September 2006 ISSUE


Passport Guarantor

When we discuss APEGGA membership with new graduates and other potential members, a question often asked is, “What’s in it for me?”

Though licensure and the enforcement of the EGGP Act make up our primary purpose, APEGGA offers a wide range of benefits and other services to its members.

What’s In It For Me? is a series of articles describing these programs.

Not all of the benefits of being a professional engineer, geologist, or geophysicist are financially quantifiable. Many are important but intangible.

The pride that comes from knowing you are part of a larger, ethical profession; the prestige of being recognized as a member of the professional class; and the respect you receive as a result of 86 years of quality work by your predecessors and peers — it’s hard to put a price tag on those benefits.

Difficult to measure or prove, these benefits are sometimes recognized by others.

One of the most visible forms of recognition comes in the form of the trust accorded professionals by the federal government. For many years now, professional engineers have been able to act as a guarantor for domestic Canadian passport applications.

The guarantor provides an invaluable service in the passport issuing process, attesting to the identity of the person applying for the passport by signing the back of the passport photo. In this age of increased security concerns, identity theft and terrorism, this role carries even greater responsibility.
Most Canadians cannot serve as a guarantor. Only the legally registered members of regulated professions (including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, lawyers, accountants), members of law enforcement (including judges, magistrates and police officers), legally recognized religious ministers, and a few select others qualify.

Earlier this summer, professional geologists and geophysicists were added to this list, ending a long-standing concern of some of our geoscientist members.

Simply stating that you are a qualified to serve as a guarantor is not enough. Passport Canada checks the eligibility of each guarantor against the appropriate membership roster. Retired professionals are only eligible if their name continues to appear on the roster (as a life member, in APEGGA’s case). Student members and members-in-training are not eligible.

There is no financial benefit to this trust; the guarantor must provide the service free of charge. Trust and respect are like that — intangible — but in this case they are at least demonstrable.

More info

Visit www.ppt.gc.ca/can/guarantor.aspx