Terri-Jane Yuzda


Let's hear from you...

The PEGG welcomes letters as an avenue for members to express opinions and concerns on issues or topics of interest to the professions. Share your experiences with other members.

Mail to:1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 4A2, E-mail: glee@apegga.org or Fax: (780) 425-1722 your letters to the editor, signed with your name and address.

Of course we can't publish all letters received and can't run letters concerning specific registration matters before any APEGGA regulatory body. Do try and keep your letters to 300 words or less. Remember, The PEGG reserves the right to edit for length, legality, coherence and taste. Letters that don't appear in the print version of The PEGG will sometimes appear in the electronic version only.

Has APEGGA Lost its Way?

As I've followed the actions of APEGGA over the last two decades and considered how it started early in the last century, I can't help but wonder if this isn't an organization that's lost its way. Several examples of misguided behaviour exemplify a leadership that has lost touch with members and is now on a road to pursuing an organization for the sake of administration.

Take, for example, the new APEGGA offices in downtown Calgary. While boasting new conferencing facilities and more space in prime real estate territory, APEGGA tells us the cost is more than twice that of the old place.

Who exactly does APEGGA have to impress? There aren't any customers or clients to win over! Membership in APEGGA is mandatory if you want to use the professional designation - end of story.

Similarly in Edmonton, the offices are in a high-rise tower in prime real estate territory. Is this really a responsible use of member fees? Why couldn't a lower-cost, strip-mall-type space in a less expensive area do? The vast majority of members will never set foot inside APEGGA offices.

I see as well that APEGGA has full-time outreach coordinators to promote science and engineering. What does this have to do with administering professional designations? If private companies want to get together to push more engineers through colleges and ensure a supply of low-cost labour, they can organize and pay for it themselves.

In the March PEGG, I noticed APEGGA announced a new series of regulation changes, including adding more categories for technologists and recognizing the first president-elect. APEGGA specifically notes that "members have approved these changes at Annual General Meetings over the past several years."

Fewer than 200 people typically attend the Annual General Meeting, or only about .50 per cent. Is this really representative?

To make life even more difficult for members, we aren't told in advance what changes are going to be voted on at these meetings and have to pay our own travel costs. How does this serve the membership?

Looming on the horizon is the APEGGA Education Foundation's contemplation of a new mandatory donation for all members - in effect a new tax. We already have a voluntary process for the Education Foundation in which members can contribute as much as they like. Mandatory means that whether you can afford it or not you'll pay, or you'll be kicked out of the Association and lose your ability to practice.

Maybe it's time APEGGA considered changes that reflect the wishes of the mass membership it serves.

Merle Wilde, P.Eng.

Voting is Your Responsibility

Belonging to an association carries with it certain responsibilities and one of these is to participate in electing its leadership. In the case of APEGGA this means voting for members of the Executive and Council.

I ran in this year's election for Council, so I'm writing to express my personal thanks to the members who nominated me as a candidate. My sincere thanks also to the members who voted for me.

I'd also like to discuss, however, the low number of eligible voters who cast ballots. In the election just held, one in six eligible members cast ballots, which is just under 17 per cent. By any measure this is a very low percentage.

One needs to question the reason for the low voter response. One reason given for not voting is that the candidates are unknown to the voter.

Do we really, however, know candidates in other elections? Yet a higher percentage of people vote in those situations.

In the case of APEGGA, members are provided a background on the candidates and their views on certain issues.

What other reasons may there be for not voting? Is it lack of interest in the Association? Is the Association not relevant to members and do they belong only because of legislative requirements? Are the initiatives and activities of the Association not being adequately communicated, causing a disconnect with members? Or are there some other reasons?

Those who do not vote should carefully consider the impact of their non-involvement. Voting affords all members at least one way to participate in the Association with the least commitment of personal time.

Past Councils have served the Association and our professions well. Our Association would be perceived to be even stronger if it could point to higher member participation in elections.

Professional associations - and APEGGA is no exception - will face important challenges in the years to come. New disciplines are emerging, globalization is changing the work environment, public issues require substantive input and debate.

If most or at least a significantly higher number of APEGGA members vote, this would give Council members greater confidence that the decisions they make are based on a mandate received from a majority of members.

Members can support our professional association by attending APEGGA functions, volunteering for committees - and by voting in future elections.

Chrys. L. Dmytruk, P.Eng.


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