AGM Gives Nod to Changes In Permit to Practice System
Meeting in Edmonton April 17, participants in APEGGAs 78th annual General Meeting approved major changes to Permits to Practice and regulation of corporate practice.
The AGM also saw Dan Motyka, P.Eng., installed as the Associations 79th President, succeeding Dennis Lindberg, P.Eng. Other successful candidates running for Council positions were also announced. They are: Darrel Danyluk, P.Eng., 1st Vice President; Connie Parenteau, P.Eng., 2nd Vice President, and for three-year terms as councillors: Elaine Honsberger, P.Geoph.; Mike Smyth, P.Eng.; Gordon Stewart, P.Eng., and Linda Van Gastel, P.Eng. (Please see page 5 for biographical sketches on the new members of Council and a list of returning Councillors.)
Due to Mr. Lindbergs absence for health reasons, Mr. Motyka, in his capacity as 1997-98 1st Vice President, welcomed guests and presided over the meeting. Those in attendance included the Chair of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, Pierre Desjardins, ing., who briefly explained CCPEs role.
CCPE Alberta Director Fred Otto, P.Eng., PhD, pointed to a productive year under Mr. Desjardins leadership, particularly in terms of development of CCPEs new business plan. Dr. Otto also noted the presence at the AGM of the CCPEs recently appointed President and Chief Operating Officer, Daniel Levert, P.Eng., LLB.
Highlights of 1997-98
On Mr. Lindbergs behalf, Mr. Motyka briefly highlighted some of APEGGAs accomplishments of the past year. They included:
- meetings with key officials to improve relationships with governments at the provincial and municipal levels;
- moving forward with the mandatory Professional Development Program;
- continuing efforts in the areas of student outreach and the Science Olympics;
- passage of amendments to Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act;
- APEGGAs involvement in promoting the Alberta Advantage, including input into last years Growth Summit;
- APEGGAs response to a request from an Alberta government legislative committee for input on capital expenditure planning;
- registration of APEGGAs 30,000th member; and
- the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Alberta Labor on occupational health and safety.
Referring to Mr. Lindbergs contributions, Mr. Motyka said: "Our Association has been very well served by the dedication and commitment of our President during his term of office."
Mr. Motyka informed the AGM of the existence of a letter forwarded to APEGGA by Tom Klassen, P.Eng., requesting that the mandatory continuing Professional Development Program be brought to the attention of the meeting. Mr. Klassen in his letter also raised concern that the CPD program was not taken to a full membership vote.
APEGGA Director of Professional Development Len Shrimpton, P.Eng., said that there is no clear evidence that a significant portion of the membership opposes the CPD program, which has received extensive publicity through The PEGG and other means, and whose related regulations were approved at the 1997 AGM. There may have been a small increase in members struck for non-payment as a result of the CPD program, said Mr. Shrimpton, "but our projections of up to a 10-per-cent loss in membership because of this program have not even come close to being realized.
"If anything," he said, "our membership is growing dramatically, perhaps because of a growth in Alberta. So, I think that Mr. Klassens request for Council and/or the full membership to consider a full vote is inappropriate and I would recommend that the Association not proceed with such a vote."
No further action was taken by the AGM on Mr. Klassens request.
Ken Kozak, P.Eng., took the floor to say he fully agrees with professional development but that he takes exception to having to record the amount of professional development.
Mr. Shrimpton replied that the success of the program depended on some reporting but added that the amount of paperwork required has been minimized.
Verne Warwick, P.Eng., suggested it was a serious enough issue that it should not be determined just by statistics or done on the basis of a decision at an AGM with a limited attendance.
"I think to be absolutely certain that members feel this way, that it should go to a general vote," Mr. Warwick said.
Mr. Motyka noted that fewer than 100 letters had been received voicing opposition to the CPD program and further validation of its worth is provided by the fact that sister associations across the country are copying APEGGAs program.
The meeting approved a series of regulation and bylaw changes related to corporate practice. These changes also give Council certain discretion in establishing requirements and exemptions relating to Permit-holder fees. (Please see the March PEGG page 8 for a detailed commentary on the changes.) The Permit and registration requirements cover several categories of practice, ranging from sole practitioners to major corporations that sell engineering, geological and geophysical services directly to the public.
The approved amendments to regulations now will be forwarded to the Alberta government for consideration and incorporation into provincial legislation.
Mr. Motyka expressed the hope that these changes would encourage and facilitate greater participation in APEGGA by geoscience practitioners.
The amendments as proposed received fairly speedy approval but were followed by discussions initiated by Norm Webster, P.Eng., who indicated that he supported the thrust of the changes which "raise the bar" with respect to Permits to Practice vis-a-vis provision of services to the public. However, he voiced some concern about the discretion open to Council in possibly relaxing the rules relating to corporate practice. Following discussion and a presentation by APEGGA Councillor Mark Lasby, P.Eng., on the history leading up to the corporate practice amendments, the following resolution was passed:
"Council shall only exercise its discretion, permitted under regulation 50.1 and by bylaw 24(5) after establishing guidelines which Council shall develop with stakeholder input."
The AGM approved a motion by Norman Orr, P.Eng. a former APEGGA president, acknowledging the Order of Canada recently awarded to APEGGA Councillor Alice Payne, P.Geol.
Raj Rajan, P.Eng., PhD, moved a motion, subsequently approved, calling for APEGGA to proactively increase awareness of members regarding professional liability, and the need for errors and omissions insurance.
Following his installation as President, Mr. Motyka said he accepted the presidency with a great deal of "pride and humility". He complimented Mr. Lindberg for his leadership, initiative and "remarkable dedication" to the Association and the professions efforts that will yield benefits for years to come.
"I hope to follow in his footsteps," and the new APEGGA president emphasized: "I believe strongly in what APEGGA does and the role it plays in the best interest of public safety."
The AGM concluded with a report by the Chair of the Canadian Council of Professional Geoscientists, Gordon Williams, P.Geol, PhD, on the CCPGs establishment, and with an issue forum in which Dr. Otto outlined initiatives currently under way to define the issue of "software engineering" and to challenge misuse of the title.