Editor's Note: Following
is a report of the most recent APEGGA Council meeting, held
Nov. 28 in the D. A. Lindbergh Conference Centre at APEGGA
head office in Edmonton. This was the third meeting in the
current Council year. Five meetings are held per year, in
Edmonton, Calgary and one of the branch communities. The next
meeting is Thursday, Feb. 6, at the new Calgary Conference
Centre in the Calgary APEGGA office.
The APEGGA Finance Committee received Council support to increase
member fees. APEGGA continues to have among the lowest member
fees in Canada, despite providing the greatest range of services
and legislative responsibilities for the fastest growing membership
in Canada. In 2002, APEGGA registration numbers increased
more than 2,000 or nearly eight per cent of membership.
Annual dues will increase $30 per professional member. In
addition to covering costs associated with the increased size
of membership, APEGGA is using the money to improve Calgary
office service, pay into the staff pension plan and react
to a number of other upward pressures in the areas of enforcement,
discipline and registration. Managers in all departments reduced
earlier proposals significantly to help minimize the impact
on dues, Council heard.
The increase is in line with what's happening in sister associations
across Canada. Other associations are generally looking at
annual increases in the five-to-10-per-cent range for the
foreseeable future unless they make severe program cuts.
Executive Director Neil Windsor, P.Eng., said few new initiatives
survived what was a "very thorough and really zero-based,
back-to-basics process." An improved business plan approved
in September also influenced the budget. The plan was changed
in 2001-2002 to provide increased measurement of the performance
of programs to budget and to Council policy directives. Further
reductions to departmental budgets would mean changes in policy
and cuts in the service levels members expect, Mr. Windsor
A significant component of the dues increase is the amount
APEGGA contributes to its employee pension fund. The fund's
earlier good health had allowed APEGGA to take, starting in
1988, an extended break from making contributions. A formal
valuation of the fund in August of this year, however, brought
to an end what accountants call a "contribution holiday."
The valuation found that the gap between assets and liabilities
is too small, given how volatile the market is and how much
pension payments are likely to grow. Employee contributions
will increase to three per cent of salary from two per cent.
The new Calgary office and conference centre, plus a new
geosciences manager position with support staff, also form
a significant portion of the fee increase. "It is long
overdue that APEGGA provide a greater presence and service
in Calgary where the majority of members, particularly geoscientists,
reside," says APEGGA President Ron Tenove, P.Eng.
Payments to the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers
increase by $2.40 per member, to help compensate for a major
revenue loss at the national level. Council approved the CCPE
payment increase in June.
Member dues will bring in $5.99 million of $8.425 million
in revenue needed to operate APEGGA in 2003.
New Management Structure Announced
Staff have begun phasing in a new APEGGA management structure
designed to streamline operations and spread responsibilities
more evenly among managers. Gone will be a line of stand-alone
departments, which had seven directors and the deputy registrar
reporting to the executive director.
Council heard that under the new design - which has no effect
on the 2003 budget - each of two senior directors will be
in charge of a major service unit. Those senior directors
will report to Executive Director Neil Windsor, P.Eng.
Essentially, the main day-to-day functions of APEGGA will
be divided into two areas: regulatory, comprising the work
that the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions
Act requires of APEGGA; and non-regulatory, comprising a wide
range of administrative, corporate and members services.
Communications will no longer be a separate department. The
new structure recognizes communications as an array of services
throughout the organization, directed at a wide range of audiences.
A manager of communications position replaces the public relations
manager position. But because its prime role will be external
communications, the new position will be part of the executive
Budget Restraint Affects Communications
A committee report recommends a series of new APEGGA communications
priorities and strategies, in the wake of a communications
audit and opinion surveys conducted in 2002. Budget restraint
and a new APEGGA management structure, however, mean that
many of the recommendations will be delayed or modified.
The Communications Planning Committee report, presented by
the committee chair, David Rumbold, P.Eng., synthesized audit
recommendations and survey results. The committee gave top
priority to an APEGGA rebranding, a process that would more
clearly define the image of the Association and its member
However, 2003 budget documents call for a low-cost approach.
Several spending recommendations that come out of the report
"will have to be drastically reduced, deferred or eliminated
due to the necessity of significant expense reductions."
Council passed a motion to receive the Communications Planning
Committee report. Council's agenda package also included a
draft of the APEGGA Three-Year Communications Plan, which
will be debated at the February meeting.
The Prime Minister Responds
Prime Minister Jean Chretien is committed to a workable plan
to meet Canada's Kyoto Protocol target - a plan that involves
consulting a cross-section of Canadians. That's what Mr. Chretien
says in an Oct. 15 response to a letter from APEGGA President
Ron Tenove, P.Eng. The APEGGA letter called for a careful,
measured approach and full national debate before Parliament
ratifies the accord.
"I share your desire to involve Canadians fully in the
process of finding workable implementation strategies,"
Mr. Chretien's letter says. "The government's goal is
to develop a workable plan for meeting our Kyoto target, working
in collaboration with provinces and territories, local authorities
The exchange of letters stems from a Sept. 13 Council request.
Council asked that Mr. Tenove send a letter requesting "no
decision on support of the Kyoto Protocol until Canadians
have real information on the content and impacts of ratification
and the opportunity to input to a coordinated national strategy."
In recent statements in the press, Mr. Chretien has promised
that Canada's plan won't put undue pressure on any regions
or sectors, and that Canada's economic well-being won't be
sacrificed. His letter to Mr. Tenove contains a similar commitment.
"I am confident that Canadians can work constructively
together to find innovative solutions to our climate change
challenges that are in the best interests of the country,"
says the letter. "We would like to continue to work with
you and other industry representatives towards our common
goal of protecting our environment and ensuring economic growth
for future generations."
Appointments and Recommendations
Council recommended three professional members to the board
of the APEGGA Education Foundation, and also appointed a member
to the Board of Examiners.
Recommended to the foundation board are Connie Parenteau,
P.Eng., Alice Payne, P.Geol., and Dr. Dave Devenny, P.Eng.,
P.Geol. Foundation bylaws require that Council must recommend
all its board members before appointment.
The foundation serves the professions by supporting education
in a number of ways, such as building endowments, encouraging
donations and distributing scholarships and awards.
Council appointed Dr. Mark Loewen, P.Eng., to the Board of
Examiners. Dr. Loewen, a professor at the University of Alberta,
has bachelor and master of science degrees, and a PhD in civil
engineering. His appointment, as an academic examiner in civil
engineering, lasts until June 30, 2005.
The Board of Examiners ensures that individuals approved for
registration in APEGGA meet standards for admission as defined
in the EGGP Act and its regulations.
Drinking Water Position
Alberta's standards are high and its regulations for municipal
drinking water "provide a comprehensive program for ensuring
safe and publicly acceptable water supply systems," says
a new APEGGA position. Still, more and better monitoring and
reporting are needed in the systems to make sure those regulations
are met and the standards maintained, the position says.
All facilities delivering and producing drinking water in
the province should meet Alberta Environment design and quality
standards. And the role of APEGGA professionals in building,
operating and improving water systems should increase.
Council called for one last tweak, but the third draft of
the APEGGA position on drinking water is close to the final
version. The Environment Committee drafted the six-page position
to give APEGGA's Executive Committee a starting point for
discussions with Alberta Government ministers.
Serious incidents of drinking water contamination in Walkerton,
Ont., North Battleford, Sask., and other Canadian locales
prompted APEGGA to develop the position.