Dues, Fees Remain
Unchanged in 2005 Budget

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 offices.  

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 its business.

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
Greater Accountability

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 financial matters

• 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.

Past President
Steps Down

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 years.

“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 a change.”

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 and Employment.

Defined Contribution
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, Council heard.

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.

Education Plan
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

Member Comments Invited On
Rates Guideline

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 at large.

To view the guideline, visit, 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 Assignments.

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.

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