some alternative approaches to addressing the concerns. One of the strongest arguments made for becoming more inclusive is that individual commitment to the “professionalism” that is embodied in APEGGA's regulation of the professions — including skilled and ethical practice, the Code of Ethics, continuing competency and our discipline and compliance practices — is key to fulfilling our professions' mandate to serve society and protect the public. Self-regulation by individuals of their own personal practice is the cornerstone of professionalism.

Members and Strategies
Working in parallel with these other initiatives, the Strategic Planning Task Force came to the conclusion very early in its work that our members had insufficient prominence in our Strategic Plan. While protection of the public through regulation of practice remains paramount, the task force recognized that the active participation of our members is key to effective governance of our professions.

With this in mind the consultation draft of the Strategic Plan identifies two new strategic goals and associated outcomes — in the area of upholding our members in their professional practices, and effective communication and consultation. Engagement of our membership and earning their active support is prominent, as is the concept of individual self-regulation discussed earlier.

Self-governance is a privilege granted to a few, select learned professions by the provincial government. The overriding principle is that these professions can be trusted to put the public interest first in their regulation and leadership of the professions.

APEGGA and its governance structure are created in legislation — the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act — to administer the act and facilitate governance of our professions. The Association cannot do this work without the active support and engagement of its members.

Member participation is critical to effective governance of our professions, especially in this time of rapid evolution of the professions and change in the expectations of society. Your profession needs you to find ways to increase your own level of involvement in your Association and in the governance of your professions.

On our website and elsewhere in this PEGG you will find information on an opportunity to get involved in the formulation of our strategic plan by providing input on a consultation draft. Other consultation on inclusivity is planned as well. I challenge you to take the time to understand the issues and provide your perspective.

Together, we can and will make our professions and APEGGA stronger, and ensure the public interest is served.

I'd appreciate hearing questions or comments. Reach me at president@apegga.org.