BY GEORGE LEE
In the wake of town hall meetings and vocal opposition, Council
unanimously reaffirmed APEGGA’s commitment to the controversial
idea of a new category of defined-scope licensure, April 23.
However, the inclusivity initiative will not move to the Alberta
Government for legislative changes unless a mail-in ballot
of eligible members gives the Association the go-ahead.
In fact, Council committed the Association to a consultation
and communication phase, and voiced a willingness to engage
members in debate on the proposed category. One thing that’s
already decided is that the three title names will be different
from those proposed earlier and will not contain the words “engineer,
geologist or geophysicist.”
The new categories are for practitioners who don’t meet
the established academic qualifications for full professional
licensure. However, these are people who are already practicing
and they have a combination of academic and experiential background
that gives them the skills to work in a specific area of practice.
Although many of them are supervised by licensed members, that
isn’t always the case.
Specifically tailored scopes would be approved by the Board
of Examiners in a process similar to the one now used for registered
professional technologists. This would bring these practitioners
into the self-regulatory fold of APEGGA and make them subject
to the discipline process, the Code of Ethics and mandatory
Continuing Professional Development. It would also allow them
to work unsupervised, but only within their individual scopes
Council believes the new categories are clearly part of APEGGA’s
duty to the public. In fact, APEGGA’s role, as laid out
in the Mission Statement, is to regulate the practice of engineering,
geology and geophysics – regardless of what kind of degree
It’s clear that members don’t like the earlier
proposed titles Registered Engineer, Registered Geologist and
“The title issue is so hot that at our first town hall meeting
(in Calgary), at least half of the questions were from people
who were very, very concerned about the use of the word ‘engineering,’ ” said
Mike Smyth, P.Eng., in the last Council meeting of his presidential
term. The title was also discussed at length at the Council
table, he noted.
“Because we’d already moved away from the names, there
was a whole different level of questions at the second town
hall meeting (in Edmonton),” said Mr. Smyth. He fielded
member questions at both meetings, held in late March before
about 300 people combined.
Other than title, questions and concerns generally centered
Rationale. Why would APEGGA want the new categories and why
doesn’t it improve enforcement of the EGGP Act instead?
Qualifications. There’s a worry that unqualified or less-competent
people will be licensed, reducing the quality of professional
• Increased job competition.
• Communication and consultation. Members want more time and
more opportunity to comment.
Council maintains that the new category would not lower the
licensure bar. Rather, the bar would be extended for work in
specific scopes only, and would not give the new licence holders
the same broad approval to practice afforded a P.Eng., P.Geol.
or P.Geoph. The category recognizes persons who are practicing
the professions and brings them under the umbrella of a regulatory
However, the terms and conditions of the new category need
to be defined through consultation with key APEGGA members
and stakeholders. Additional discussion with the Board of Examiners
will also be required before the details can be finalized.
Council has asked APEGGA staff to prepare a consultation and
communications plan for approval at the June 24 meeting of
Several Canadian jurisdictions have categories of limited licensure,
similar to what APEGGA proposes. The Association will prepare
a comparison and analysis of the licenses to help guide Council.
The initiative received a strong endorsement from Gordon Sterling,
P.Eng., the outgoing president of the Canadian Council of Professional
Engineers. Mr. Sterling, in Edmonton for the APEGGA Annual
Conference, attended the meeting of APEGGA Council.
“This is the way to go. It’s the wave of the future, and
I compliment APEGGA for being a leader in this area,” said
the CCPE president.