New Categories Prepared
Council Takes Inclusivity Measures to the 2004 AGM


Alberta and the rest of the world are generating a new array of scientific disciplines, and many of them involve elements of engineering and geoscience. APEGGA, therefore, needs new types of licensure to extend its protection of the public into currently unregulated areas.

The Association also needs to do its part to give foreign-trained professionals their best possible chance in a new land. One of the stumbling blocks has been the requirement of a year of Canadian or equivalent North American experience before licensure.

The APEGGA Annual General Meeting will be asked to approve two new categories of registration.

Provisional Engineer, Provisional Geologist, Provisional Geophysicist

Provisional licensees will already have met the academic, character, English language, and knowledge of law and ethics requirements for registration.

What they will lack is one year of equivalent North American experience

What will the new category accomplish?

Provisional Licensees will have the designation for two years, allowing them to gain the one year of experience needed to become a professional member. They will not stamp their work during this period and will practice under the supervision of a licensed professional.

Registered Engineer, Registered Geologist, Registered Geophysicist

Registered members will meet the experience, character, English language, and knowledge of law and ethics requirements for registration.
What they will lack is the academic requirement in an accredited engineering or geoscience program. They will, however, have university or equivalent degrees within their defined scopes.

What will the new category accomplish?

These categories will allow APEGGA to protect the public through the self-regulation of emerging disciplines and other practices that don’t currently qualify for licensure.

Want to learn more?

Town hall meetings will be held in Calgary on March 23 and Edmonton on March 24. See the notice on Page 5 of the PEGG for further details.

These are the underpinnings of two new licence categories that will come before members at the APEGGA Annual General Meeting, April 24 in Edmonton. Council, Council committees and Association staff have worked hard for the last year to devise changes to the EGGP Act, Regulations and Bylaws for the new categories, said APEGGA Executive Director & Registrar Neil Windsor, P.Eng.

“Our members have a lot of questions about this categories and the entire thrust we call inclusivity,” said Mr. Windsor. “We certainly respect that – this represents a paradigm change in how we look at who we should be licensing and why, there’s no doubt about it, and members will naturally have questions.

“Some members might think, however, that we haven’t carefully considered the implications of what we hope to do. I can assure them that Council has looked at the categories thoroughly.

“What members see now is the result of a year of debate, soul-searching and refining, positioning us to greatly reduce the amount of unregulated practice of engineering and geoscience in Alberta. Simply put, certain practitioners who are presently practicing engineering or geoscience will be provided with a means whereby they can be licensed to do what they are qualified to do by virtue of their education and experience.”

Members will be asked to vote in favour of the titles Registered Engineer, Registered Geologist and Registered Geophysicist for university-educated practitioners of individually approved and defined scopes. These are practitioners who either have degrees in areas other than engineering and geoscience, or from engineering and geoscience programs not accredited for full professional licensure.

APEGGA’s leadership will also seek approval for a category for Provisional Engineers, Provisional Geologists and Provisional Geophysicists, for foreign-trained professionals who meet all the academic and experience requirements to qualify for full membership except the one year of Canadian experience. The proposed provisional license will allow them to find gainful employment and practice under the supervision of a licensed professional while they meet the Canadian experience requirements.

Once approved by the AGM, the proposed changes will be presented to the provincial government for approval.

Staff and Council will address concerns at town-hall-style meetings in Calgary on March 23 and Edmonton on March 24. “We welcome the opportunity to answer members’ questions,” said APEGGA President Mike Smyth, P.Eng. “We believe in inclusivity, and believe members will too when they hear what we have to say about the real benefits it brings.”

Inclusivity has been the major thrust of Mr. Smyth’s presidency. His column in The PEGG has addressed the issue over the past year. This month, Mr. Smyth looks at the inclusivity questions arising as he tours Alberta to meet with members at the branch level. See President’s Notebook.

“In some ways, these are profound changes, and I’m thrilled that members are asking the right questions,” Mr. Smyth said. “But in another sense, these changes aren’t radical. The fundamentals of what APEGGA does are not changing one bit. We are simply proposing to license qualified individuals to legally do what they are already doing today.

“We protect the public by licensing the practice of engineering and geoscience. Under these new categories, we will do a better job of that, without lowering our standards at all.

“Look at what doesn’t change. All members will still be bound by our Code of Ethics and subject to our investigative, discipline and continuing professional development requirements. All members will still be required to practice within the scope defined by their experience and education.

“And all members must be approved for licensure by our Board of Examiners, whose job it is to ensure, as it always has been, that our standards of licensure are kept at a high level. The board has done a great job up until now and I see no reason why that won’t continue. We’re lengthening the standards bar – not lowering it.”

As chair of the Inclusivity Task Force, President-Elect Linda Van Gastel, P.Eng., has also spent much of the last year dealing with inclusivity. “Take the area of tissue bio-engineering. Someone could obviously be trained in that kind of work, but the syllabus may not be recognized yet,” she says.

“For that particular area, and many others, certainly the public is better protected if we can include them in our profession. I think the same applies to internationally trained engineers.”

Inclusivity will serve to meet the needs of a number of areas of practice without lowering the bar and without impacting on the practice of full professional members.

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