January 2002

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Let's hear from you...

The PEGG welcomes letters as an avenue or members to express opinions and concerns on issues or topics of interest to the professions. Share your experiences with other members. Just send your letters to the editor at 1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 4A2; e-mail, or fax (780)-425-1722, signed with your name and address. Of course, we can't undertake to publish all letters received and can't run letters concerning specific registration matters before any APEGGA regulatory body. Do try and keep your letters to 300 words or less.

Charitable Use of Time
As engineers we work for a wide range of companies and possess an equally wide range of
skills. What if we as an organization rallied these diverse skill-sets in an effort to build housing for underprivileged families, much like a few other organizations have done in the past?

I work in Calgary and am sure through an organized effort we could rally not only money for
materials etc. but gather “crews” to donate time on weekends to complete a project like a home or something of the like.

This is really not an original idea, but I know I would be willing to donate a weekend here or there to help in a construction event like I have described. It seems to me we as engineers possess every qualification (mental and physical) to complete
these types of projects.

I am looking to someone in APEGGA to assess the viability of a charitable donation of our time such as this one. And I offer some of my personal time to help out. I would rather construct something of value in a team environment than simply write a cheque for
a charitable donation.

Corey Linder, P.Eng.

APEGGA Value Is Real Issue

As I read my October 2001 PEGG, I was disappointed with the President’s Notebook,
titled Another Way to Cheapen Professions. Dale Miller, P.Eng., discusses the issue of unlicensed persons doing work that clearly falls under APEGGA’s mandate.

It is about time this issue was discussed openly. It is a problem that does affect all of our livelihoods. But I disagree with Mr. Miller’s solution: let’s all be tattle-tales. Mr. Miller should examine the reason this practice flourishes. The main reason is that neither the service provider nor the client see value in APEGGA being involved.

Wells are drilled, oil or gas found, acceptable reports generated. The client is happy and the
provider earns a living. Free enterprise is functioning well! What could an APEGGA stamp add?

Instead of trying to put these guys out of business and hassling customers, APEGGA needs to reform and provide true value to both the service provider and the customer. Clearly, APEGGA provides no value that these people are willing to pay even $185 a year for. In creating value for these people, maybe, APEGGA would create value for the rest of us.

This lack of vision goes back, as well, to Mr. Miller’s comments in the July 2001 PEGG, also about cheapening the professions. Mr. Miller mentioned that Newfoundland tried a fee schedule. He states there is concern about it from members there.

It only seems logical to me. It would put them in an uncompetitive position when bidding on work. Outsiders would know their rates and undercut them.

What wasn’t examined is that such a system only works when everyone is under the same rules. That levels the playing field. I suggest we look at supporting the Newfoundland initiative, in this way, rather than using it as an argument against fee schedules.

I agree that we are under-valued at times by employers and customers. Market forces should keep things acceptable for all. Well, that’s true if market forces are allowed to work.

Organizations like APEGGA lately service corporate interests to reduce costs.I believe APEGGA should play a more moderating role in bringing in professionals from other
countries, for example, to ensure only the best qualified are admitted. The corporate wish appears to be to saturate the market to keep costs down.

In other articles, Mr. Miller seems to acknowledge some of the challenges facing APEGGA. However,the ones he mentions, he downplays. I hope that is just politics and he truly wishes to make an effort for change.

The key issue he did not mention is that manymembers sees little or no value to APEGGA. Council does little or nothing productive for the members, they believe. Or, as with R.P.T.s or continuing professional development, APEGGA forces members to accept others’ wishes.

Council is not accountable enough to members for its actions or impositions. The founding principle of “self-governance” is, I believe, ignored. This is the issue Mr. Miller needs to face.

Dave Kachorowski, P.Eng.

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