Editor’s Note: Following is a report on the most recent
APEGGA Council meeting, held Nov. 27 at the D.A. Lindberg
Conference Centre at the APEGGA Edmonton offices. The next
Council meeting is Thursday, Feb. 5, at APEGGA’s Calgary
Conference Centre, starting at 8:30 a.m.
Council approved a “good news budget” with no
2004 increase in dues. Executive Director & Registrar
Neil Windsor, P.Eng., said the balanced budget is possible
primarily because of higher-than-estimated application and
membership growth in 2003.
APEGGA will carry forward a surplus of about $100,000 into
2004, rather than the shortfall of $189,000 projected in
the 2003 budget. That means an anticipated $10 increase per
member won’t be necessary after all, even though new
initiatives foreseen back in 2002 will still go ahead. Annual
dues remain at $225 per professional member.
Conservative revenue estimates in last year’s budget
were prudent, Mr. Windsor said, given the low performance
of market investments and an uncertain economy. Record membership
growth, however, continued in 2003, with APEGGA officially
welcoming its 40,000th member late in the year.
The 2004 budget forecasts revenue from dues of more than
$6.8 million. Dues revenue in 2003 topped $6.2 million.
Overall revenue – which, in addition to dues, includes
permit fees, registration fees, investment income and several
other sources – is estimated at $9.42 million in 2004.
That’s up about nine per cent from $8.63 million, the
latest estimate for 2003 revenue.
The budget anticipates some new spending and hiring, most
of it necessary to handle growth and the Association’s
efforts to become more inclusive by creating new types of
registration. APEGGA will hire an Assistant Director of Registration,
allowing the Director of Registration to concentrate on policy
and inclusivity, and allowing the department to better handle
increased registration volume.
Last May, Council directed APEGGA to improve its public protection
role through new registration categories. Many practitioners
in Alberta are practicing types of engineering and geoscience
that fall through the cracks, because they aren’t eligible
for registration in existing categories. APEGGA’s job,
under the Kananaskis Model of inclusivity, is to create more
categories for limited, defined scopes of practice, appropriate
to specific experience and education.
Once again, APEGGA faces an increase in the amount it puts
towards the employee pension plan, because poor market performance
has ended its so-called “contribution holiday.” This
year’s contribution is estimated at $375,000, up from
about $340,000 last year and $131,000 in 2002. The employee
contribution increases to four per cent of salary from three
per cent in 2003. Employees contributed two per cent in 2002.
EGGP Act Changes Needed
APEGGA must respond to a November courtroom loss by seeking
stronger wording in its governing provincial act, Council
decided. The Appeal Court of Alberta dismissed APEGGA’s
application for an injunction to stop an Edmonton man from
calling himself a “System Engineer” and “System
Engineer Representative” in his information technology
That means Raymond Merhej is allowed to continue using the
titles – even though he is not a professional engineer.
APEGGA argued that Mr. Merhej is in contravention of exclusive
right-to-title provisions in the Engineering, Geological
and Geophysical Professions Act.
The three justices of the appeal court, however, disagreed
and dismissed APEGGA’s appeal on Nov. 26. As of press
time their written decision, which will include their reasoning,
Executive Director Neil Windsor, P.Eng., called the decision “very
detrimental” to APEGGA’s role in protecting the
public. “Now, we have no choice but to have the EGGP
Act changed,” he said. The act needs to clarify right-to-title
provisions so that titles are fully protected for use only
by APEGGA professionals, and it needs to clarify APEGGA’s
legal authority to protect the public, Mr. Windsor said.
New Registration Category Coming
is creating a new category of registered practitioner, for
degree-holding members who aren’t eligible to
become professional engineers, professional geologists
or professional geophysicists. They’ll be allowed
to work within defined scopes, based on demonstrated areas
Council approved a statement of policy and requirements
for the new category of membership, brought forward by
Task Force. The task force’s job was to act on the
Kananaskis Model of inclusivity, designed to further protect
the public by bringing more engineering and geoscience practitioners
under the APEGGA umbrella.
Council called on staff to implement the new category and
put it before the 2004 APEGGA Annual General Meeting, April
24. Timelines are tight, however, because Council was unable
to agree on what the designations should be called. The task
force recommended Registered Engineer, Registered Geologist
and Registered Geophysicist.
Members registered under the new category will have at least
a four-year degree in engineering, geology, geophysics, science
or medicine, related to their defined scopes of practice
and from a college or university acceptable to APEGGA. They’ll
have to meet a number of other requirements for licensure
as well, much like professional engineers, geologists and
‘Bad Rap’ for Engineers
Cost overruns at massive oil-and-gas projects in Alberta
are a complex problem, and some proponents are unfairly making
engineers the scapegoats, APEGGA President Mike Smyth, P.Eng.,
said. “Big projects are getting big headlines about
big overruns, and they’re blaming bad engineering.
And personally, I think that’s a bad rap,” Mr.
Smyth told Council.
Mr. Smyth said construction costs and project management
problems are involved in the overruns more than engineering
costs are. Initial estimates by the builders themselves were
often too optimistic, and the sheer size of some of the projects
makes it difficult to budget accurately. “The engineering
profession is being unfairly picked on,” he said.
Members have a responsibility to report professional practice
violations they see on the job, Mr. Smyth noted. Yet those
generating the headlines aren’t pointing the finger
at any individuals. Instead, they’re “
playing politics” by tarnishing the profession, he
Member Services Guidelines Upheld
In September Council questioned the fairness of APEGGA’s
selection of service providers, while debating what company
should be the listed member service for a cellular phone
communications plan. Now Council has accepted a policy statement,
which underlines that staff selects providers based on guidelines
Council approved several years ago.
The Member Services Department uses a list of 14 guidelines
to make sure that providers are a proper APEGGA fit. A member
service must “maintain integrity and professional standing
in the community,” for example, and not detract from
professional image. It must be available to all members,
enhance the value of membership and not jeopardize APEGGA’s
Service providers want to be listed with APEGGA to reach
the Association’s 40,000 members. However, APEGGA does
not market on their behalf and does not provide them with
the Association data base. The list of member services is
available on-line and on request. Members receive a special
reduced rate when they buy listed services.
Bell Mobility is the lastest addition to the list, offering
a $29.70 monthly cell phone rate over two years or month-to-month.
The plan includes 200 free minutes, free monthly voice mail,
and long distance and other discounts.
Mentoring Handbook Approved
A new mentoring
handbook is ready for publication, Council decided. Strategies
for Success in Mentoring: A Handbook
for Mentors and Protégés comes out of two
years of work by the APEGGA Mentoring Committee.
The handbook replaces a guideline published in 2000. It’s
a more practical, hands-on document than the last one, and
it’s complemented by additional website material. Judith
Lentin, P.Geol., a member of the APEGGA Mentoring Committee,
wrote the 66-page handbook.
The committee reviewed many sources of mentoring best practices,
and also drew upon eight permit-holding companies with their
own mentoring programs.
The handbook will be part of a special, interactive mentoring
area on the APEGGA website. Watch the site and upcoming editions
of The PEGG for further information.
Permit to Practice Seminars Succeed
A blitz of APEGGA Permit to Practice Seminars began in September,
after they became mandatory under regulations in the Engineering,
Geological and Geophysical Professions Act. Each permit holding
company must have a responsible APEGGA member on staff, and
the seminars are designed to make sure these members know
what the job entails and how to carry it out.
Council heard that up to Nov. 7,531 responsible members and
chief operating officers had attended seminars. About 37
per cent of them filled out evaluation forms, usually with
something positive to say.
In fact 95 per cent supported the need for seminars and 94
per cent said the tone of the seminar’s delivery was
appropriate to the message, says a report from Ross Plecash,
P.Eng., Director Corporate & Member Affairs. Forty-nine
per cent said they believe the quality of their practices
will improve because of what they learned at the seminar.
None thought it would worsen.
Current policy is that the seminar should be attended within
six months of a new permit being issued. However, 54 per
cent of the respondents said that attendance should occur
before the permit is issued. Seventy-two per cent said credit
for attending should be carried from company to company,
when a responsible member takes a new position.
67 Members Write FE Exams
Fundamentals of Engineering exams on Canadian soil has proven
popular with APEGGA members, Council heard.
The first ever round of FE exams proctored by APEGGA had
55 members write in Edmonton and 12 in Calgary, said a
report from Dr. Milt Petruk, P.Eng., APEGGA’s staff
Last summer, APEGGA and the National Council of Examiners
for Engineers and Surveyors signed an agreement on the exams.
It allowed APEGGA staff to administer the FE exam on behalf
In the past Montana State Board representatives travelled
to Edmonton to administer the exam. In the 12 months before
October 2003, 52 APEGGA members wrote the exams that way.
The new arrangement doesn’t attach the exams to any
particular state board. Still, it’s the same FE exam
used by all the state boards in the U.S.
FE Exams are written every October and April. APEGGA will
administer another round in April of this year.
A member who successfully completes the FE exam has taken
the first step towards licensure in U.S. states. The NCEES
agreement is part of APEGGA’s initiative to make the
professions more mobile between the U.S. and Canada.