October , 1999
Executive Director's Notes:
Is Value Being Received?
By Neil Windsor, P.Eng.
In the past, we have discussed what registration in APEGGA means and we have focused on the many "professional benefits" enjoyed. These include such important items as: pride and prestige of professional membership; the reputation for excellence associated with the professional designations; the importance of being recognized as conforming to a strong code of ethics; and the privilege of self-governance and of being judged by ones peers. All these have great value as evidenced by the fact that many persons who are neither licensed nor qualified to practice our professions choose to use the terms engineer, geologist, geophysicist that are restricted by the EGGP Act for use by qualified professionals only. Clearly these individuals see great market value in these titles based on the reputation that has been built up over a period of more than 75 years by qualified professional Members. They do not, as we do, hold responsibility for the safety of the public as delegated to us by the Act. How we deal with this growing problem of unregulated and unlicensed practitioners is another very important matter which shall be the subject of a column in the very near future.
Somewhat related to the question of value received is the question of efficiency of APEGGA and how that might impact on annual dues paid by Members. From time to time, Members question the requirement for these fees, especially when small increases are applied. This matter has been addressed in the past in comparison to annual fees charged by sister associations in other provinces and similar professional associations within Alberta. We are reproducing below the results of a national survey carried out recently by the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario which provides a quick overview of how APEGGA compares to other associations.
It must be remembered that costs for each association vary with the programs and services being delivered in each case and by the level of dependence on volunteers to deliver these programs. The smaller associations must of necessity depend on volunteers for some administrative functions, hence staff/ members ratios should be lower as would the cost of salaries as a percentage of total budget. The chart shows that only New Brunswick is lower than APEGGA in these two categories. In comparing annual fees, only Ontario and New Brunswick were lower than Alberta at the time of this survey. Members equity comparisons are distorted in cases where associations own the property in which the head office is located. However, APEGGA is on the low end. The funds required to be held in reserve approximate six months operating expenditures as required by Council policy. Note that figures relating to national associations are less meaningful due to the wide difference in responsibilities.
Analysis of these figures shows clearly that APEGGA is well within the norm for comparable associations across Canada and, in fact, can be seen to be highly efficient in delivering a wider range of programs and services than most other associations.
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