BY DR. GORDON WILLIAMS, P.GEOL.
Voting to elect four members of Council, as well as a Vice-President and President-Elect, began at 9 a.m. MST on Monday, March 2, and will end at 12 noon, MDT, on Sunday, April 5. It is absolutely imperative that voting members exercise their democratic privilege to choose who will lead their Association over the next year.
Our Association has some 54,000 members in total, of whom about 39,000 are voting members. Under these circumstances, it is undeniably difficult for voters to know many of the candidates. In addition to the biographies published in the February issue of The PEGG, this year the three candidates for President-Elect and Vice-President participated in a video forum to present their views on issues confronting the Association.
The video is available on the APEGGA website, www.apega.ca, via an icon on the homepage. Council is hopeful the video will help members to make better-informed choices when they cast their votes.
Check out the videos, cast your votes, and let me know if the videos were helpful. If they were, next year we could expand the use of this medium to include candidates for Council.
Last year in the election, we asked members to vote on whether our two geoscience designations, Professional Geologist (P.Geol.) and Professional Geophysicist (P.Geoph.), should be converted to the single designation of Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo.), with the proviso that holders of the existing designations could continue to use them. Although the number of members who voted was too low for the vote to be binding, approximately 75 per cent of those voting said yes.
APEGGA is alone in Canada and the rest of the world in using two professional designations for geoscientists. This reflects the way geology and geophysics were practiced in Alberta half a century ago, when geoscientists were first licensed by what is now APEGGA. At that time, there was very little overlap between geology and geophysics.
Today, in both the petroleum and the minerals industries, the two disciplines are essentially seamlessly integrated, with the result that many geologists are doing work that is defined as geophysics in the EGGP Act and vice versa. The practice of geoscience has progressed to the point where geology and geophysics are now more closely related than many professional engineering disciplines — which share a single designation.
An additional consideration is that changing to the single designation will make it easier for our geoscientists to obtain acceptable experience after graduation or transfer to other associations under the geoscience Inter-Association Mobility Agreement.
Based on the 75 per cent approval in last year’s ballot, Council asked the Act, Regulations and Bylaws Committee to prepare the necessary amendments to the EGGP Act, its regulations and the APEGGA bylaws to effect the changes and bring them to the 2009 Annual General Meeting for approval.
I stress this change will not result in any relaxation of standards for licensure. Applicants will still have to meet the standards of academic knowledge and experience that were developed by the Canadian Council of Professional Geoscientists and approved by your Board of Examiners in 2008.
This is an important issue for our geoscience members and I urge everyone, whether engineer or geoscientist, to attend the AGM and vote for the changes.
Trade Agreement News
Many members are familiar with the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement, or TILMA, entered into by the governments of Alberta and British Columbia in 2005. Effective April 1, 2009, the labour mobility provisions of TILMA are being strengthened to require essentially unconditional mobility of workers, including professionals, between Alberta and British Columbia. Noncompliance with the conditions could attract penalties in the seven-figure range.
APEGGA is of the opinion that the TILMA provisions will override our legislated mandate to protect the health, safety and well-being of the public. Our contention, based on national mobility data, is that our Inter-Association Mobility Agreements facilitate greater than 99.5 per cent mobility. They do so while still permitting the receiving regulatory association to examine the qualifications of potential transferees where health, safety and well-being of the public could be at risk for any reason. We feel that this is full mobility and have made strong representations to that effect to politicians and senior bureaucrats.
Moreover, the unfettered mobility requirements of TILMA, complete with the penalties for noncompliance, have been grafted onto the Canada-wide Agreement on Internal Trade, or AIT, which is also set become effective on April 1. The pressure for this is clearly coming from the provincial and territorial premiers, who wish to remove barriers to trade and labour mobility within Canada. Unfortunately, mobility of professionals, who are responsible under provincial legislation to ensure health, safety and well-being of the public, is being confused with trade and labour mobility.
One More Call to Vote
If you haven’t voted yet, drop whatever you are doing, go to your computer and vote. It is important!
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