BY RON TENOVE, P.ENG.
I am writing this issue en route to the AGM of the Canadian
Council of Professional Engineers, our national body. The
meetings serve to allow association/ordre presidents, executive
directors and the appointed directors to the CCPE Board to
discuss the relevance of the professions in Canada and actions
required to ensure the value of self-governance. The meetings
will be very timely considering APEGGA Council completed its
annual strategic planning retreat two weeks ago and the priorities
for the 2003 Business Plan are to be confirmed at the mid-June
Are you aware of APEGGA's strategic priorities? Adjustments
to the following list are being considered to prioritize attention
to working with emerging disciplines of technology practitioners
and the expressed desire of our membership to increase enforcement
and compliance with "right to title" and permit
1. Support and guide the work of CCPE and CCPG, our national
2. Remain self-governing professions
3. Enhance the value of APEGGA membership
4. Advance science and technology
5. Foster positive relationships with governments
6. Increase mobility of professionals
7. Facilitate differentiation of members and permit holders
from other technology practitioners
8. Enhance an advocacy role for the professions
Discussions at the retreat indicated raising the priority
of initiatives numbers two, three, seven and eight but maintaining
current levels of activity and success for remaining initiatives.
The specific actions will be further discussed at Council
meetings as the Business Plan and budget process evolves over
the next few months.
It is important to note that while the same needs are embodied
in the CCPE Strategic Plan, there is a varying level of priority
at the national level and within many of the provincial associations/
ordre, government and the public.
Surveys Will Help Us
APEGGA has two activities under way which should improve our
effectiveness in carrying out these fundamental strategies.
A communications survey is nearing completion and will allow
Council and staff to assess how we communicate to members,
permit holders and public audiences.
Communications expenditures comprise nearly one-third of
our budget and to reach these audiences we need to adjust
the mechanisms as technology and audience values change. I
expect there will be more to report in this regard by early
fall. As a footnote, the Council retreat included input by
two communications specialists who achieved giving new members
of Council tools and insight into providing immediate contributions
in their new role.
The APEGGA Advocacy Task Force is also carrying out a survey
to better understand members societal values and their desire
to speak collectively as a profession on topics of personal
and public concern. The outcomes of this activity will certainly
shape our communications program but, perhaps more importantly,
will consider how such a large voice (37,000 and growing)
can provide responsible and meaningful information or vision
to audiences who value our knowledge, professional conduct
and public welfare focus.
Enlightened Self Interest
In the previous issue, I attempted to instill some increase
in your desire to be the facilitators of creating more awareness
of the value of our professions as opposed to being somewhat
"invisible," as discussed in this space by my predecessor,
Dale Miller, P.Eng., now your past president.
How many of you took the initiative to have others read The
PEGG? I venture to guess very few, but maybe that was because
of the photo of yours truly on the cover. Although I suspect
my mother Chris made sure everyone she new saw The PEGG, also
a first for her. Try again with this issue!
I think the following excerpts from the April bulletin of
the Canadian Prairies Group of Chartered Engineers might accomplish
more than my words. Mark Whitby, president of the Institute
of Civil Engineers based in the United Kingdom, opened his
term of presidency with the goal of creating "a sense
of excitement and ownership among members" for the following
issues. He cited several examples of situations where the
public is directly impacted by the works of engineers and
, in exploring solutions to societal needs, how crucial our
role is to a positive outcome.
1. Is the voice of engineering being heard?
2. Are we central to understanding the risks (of engineering
solutions) and communicating them to government and the public
3. Do we demonstrate the wider vision of the roles engineering
(and geology / geophysics) can play in society?
He raises the question as to why we exist and what are we
trying to achieve as science and technolgy educators and practitioners.
"We communicate ideas and promote the true end of public
.but do we really understand how to balance
self-interest with sympathy for others (needs or situations).
He challenges members not to be silent. Mr. Whitby proposes
several crucial changes in actions of the Institute to be
effective in the business of visions as well as solutions.
Similar questions are at the core of the APEGGA Advocacy
Task Force deliberations. Central to our considerations in
Alberta, will be "striving to understand the balance
between collective apathy of the professions (do or say nothing
that draws attention) and being involved in multi-disciplinary
debates which call on our specialist knowledge in order to
contribute to a wider vision of the role our professions can
play in society".
In the pursuit of enlightened self-interest, I urge you to
try two new tasks this month:
1. CCPE and a recent presentation to the federal government
Human Reproduction which has awakened awareness in
the medical profession and government in our role in topics
of today's society, and (link to article here)
2. to read Mark Whiby's article at www.ice.org.uk/rtfpdf/Mwhitbyaddress.pdf.