July 2007 Issue


Council Begins Planning for
New Regulatory Framework

The PEGG gathered the following items from the first meeting of the 2007Р2008
APEGGA Council, on June 21 in Lloydminster. The next Council meeting is
Sept. 20 in Calgary.

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A new framework that brings ASET into the self-regulatory fold has landed a spot in APEGGA’s strategic planning process. Council approved the APEGGA Strategic Plan 2008 to 2017, which makes the One Act, Two Associations model a business planning priority.

A special task force will oversee implementation of 1A2A, in the wake of passage in the Alberta Legislature and Royal Assent of necessary amendments to the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act. The Bill 39 amendments pave the way for a new designation under the EGGP Act, called Professional Technologist. Those technologists who attain the P.Tech designation will be able to practice independently in the routine application of industry-recognized codes and standards and within a specified scope of practice.

The task force is made up of the discussion team that reached the 1A2A memorandum of understanding. Reporting to Council, the task force will help assure that various staff projects putting 1A2A into service meet the intent of the memorandum.

Putting the model into practice is one of seven, three-year strategic directions Council has set. The others are

  • Partner with others to monitor the professions’ ability to meet future needs.

  • Identify and implement effective new ways of engaging the membership in the Association, to further enhance members’ pride in their professions.

  • Inform discussions on issues of public interest relating to the professions by providing a balanced perspective. Participate in issues where the professions’ expertise will benefit the outcome.

  • Increase public awareness of the essential contributions of APEGGA professions.

  • Improve members’ mobility between regulatory jurisdictions.

  • Significantly increase the geoscience licensure rate.
    The strategic plan, updated each year, is part of a planning process that guides operations and feeds through to an annual business plan, budgeting and performance reporting. See diagram, this page.

Combining of Schedule Set For Possible Geoscience Designations
Two pieces in a complex geoscience puzzle are beginning to take shape С the puzzle of how to improve the ability of geoscientists to practice legally across the country, and how to make their knowledge and expertise more comparable from Canadian jurisdiction to Canadian jurisdiction.
One piece is the creation of a Professional Geoscientist designation in Alberta. Council has agreed it’s time to begin a process that could essentially merge Professional Geologist and Professional Geophysicist into a single designation. The two existing designations could be grandfathered for those who want to keep them.

The second piece is the work of the Canadian Geoscience Standards Board towards creating national Geoscience Knowledge and Experience Guidelines. Council passed a motion applauding the board’s progress so far.

Council also approved a motion to begin evaluating the replacement of the two geoscience designations. APEGGA is accustomed to being a leader in issues of regulation. But the final association with two designations other than APEGGA was, until recently, NAPEGG, which regulates the professions in the Northwesat Territories and Nunavut.

“We are now the only self-regulating organization in Canada with two geoscience designations,” said APEGGA Executive Director & Registrar Neil Windsor, P.Eng.

Said Coun. John Hogg, P.Geol., the chair of the Geoscience Committee: “We don’t take this lightly. This is a very big change.”

It’s also a necessary one, he said, comparing the current system to two umbrellas attempting to cover what is more and more the same profession. “Some raindrops fall between the two umbrellas,” Mr. Hogg said.

He pointed to geochemists as an example. “In Alberta they have trouble registering. But in B.C. they have no trouble.”

The committee report noted that the geological and geophysical professions are actually more closely related than most engineering disciplines. A single designation will “send a message to members that APEGGA is trying to address the mobility of geoscientists within Canada. Although there are many other hurdles, the Alberta designation is the one thing that APEGGA has most control over.”

The plan for now is to begin the process of engaging members in the issue and assessing support for the concept. The issue could go to a member vote in February 2008, before being forwarded to the Alberta Government for implementation of the necessary legislative amendments.

Committee Revisits M.I.T. Voting Rights
Recent regulatory changes allow registered professional technologists, who use the designation R.P.T., to vote in Council elections and other APEGGA ballots, as well as sit on Council. Could members-in-training be next?

The Governance Committee has turned its attention back to the idea, even though Council has at least twice rejected giving M.I.T.s the vote. The committee is reviewing the status of M.I.T.s in other associations and plans to bring a recommendation back to Council.

Because engineers-, geologists- and geophysicists-in-training are not yet full professionals, some councillors have said in the past that their lack of experience means they shouldn’t have the rights of full professionals.

However, the committee listed a number of reasons the added rights would be a positive move. The report said that M.I.T.s

  • already vote in municipal, provincial and federal elections

  • need to be engaged in APEGGA business early, so they develop an interest that continues through their professional careers

  • bring a diversity of opinion that APEGGA should value

  • are the future of the professions.

Code of Conduct For Volunteers Drafted
Volunteers are expected to perform their duties ethically and legally, a draft APEGGA Code of Conduct for Volunteers states. The code covers the respect towards others expected in any workplace, conflict of interest, and confidentiality.

The complete process for complaints, penalties and appeals is included in the draft, which runs about 15 pages long and is modelled after the one used by Engineers Canada. The APEGGA code will come back for possible approval in September, after councillors have had time to review the draft.

Council Again Says No to Mandatory Liability Insurance Declaration
A second Insurance Review Task Force has upheld the recommendation of its predecessor С that APEGGA should not make it mandatory for members to declare to their clients whether they carry professional liability insurance. “However, members need to be more aware of their obligation to discuss with their clients the risks inherent in their projects,” says a task force report to Council.
The task force maintains that “the relatively small size of the unsophisticated buyer market” and limitations in coverage make mandatory declaration unnecessary. Declarations don’t necessarily amount to true protection anyway, Council heard.

The recommendation, which Council supported, fulfills a June 2005 directive to look at the issue again in two years. To help guide it, the task force looked at the positions of Canadian sister associations, the Consulting Engineers of Alberta, APEGGA’s Practice Review Board and Environment Committee, and the legal community.

Many sister associations do require declaration. The position of the Practice Review Board is that declaration should be mandatory because it would help protect unsophisticated buyers. Lawyers go further, saying the public is better protected by mandatory coverage.

Council had also charged the committee with looking into the national Secondary Professional Liability Insurance Program, which members each put $7 a year of dues towards. The task force will meet with the provider to find out ways of improving the insurance, although it acknowledges that the program is run through Engineers Canada and any changes would require support of other constituent associations.

New Summit Award For Mentoring Meets Approval
At the April Council meeting, it looked as if the concept of a Summit Award for mentoring would not win approval from Council. Several councillors said mentoring is not career defining enough for the awards, which are presented each year at a gala in conjunction with the APEGGA Annual Conference.

In the June meeting, however, the motion was lifted from the table for continued discussion, and this time it passed.

“Mentoring is one of the most important professional obligations we have and as such it should be recognized with a Summit Award,” said Coun. Jim Beckett, P.Eng.

The APEGGA Professional Development Department awarded Mentors of the Year in 2005 and 2006. This award will be replaced by the new Outstanding Mentor Summit Award.

Task Force Addresses Future of Education Foundation
The APEGGA Education Foundation, APEGGA Council and the two major universities will work together to help chart the foundation’s future.

APEGGA Past-President David Chalcroft, P.Eng., is chairing the new task force. The Education Foundation is about 10 years old now, he said, and the  time is right to put together a plan for the next five to 10 years.

The new task force will identify a mutually acceptable protocol, identify external trends and issues, develop strategic goals and directions, and assess the foundation’s progress towards those goals.
The foundation operates independently of APEGGA to provide awards and scholarships, and develop endowments, in support of the education and development of engineers and geoscientists, as well as those who want to enter the professions.

Minister Names Public Members Of Board of Examiners
The Hon. Iris Evans, Minister of Employment, Immigration and Industry, has reappointed two Board of Examiners public members and appointed a third one.

Reappointed until 2010 is Michael Poplett of St. Albert. Terry Gunderson of Edmonton was reappointed for three months, and his term expires this month. Fred Stewart of Calgary was appointed for July 2007 until June 2010.

Council has also forwarded a list of possible choices to fill an empty public member seat on Council. Bill Grace, FCA, recently resigned from Council because of too many scheduling conflicts.