Terri-Jane Yuzda


Inclusivity – What Does it Mean to Me?


APEGGA President

My friend Leo Flaman, P.Eng., is licensed in more jurisdictions around the world than anybody I know. I am in awe of his motivation and of his experience in so many parts of the world.

He is also a volunteer with APEGGA, serving on the Investigative Committee for many years.

Leo’s son Mark appears to be following in his father’s footsteps. Mark also works in the engineering field and is currently on assignment in Russia, working out of Calgary for APEGGA permit holder Hinz Automation.

Mark would like to register with APEGGA, and with his father’s example to follow, believes that he should be registered with APEGGA to practice his profession in Alberta. The sad truth is, however, that the way things are now it is not very likely he will get registered with APEGGA.

Mark has an undergraduate degree in computer science and works in software engineering as an automation systems integrator. As things stand now, he is a square peg in a round hole. He just does not fit the standard mould.

What We’re Doing About It
By now you have likely heard the word inclusivity. What does it mean? If you are reading this in The PEGG, you are most likely a member of APEGGA already, and inclusivity will not affect you in any way.

If you are interested to see how it will have a major impact on the lives of many people who are not currently members of APEGGA, and will improve the protection of the public safety and well-being here in Alberta, read on.

APEGGA licenses qualified, responsible people to practice our professions. The standard route to licensure for the vast majority of our members is to graduate from an accredited Canadian university program, gain four years of professional experience, and write the professional practice exam.

Members of our Board of Examiners take their role very seriously, as we would expect them to, and they set the bar very high in order to protect the public.

But what if you do not fit the mould? What if you did not graduate from a Canadian university program in geoscience or engineering?

Perhaps you came from a foreign country to start a new life here in Alberta. Perhaps you took a non-standard route to an engineering career. For example, you may have taken an undergraduate degree in chemistry, physics, biology or agrology.

You may be in an emerging discipline like software engineering or bio-medical engineering, where the programs are just being started or there are no accredited programs.

Are you qualified? Are you responsible?

If you are practicing one of our professions, you must be licensed. Under our current system, if you do not fit the standard mould, you will have a very difficult time getting registered with APEGGA.

Sure, the examination route is a possibility, but the sad fact is that only about five people each year have the stamina to complete the exams we assign.

Another Real-life Example
Another friend of mine immigrated to Calgary in 1982 from Poland. A mechanical engineer with a master’s degree from Gdansk University, he arrived just in time for the downturn in the economy caused by the NEP.

It was not an easy time. With a family to support, he worked in a factory, worked as a design draftsman, and moved to other cities in Canada to find work. Beating the odds, he has had a good career, and life, as an engineer for over 20 years.

He is not licensed by APEGGA but wants to be. He knows he should be. We will have difficulty registering him because he cannot get his records from his university in his homeland.

A year ago we asked the question of ourselves, “Do we need to be more inclusive in order to continue to protect the public safety and well-being?” The resounding and unanimous answer to that question, last spring at APEGGA’s strategy session, was “YES!”

Since then we have been working out the details of how to do it.

Changes Proposed
This spring at our AGM in Edmonton, we will propose changes to our act and regulations to allow the creation of a new category of membership within APEGGA. This category will require a university degree, but not in engineering. It will require four years of professional experience, and completion of the professional practice exam.

The people who register in this category will be subject to the APEGGA Code of Ethics, our discipline process, our continuing professional development requirements, and every other requirement of professional membership that all of us meet.

They will take responsibility for their own work, but they will also have restrictions. Similar to those in the R.P.T. (Registered Professional Technologist) category, which we have had for over five years, the people who register in this new category will have the restriction of practicing within a defined scope.

In other words, they must first tell us what they think they are qualified to do, and our Board of Examiners will determine if they do actually meet our requirement to be licensed within this new category.

The system works, and it has been proven over the past five years with the R.P.T. category.

It is fair. It is rigorous. It is about time.

Responsible, qualified people will be able to be licensed to practice their profession legally. We are not lowering the bar. We are lengthening the bar to include many people who up till now have not fit the standard mould.

Mark Flaman will now be able to follow in his father’s footsteps a little further and be licensed with APEGGA in his home jurisdiction. He has 12 more to go before he surpasses his father’s record, but he still has lots of time.

I wouldn’t bet against him.

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