Terri-Jane Yuzda

EGGP Act Regulation Changes
Help APEGGA Meet Challenges

The Alberta Government has given APEGGA's role as a Canadian leader in professional self-regulation an important vote of confidence. A series of regulation changes and a new regulation under the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act (EGGP Act) received Cabinet approval Feb. 25, giving the Association additional tools in its quest to improve professionalism while becoming more inclusive and more efficient in the registration of members.

APEGGA Executive Director and Registrar Neil Windsor, P.Eng., welcomed the regulation changes, saying they will allow the Association to meet many of the challenges that lie ahead. He said: "APEGGA members have approved these changes at Annual General Meetings over the past several years, and the changes have finally found their way through the government system as a block, designed to make APEGGA more efficient and effective."

A new regulation, made in accordance with 1999 changes to the EGGP Act, will provide highly qualified geoscience technologists with a mechanism to become licensed by APEGGA. The two new categories of licensure are the registered professional technologist designations of R.P.T.(Geol.) and R.P.T.(Geoph.)

An R.P.T.(Eng.) designation already exists, and in just more than two years about 80 engineering technologists have proven they meet APEGGA's standards for the designation.

Mr. Windsor emphasized that technologists registered under the new designations will practice in specific, well-defined and limited scopes, just as the R.P.T.(Eng.) members do now. They'll have to meet strict licensure criteria, including experience and time working under a professional member.

"This recognizes the skill levels that certain technologists possess and the fact that, in many cases, these skills are currently being applied by these technologists under the supervision of a professional member," Mr. Windsor said. "The new regulation will allow them to practice independently within their defined scope of practice and accept responsibility for their work. Being inclusive of people who possess the necessary skills is improving efficiency without compromising public safety in any way."

APEGGA needs to position itself for new disciplines in anticipation of the changes in traditional professional roles new technology is bringing. "The R.P.T. designations could prove to be the first step towards inclusiveness of these new practitioners, an important issue both for professional associations across Canada and for governments," said Mr. Windsor.

In addition to the new designations, the revisions include a number of other refinements and steps forward. Among the more significant improvements are provisions for the quick and efficient registration of professional members in good standing of sister Canadian associations.

"For many of our professional members, and especially for geoscientists, mobility is a very important issue and one that Council has given some priority to during the past four years," Mr. Windsor said. "National mobility agreements have greatly improved mobility across Canada, however efforts are underway to establish a form of national registration that will provide even greater mobility."

The provincial Cabinet has also underlined the importance of APEGGA's Continuing Professional Development Program in maintaining high professional standards and protecting public safety. Provisions specify that APEGGA can cancel the membership of members who, after due notice, fail or refuse to provide the necessary documentation.

A new Code of Ethics, the result of extensive member consultation and volunteer committee work, reorganizes the code by putting the broad principles into the Act. Specific details are shifted to the APEGGA Ethical Practice Guideline, which Council recently approved.
This simplifies interpretation of the code and application to particular circumstances. Approval of the new code is the culmination of years of work by a large number of volunteers under the chairmanship of Charles Weir, P.Eng. "All those who participated in this huge undertaking are to be congratulated and given our thanks for their dedication to this task," said Mr. Windsor.

The regulation changes also give effect to the recognition of the First Vice-President as President-Elect, a change approved by the 2002 Annual General Meeting. This provides greater continuity and assurance that the person assuming APEGGA's highest office has been fully prepared for the job ahead.

Said Mr. Windsor: "The job of President has become more demanding in recent years, taking a large percentage of the President's time and demanding knowledge of a wide range of important issues. Adequate lead time to properly prepare for these responsibilities is appropriate and necessary to ensure continued good leadership at the top."

Further information on the regulation changes appear in Council Briefs on Page 5 of this month's PEGG. Also, the revised EGGP Act will appear online at www.apegga.org when it becomes available.


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