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
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
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.