March 2001

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Members Vote On President's Honorarium

A mail-in vote is the best way to gauge whether members favour an honorarium for future APEGGA presidents, Council decided Feb. 8. The honorarium question is too important to decide at April's Annual General Meeting without first seeking a yes or no from the membership, said Council.

Council received correspondence for and against, and also heard from the Honorarium Task Force, which was charged with seeking stakeholder input. The task force, made up of two past presidents, Dan Motyka, P.Eng., and Darrel Danyluk, P.Eng., met with other past presidents in Calgary and Edmonton late last year. The task force also held two public meetings in January, in Calgary and Edmonton. Meanwhile, public representatives on Council came up with a recommendation for how much the honorarium should be worth, which Council reviewed and adjusted for the information package going out to members.

Council heard that other professional groups pay their presidents, and that the workload and time away from regular work are substantial. Mr. Motyka said an honorarium would help compensate presidents or their employers for the 40 to 50 per cent of work hours they're away. Younger members might then be more willing to run for president. So might geoscientists, who are often part of small practices that can't afford to lose people without compensation.

But several councillors questioned the need for an honorarium. APEGGA has a history of attracting quality presidents and the job carries honour and prestige that add sparkle to a resume, they said. As well, the sacrifice means that only members with enough experience for the job can afford to let their names stand. And volunteers -- who almost double the dollar value of the APEGGA budget -- may be less inclined to help out if the president is paid.
Members will be asked in the mail-in ballot whether they are for or against Bylaw 13.1: "An Honorarium shall be paid to the President or the President's nominee in an amount and under such conditions as may be determined by Council from time to time." Ballots are in the mail now and polling closes April 7. Council asked that the package include an objective list of pros and cons, as well as a range of what the annual compensation would be.

APEGGA Pilots Online Learning

Members will be able to log on to their computers for professional development, if a new initiative succeeds. APEGGA is positioning itself at the forefront of online education, with Council's decision to put up to $50,000 into a two-year pilot of PEGGasus, the Engineering and Earth Science Online Learning Marketplace.

Len Shrimpton, P.Eng., APEGGA's director of professional development, said the goal is to develop a centre of excellence in online learning. "This would be the site of first choice for professional development opportunities," Mr. Shrimpton told Council.

Although the final budget isn't set, the estimated cost is $428,000, which would be met by a consortium of APEGGA, the federal and provincial governments, the Van Horne Institute, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and Athabasca University. If the pilot succeeds, APEGGA -- which is the signatory on the application to the federal government -- becomes the ongoing manager of PEGGasus. The service would be financially self-sufficient after the two-year test run.

"We are not aware of another site like this dedicated to the professions," Mr. Shrimpton said in his report to Council. "APEGGA again has an opportunity to show leadership in the professions across Canada and to build value here." The idea could easily spread to other professions, Mr. Shrimpton suggested.

Work Continues On Petroleum Evaluation and Reporting

The specifics of how APEGGA will involve itself in the regulation of petroleum evaluations remain to be set. The Practice Review Board recommended to Council that the Board conduct an inquiry into the practice of the professions in oil and gas reserves evaluation and reporting.

In response, Council asked to the Board to provide details on the scope and the budget of such an inquiry. The Practice Standards Committee had previously been requested to work on developing standards and guidelines cooperatively with the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers, the Alberta Securities Commission and other organizations.

The guidelines would form the basis of APEGGA's expectations for the practice of the professions.

More Member Mobility Coming

Canadian geoscientists are on the cusp of finalizing an agreement that would give them the same kind of mobility engineers have enjoyed since June 1999. Council approved the draft of a mobility agreement created by the Canadian Council of Professional Geoscientists, and also authorized the president and the executive director to sign it on behalf of APEGGA, once revisions are formalized.

The draft is going before all the CCPG constituent associations which have the legal authority to license geoscientists, geologists and geophysicists in Canada. Those are APEGGA and sister associations in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories.

If passed, the agreement will give licensed geoscientists a standard procedure for being accepted as professionals in other Canadian jurisdictions. Basically, the professionals will be accepted without any extra requirements if they are in good standing with their home associations, haven't been disciplined in the past, and have no disciplinary action pending. A notwithstanding clause, however, allows a host association to review the qualifications of any applicant, then reject the applicant or assign admission requirements.

Coun. Elaine Honsberger, P.Geoph., praised the new agreement. "This will be of great benefit to the geologists and geophysicists of Canada," said Ms. Honsberger, who sat on the Geoscience Task Force.

One of the differences between the geoscience agreement and the one for engineers is the number of jurisdictions. Geoscientists don't have professional licensing bodies in the Yukon, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Engineers are licensed by their own associations except in Canada's newest territory, Nunavet, which is covered by the NWT association.

Mobility agreements in Canada are one thing. Across the border they are quite another. State-to-state mobility doesn't exist yet in the U.S., where requirements vary significantly. Yet APEGGA Executive Director Neil Windsor, P.Eng., and the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers have already started working with the U.S. with an eye for future trans-border agreements.

APEGGA has invited U.S. representatives to a mobility forum in Calgary on April 28, during the Annual General Conference.

Importance of Professional Development
Goes Before Annual General Meeting

Members at the Annual General Meeting will be asked whether they want the provincial government to allow APEGGA to cancel the registrations of members who don't comply with professional development requirements. If the April 27 motion succeeds, APEGGA will ask the government to allow the cancellations on 30 days written notice.

Council decided at its February meeting to ask the membership to seek a change to Part 2 of the General Regulation of the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act. Members served with the notice will be able to stop the de-registration by complying with the requirements in the notice.

The move comes out of a motion in November that non-compliant members be "subject to an administrative process similar to that which is currently used to address non-payment of fees. . ." The motion instructed Council's Acts, Regulations and Bylaws Committee to come up with changes that establish cancellation as "the ultimate sanction" for non-compliance.

Council Approves Summit Awards

Council approved a list of winners of the Summit Awards, which will be presented during a gala reception and dinner on April 26 in Calgary. Winners were named for the Centennial Leadership Award, the L.C. Charlesworth Award, the Frank Spragins Technical Service Award, the Community Service Award, the Project Achievement Award, the Excellence in Education Award, the Early Accomplishment Award, and the Environmental Excellence Award. An honorary life membership will also be presented. Nominees for the CCPE Awards were also approved, in five categories.

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