Editor's Note: Following is a report on the most recent APEGGA
Council meeting, held Feb. 6 at the new Calgary Conference
Centre in the Association's new Calgary office. This was the
fourth meeting of five in the current Council year. The next
meeting is Thursday, April 24, again at the Calgary Conference
Two new categories of APEGGA licensure were on the cusp of
provincial approval when Council met, as well as a number
of other changes to the statute the Association operates under.
The Standing Policy Committee on Learning and Employment has
approved registered professional technologist designations
in geological and geophysical work. Unlike technologists with
the existing R.P.T.(Eng.) designation, R.P.T.(Geol.) and R.P.T.(Geoph.)
technologists will not be required to be registered with the
Alberta Society of Engineering Technologists.
In a report to the government committee, Executive Director
Neil Windsor, P.Eng., said: "APEGGA views this new category
of licensure as an innovative way to include persons not fully
qualified for full professional licensure but who, by their
education and experience under the supervision of a professional,
have attained a high level of skills within a specific area
Associations across Canada are watching APEGGA as "we
seek to find ways to include others who do not qualify for
full professional licensure, without lowering the standards
of public safety in any way," said Mr. Windsor.
Other changes to the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical
Professions Act are:
- Provisions to allow APEGGA to cancel the license of members
who, after due notice, fail or refuse to provide necessary
Continuing Professional Development Program documentation.
This gives the mandatory CPDP the power to deal with members
who refuse to comply.
- The replacement of first vice-president with president-elect.
Currently, the person nominated for president - by convention
the first vice-president - can be challenged at election
time. Because of the amount of preparation and transition
needed to become president, Council wanted to make sure
the successor is solidly in place a year in advance.
- Additional requirements for permit holders. Each permit
holder will need to put in place a professional management
plan and to have its responsible member attend a permit
to practice seminar once every five years, although Council
will be allowed to waive these two requirements in a particular
case if it decides doing so is appropriate. Also, each permit
holder will also be required to notify the registrar when
the responsible member changes or the firm no longer qualifies
for a permit.
- Removal of provision for a Council member to sit on the
Enforcement Review Committee. This is to eliminate the potential
for conflicts of interest when the ERC makes recommendations
- Replacement of the existing Code of Ethics with a new
one. This follows a broad consultation process to update
the code. Members approved the new code at the 2002 Annual
- Provisions allowing for the smooth and quick registration
of members already licensed with associations in other Canadians
provinces and territories. This applies to professionals
moving here from the other jurisdictions, providing they
are in good standing and have qualifications and standards
equivalent to APEGGA's. It allows the Board of Examiners
to delegate to the Registrar or his designate the authority
to issue a license to individuals who clearly meet all the
requirements, with formal approval of the Board to occur
at the next meeting.
Communication Plan Approved
A three-year communication plan is turning fresh data and
opinions into new strategies, but it will not force APEGGA
into new spending. Council retains the ultimate say on where
money is spent through the annual budgeting process, Council
heard while considering the APEGGA Three-Year Strategic Communication
Executive Director Neil Windsor, P.Eng., said: "This
is simply a strategy. Some of the items we will be able to
proceed with, but others we don't have the funds for right
now." For example, the Association will go ahead with
rebranding to make APEGGA more visible and its roles more
easily identifiable. A complete redesign of The PEGG, however,
is on hold, although staff is improving the publication edition
Council approved the communication plan with one new item.
On the recommendation of CCPE Director Dr. Fred Otto, P.Eng.,
the plan now recommends that APEGGA strive to increase member
awareness of national issues that affect engineers, geologists
The plan, which covers strategies into 2005, draws from an
independent communications audit and a stakeholder opinion
survey, both conducted last year. APEGGA has had a formal
communications strategy in place since 1990, with updating
and revamping in 1993 and 1998.
B.C. Merger Nears Referendum
APEGGA continues its western watch as two B.C. organizations
move closer to a one act, one association system. Legislation
could be in place by the spring of 2004 to merge B.C.'s engineering
and geoscience self-regulating association with the province's
engineering technology society, Council heard.
The players are the Association of Professional Engineers
and Geoscientists of British Columbia, or APEGBC, and the
Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C., or
ASTTBC. The proposal has considerable support within both
B.C. associations, and proponents anticipate that a referendum
in coming months will move the proposal forward.
If successful, the new B.C. system will give member technologists
and technicians some scope of practice to work independently
but will also make them subject to regulation and discipline
under the Act. Council is monitoring progress of the proposal
but has not indicated support for the project or any plan
to consider the same concept in Alberta.
The merger issue does, however, hint at the challenges APEGGA
faces when it looks ahead. There are calls for more inclusiveness
in the professions across the country, and recent years have
seen a blurring of many of the traditional boundaries between
technologies and disciplines. It all adds up to APEGGA remaining
open to new directions while it protects the public, serves
members and maintains high levels of professionalism.
APEGGA President Ron Tenove, P.Eng., said APEGGA could someday
represent a broad continuum of professions, which ladder up
to professional engineers, geologists and geophysicists. A
national issue is the placement of immigrants whose education
and experience don't always meet Canadian standards. A laddering
system would allow them to earn some professional status while
working within limited or defined scopes, Mr. Tenove said.
Videos Generate Ethics Discussions
What if a plant were expelling enough hot water that it appeared
to be increasing the temperature of a community's lake and
even killing fish? And what if one professional engineer pressured
another to save their employer money by not presenting a solution?
The characters and the scenario are fiction, but the ethical
dilemmas they bring to life are exactly the kind students
could face in the real world. Council watched one of a series
of three videos that dramatize fundamental ethical questions
as teaching aids for universities.
The idea, said Professional Development Director Len Shrimpton,
P.Eng., is to give instructors the tools to generate discussion.
The videos' creators wanted meaningful vignettes with good
production values, he said.
APEGGA and Professional Engineers Ontario each put $45,000
into the project, and the Association of Professional Engineers
and Geoscientists of Manitoba added another $5,000. The result
is a learning module that's appropriate for students across
Canada but is also available for use by members-in-training
The videos don't present easy answers, Mr. Shrimpton said.
Instead, they allow for open-ended, guided discussions.
Online Learning Support Continues
An online learning marketplace dubbed PEGGasus may yet take
flight, even though $200,000 in provincial funding that the
project team originally hoped for didn't come through. Council
agreed to keep APEGGA funding of $25,000 in place for 2004
as the project team attempts to launch a two-year pilot.
After Council's original approval in February 2001, the project
team focused on securing money. But progress stalled after
the province and another major donor declined to participate.
The federal government at first committed $200,000, then reduced
the figure to $170,000 because of the lack of progress. That
figure could shrink again unless the project moves along,
said Professional Development Director Len Shrimpton, P.Eng.
PEGGasus is a Web marketplace for use by members and professional
development providers. Users would be able to register, pay
for, evaluate and even take various courses, conferences and
seminars online. PEGGasus would provide access to other professional
development opportunities as well, on and off-line, ranging
from publications to PD lunches.
APEGGA is the lead organization in the project, which would
need about $331,000 in money for the two-year trial, as well
as $225,000 worth of gifts in kind. The project remains about
$112,000 short on the cash side.
In addition to APEGGA, partners so far are the University
of Alberta, Human Resources Development Canada, the National
Research Council, Terra Prime Development (the software developer)
and several industry supporters. APEGGA so far has spent less
than $2,000 on the project.
If the project catches on, it may spread to include other
associations and a wide variety of professional development
providers and opportunities. Because the concept is untried,
however, it's difficult to predict whether PEGGasus will meet
a market need. "Unless we build it, we don't know what
kind of market we're dealing with," Mr. Shrimpton said.
Code of Ethics Work Lauded
Council praised the Practice Standards Committee and several
of its subcommittees for a thorough job in revising APEGGA's
Code of Ethics and the ethical practice guideline that stems
from it. "This involved a huge amount of work over an
extended period of time," noted Coun. Andy Gilliland,
P.Eng., during a discussion leading to the guideline's approval.
Added President Ron Tenove, P.Eng., "This process has
seen a long life and the result is very good."
At the time of the Council meeting, Alberta Legislature passage
of a new Code of Ethics was imminent, as part of a number
of amendments to the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical
Professions Act. Council passed the new code in February 2000,
and members approved it at the APEGGA Annual General Meeting
of April 28, 2000.
Council Calls on Executive Committee
To Implement Drinking Water Position
APEGGA's Executive Committee will present a new position
paper on drinking water quality to the provincial government
and take other steps to implement the position as the committee
sees fit, Council decided. The paper acknowledges that Alberta's
standards are high and that its regulations for municipal
drinking water "provide a comprehensive program for ensuring
safe and publicly acceptable water supply systems."
However, the position paper says more and better monitoring
and reporting are needed within the systems to make sure regulations
are met and standards maintained. All facilities delivering
and producing drinking water in the province should meet Alberta
Environment design and quality standards, the paper says.
And the role of APEGGA professionals in building, operating
and improving water systems should increase.
The third draft of the paper went before Council in November,
when Council called for an addition. The new item in the final
draft names protecting drinking water sources as one of eight
major roles for APEGGA professionals.