AGM Approves Regulations On
Compulsory Continuing Education
Members attending APEGGA's Annual General Meeting in Calgary April 18 approved a series of regulations facilitating implementation of the compulsory continuing education program previously approved by Council.
The new regulations were approved by a clear majority through a show-of-hands vote. Discussions related to the matter took up a considerable portion of the meeting which lasted close to three hours.
In reporting to the AGM, the outgoing President Fred Otto, P.Eng., PhD, provided a general review of the Association's Business Plan, approved by Council in November. He said: "One of the messages I have received, is that the best way that APEGGA can become more relevant is to strengthen the core responsibility areas."
He said the mandatory professional development program is an important initiative in that regard. He pointed to reasons for pursuing the programs, notably;
- to improve the commitment of members to professional development;
- enhance the relevance of the professions represented by APEGGA;
- rapid technological change and the fast pace of technical obsolescence;
- heightened public expectations from professions; and
- a changing workplacewith more members working on contract;
Benefits of the program are: more highly skilled professionals, more marketable members and improved competitiveness.
"The main thing," said Dr. Otto, "is that the (program) has an educational thrust. It is not a policing exercise. It is an exercise to help our members become more competent".
In touching on other significant developments of the past year, Dr. Otto drew attention to:
- implementation of proactive practice reviews;
- the adoption of a guideline on human rights issues in professional practice;
- implementing a four-year requirement for professional registration;
- steps by the Board of Examiners to improve the quality of references submitted in connection with registration;
- strengthened enforcement activity;
- promotion to municipalities of the value of professional services;
- establishment of the APEGGA Education Foundation.
Dr. Otto reminded those in attendance that the main purpose of APEGGA remains to serve the public. He thanked for the opportunity to serve as President, finding it to "exciting, challenging and rewarding". He acknowledged the support of Council, the branch chairs, former executive director Bob Ross, P.Eng., and Neil Windsor, P.Eng., who has assumed that post.
When the regulation changes relating continuing competence came up for considerations, several members voiced some concerns about the program and its implementation.
Concerns centred mainly on:
- difficulties those working in remote locations might have in meeting the requirements;
- concern about the paperwork and record-keeping involved; and
- uncertainly about whether the program will ensure that members who are "unprofessional" in their dealings really will be "caught" by the program.
Several members, including some who said they had initial reservations about the program, said they were satisfied that the amount of time entailed was not excessive. Gordon Stewart, P.Eng., chair of the Act, Regulations and Bylaws Committee in presenting the Act, Regulation and Bylaw changes to the AGM emphasized the extensive review that had gone into developing the compulsory continuing education program. He added that he had gone through the reporting requirements himself and "it was not an onerous task".
Another speaker said from the floor that the program already is helping to open dialogue with her employer about added support for training and developing professional career paths.
It also was pointed out that the program is very flexible and could accommodate those working abroad.
Al MacDonald, P.Eng., president of the Consulting Engineers of Alberta, noted that association, representing 70 member firms, is fully supportive of the initiative.
A number of other Act, Regulation and Bylaw changes were approved without major debate. They included granting permission to the Practice Review Board to conduct a review of a member's practice without prior Council approval. Other changes related to exempting members from obtaining municipal business licences, making APEGGA's executive director a voting member of the Executive Committee and clarifying certain Appeal Board procedures. (Please see March PEGG, Page 6 for further details relating to the legislative changes).
Dr. Otto also announced the results of the election to Council. In addition to Dennis Lingberg, P.Eng., the new President, the other newly elected members of the Executive Committee are: 1st Vice-President Dan Motyka, P.Eng., and 2nd Vice-President Connie Parenteau, P.Eng. Elected to three-year terms as Councillors are: Elizabeth Cannon, P.Eng., PhD, Dale Miller, P.Eng., Neil O'Donnell, P.Eng. P.Geol., and Bonnie Stowkowy, P.Eng.
After taking his oath of office, Dennis Lindberg, acknowledged his predecessor's "visionary" contributions at a time when Council has dealt effectively with a number of difficult issues with the result that "our Association is healthy and strong".
"The general direction has been set but there is still work to be done to ensure we stay on course."
Mr. Lindberg said he will have a strong Council including public members and an experienced staff.
Several invited speakers addressed the AGM. In bringing greetings from Alberta Minister of Public Works, Supply and Services Stan Woloshyn, the department's deputy minister, Dan Bader, P.Eng., thanked for the "positive and intense dialogue" which has taken place in recent months between the government and the Association. He added that his department is hoping to utilize APEGGA's continuing professional education guidelines in connection with the department's own continuing competency program.
Gordon Williams, P.Geol, PhD, briefly outlined steps being taken to establish the Canadian Council of Professional Geoscientists, which Dr. Williams noted, now has received its federal letters patent.
John Bate, P.Eng., chair of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, told the AGM that the CCPE is in a process of trying to "re-define itself" and its future direction as it relates to its governance and further development of a national vision for the engineering profession. He paid particular tribute to Dr. Otto's contribution as chair of the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board.
..Back to the Index...