The following news items were gathered from the last
APEGGA Council meeting, held Nov. 25 in Calgary. The next
meeting is Feb. 3 at the D.A. Lindberg Conference Centre in APEGGA's Edmonton
APEGGA dues and fees will remain the same while membership growth
covers the costs of new programs and increases in expenses, Council decided in
approving a 2005 budget. Dues of $225 per member, unchanged since 2002, will
account for about $7.23 million of APEGGA's revenue, the budget forecasts, up
from the projected $6.88 million for 2004.
“The Finance Committee is presenting what it considers to be
a good news budget,” says the committee's report to Council. “Members
will not be asked for a dues increase and the Association will still be able
to implement some new initiatives.”
The news comes at a time when APEGGA continues to consult with members
about possible new areas of membership. The Association is also beefing up the
collection and reporting of performance information, as called for in a financial
management audit and a revised business plan. And APEGGA is developing a new
strategic planning process, which will further guide the Association in conducting
Among other 2005 initiatives are:
• Electronic voting
• An emphasis on improving the transition into the workforce
of internationally educated graduates, which is an outcome of the national From
Consideration to Integration report
• New accounting and member management software
• Four new staff positions — a manager of executive
and external liaison, a graphic designer, a half-time data base admini-strator,
and, at mid-year, a registration processing support person.
Among 2005 savings and new efficiencies are a reduction in Edmonton
offices rent, lowered contract graphic design costs (partially offsetting the
cost of a new staff position), and the re-evaluation of several staff positions.
Dues, permit fees, program revenue and other sources add up to an estimated 4.4
per cent increase in revenue, to more than $10 million. The budget is essentially
balanced, predicting a small operating surplus of $5,000. Council heard that
APEGGA will have to make up a staff pension fund shortfall, tentatively estimated
at $110,000 for each of the 2005, 2006 and 2007 budget years. The extra contribution
could increase, management warned Council. The staff contribution of four per
cent of salary will increase to five per cent of salary this year.
Council Calls for
Tightened financial control, improved financial reporting and more
management accountability for financial performance are coming to APEGGA, Council
decided in approving eight Finance Committee recommendations. The result of a
contracted-out financial management audit, the directions to staff include:
• Develop position descriptions for all management personnel
• Develop a policies and procedures manual covering all
• Improve budgeting in areas identified by the auditor
as ones with heavier spending than similar non-profit bodies
• Improve briefings to the Finance Committee, and improve
financial reports and financial statements
• Make directors and managers more accountable for operating
results and their relation to budget
• Improve cash flow projections and monitoring.
Two governance issues were also endorsed — that the
finance committee adopt a policy on acceptable types of investment, and that
Council or at least the Finance Committee receive more financial training.
Council is also pondering changes to its governance model, designed
to improve auditing.
Council has bid farewell to two of its own. In the closing months
of the 2004-2005 term, Past President Mike Smyth, P.Eng., has stepped down, and
longtime Public Member Hugh Planche has attended his last meeting.
Mr. Smyth, who ran unsuccessfully in the provincial election for a
Tory MLA seat to represent Calgary-Varsity Nov. 22, will turn his attention to
his career. But he has no regrets about the time he spent volunteering for APEGGA.
“My choice to become involved with APEGGA has been one of the
best ones of my life,” said Mr. Smyth, who was APEGGA's 84th president.
Including Council and committee work, he volunteered for APEGGA for about 17
“APEGGA has been a big part of our (his and wife Cindy's) lives,
and I'm going to miss it immensely,” Mr. Smyth said.
Past President is an official position on the Executive Committee.
It will now remain open until filled by Linda Van Gastel, P.Eng., at the end
of her presidency in April.
Mr. Planche, the Alberta Minister of Economic Development
from 1979 to 1986, said: “It's been a delight to be here.” APEGGA
is great example of what self-government of the professions can achieve, he said,
and he urged APEGGA to be a scientific voice in public policy.
Although Mr. Planche technically has one more meeting before
his term expires, the six-year member won't be attending in February. “I
think I've said everything I can possible say on every issue, and it's time for
There is one sitting public member — Dr. Larry Ohlhauser,
whose term expires in March 2006. In February Council will look at a list of
potential public members, which will be forwarded to the Minister of Human Resources
Pension Plan Rejected
APEGGA's employee pension plan might end up being tweaked,
but a full-scale “defined
contribution” plan allowing staff to take more risks was rejected by Council.
There's no demand for defined contributions from staff, the pool of participants
is too small for it to be administered cost efficiently, and it would even expose
APEGGA to legal action if staff investments result in losses instead of gains,
Instead, APEGGA will stay with a defined benefit system. That means
staff get a prescribed pension when they retire and don't control their own portfolios.
However, Council did approve allowing “optional ancillary contributions,” if
a pre-poll finds 10 or more staff are interested. The system would allow staff
to buy more benefits by making larger contributions.
Council also decided that the required staff contribution will increase
to five per cent of salary from four per cent, as the Association continues to
adjust the fund to make up for a performance drop over the past several years.
Joins Member Services
An education fund provider has joined the APEGGA list of approved
Member Services, meeting a 14-point set of guidelines to earn an Association
endorsement. APEGGA members will pay a competitive membership or enrolment fee
of $100 for each unit in the Heritage Education Funds Group Registered Education
Savings Plan, and also receive a $50 gift certificate — redeemable at Future
Shop, Chapters or the Bay — for each child enrolled.
For more information on Members Services, visit www.apegga.org/members/member_services.html.
Member Comments Invited On
Four APEGGA guidelines on rate structures and contracts will soon
become one, simplifying consultants' search for recommended procedures and practices
in the area. Council decided to make the draft Development of Contracting Rate
Structures and Guidelines available for review and comment by the membership
To view the guideline, visit www.apegga.org, and look for the guidelines
box in the centre of the home page.
The guideline replaces, consolidates and updates Engagement
and Payment of Consultants and Subconsultants — A Guideline, Consultant
Fees for General Engineering Assignments, Consultant Fees for Geotechnical and
Materials Engineering Assignments, and Consultant Fees for Geological and Geophysical
Meanwhile, the Guideline for Advertising of Professional Services
is under Council review, with an eye for approval for publication at the next
meeting. The guideline, which replaces Advertising of Professional Services — A
Guideline, has already been reviewed by the membership.