APEGGA AGM Will Address Catch-22
for Newly Arrived Practitioners

Editor’s Note: Following is a report on the most recent APEGGA Council meeting, held Feb. 5 in APEGGA’s Calgary Conference Centre.

This spring’s Annual General Meeting could help eliminate an employment Catch 22 for many foreign-trained practitioners of engineering and geoscience. The way it works right now, some of these practitioners need a licence to earn a living – but they also need a living to earn a licence, because of the requirement for one year of Canadian or equivalent North American experience.

Council hopes new designations of Provisional Engineer, Provisional Geologist and Provisional Geophysicist will change that, with APEGGA doing its part to smoothen the integration of foreign-trained professionals into Alberta’s workforce without lowering public protection standards.

The AGM will also be asked to approve a second new category, this one to help the Association improve public protection by reaching out to more of the narrow, defined scopes that already exist. Because certain university-educated practitioners have no current APEGGA categories to regulate them, Council wants to add the categories of Registered Engineer, Registered Geologist and Registered Geophysicist.

The AGM takes place April 24 in the Westin Hotel in Edmonton at 8:30 a.m.

Some question still remained at Council about which changes should fall under regulations of the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act and which under the EGGP Act itself. After being passed by the AGM, regulation changes require the approval of the cabinet of the Alberta Government. Act amendments, however, require the approval of the Legislative Assembly.

Either way, Council has endorsed the new categories as major components of its inclusivity thrust, which came out of strategy sessions last May.

Provisional licensees would have to work under the supervision of someone fully licensed by APEGGA in, at the minimum, the appropriate scope of practice. They wouldn’t have voting or stamping rights, but they would have access to member benefits. The licence would be valid for two years and would be available to practitioners who qualify for licensure in every respect but experience. Licensees would have to be legally entitled to work in Canada.

The blending of disciplines and the emergence of entirely new ones are behind the creation of the new registered categories. Some applied scientists with university degrees – but not formally educated in engineering or geoscience – are already practicing the professions without a licence. It’s not uncommon, for example, for a chemist and a chemical engineer to work side-by-side, doing the same type of work.

APEGGA believes the public will be better served if these scientists are licensed in their narrow, defined scopes of practice, rather than left unregulated. As licensed members, they would have to abide by APEGGA’s Code of Ethics, meet its professional development requirements, and be subject to its investigation and discipline processes.

The PEGG will publish a full-page notice next month, explaining each of the act and regulation changes going to the AGM.

Illegal Title Use Addressed

APEGGA is about to decide how the EGGP Act should be strengthened to give its professional titles greater protection from illegal use by non-members. Council hopes to approve changes in time to bring them to the Annual General Meeting, after receiving approval by a special Council meeting in March.

The move comes out of a court decision last November. The Appeal Court of Alberta dismissed an APEGGA application for an injunction to stop an Edmonton man from calling himself a “System Engineer” and “System Engineer Representative” in his information technology business.

Financials Approved

Council approved APEGGA’s audited financial statements, which show a minor deficit on 2003 operations. Expenses came in at $8,883,739 and revenues at $8,786,776, for a difference of $96,963. Council had budgeted for a slightly higher deficit of $189,000.

Most of APEGGA’s revenue comes from dues, with a 2003 figure of more than $6.2 million. The biggest expense is staff and benefits, at more than $3.3 million in 2003.

Full financial statements will be published in the April edition of The PEGG and in the 2004 APEGGA Annual Report.

Environmental Guideline Finalized

APEGGA members should strive to influence the practice of engineering and geoscience in an environmentally responsible direction. That’s the philosophy behind the updated Guideline for Environmental Practice, approved by Council for publication. In fact amplifications and commentaries under the nine guidelines within the document explain how members should put that philosophy into action.

The guideline is a revision of the 1994 document Environmental Practice – A Guideline. The new version recognizes changes in environmental standards and practices in Alberta, including those relating to sustainability and climate change.

“The purpose of this document is to inform, provide guidance and encourage members and permit-holders to be proactive in the protection and stewardship of the environment,” says an Environment Committee report to Council.

APEGGA Supports Centennial Celebrations

APEGGA has come through with $50,000 to help Alberta celebrate its 100th birthday. Council approved $25,000 this year and $25,000 next year for Innovation 2005, which will mark the centennial with a public awareness program on science and technology.

The multi-faceted project will salute the people behind a century of innovation in Alberta. It’s the result of meetings dating from March 2001, bringing together more than 30 representatives of Alberta’s leading science, engineering, technology, innovation and educational organizations. APEGGA Executive Director & Registrar Neil Windsor, P.Eng., is a key member of the project’s steering committee.

Innovation 2005 will feature video clips, media interviews, speaking events, a website and more. It will involve partnerships with media outlets, as well as the other science related associations, private enterprise and government.

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