The snow is gone now, hopefully till November
or December, and my tulips are finished too. A lot can happen
in a month, and this was a very busy month indeed. The annual
general meetings of the CCPG and CCPE, as well as APEGGA's
annual strategy session, are all behind us. Because it is
still fresh in my mind, let's start with most recent events
The Canadian Council of Professional Geoscientists held its
AGM in Vancouver on May 30-31. CCPG has agreed in principle
to provide reciprocal associate membership in CCPG to ASBOG,
which is the Association of State Boards of Geology in the
U.S. ASBOG is the comparable U.S. organization to CCPG. The
purpose of this relationship is to more effectively interact
with ASBOG and ultimately to facilitate access to licensure
and certification between the two organizations.
APEGGA is losing the services of longtime CCPG Director Bob
Comer, P.Geoph., who has been a stalwart volunteer but will
now have more time at home with his wife Margaret. The void
he leaves will be capably filled by Brenda Wright, P.Geol.,
who recently completed three years on APEGGA Council.
Newly installed in his second term heading CCPG president
is APEGGA's own Gordon Williams, P.Geol. Gordon did such a
good job as chair five years ago that CCPG decided to recycle
him for a second term.
Both Gordon and Brenda will effectively represent APEGGA and
the geoscience community with style and substance. We wish
them well in their new roles.
Alberta Greets CCPE
The week prior to CCPG was beautifully sunny and warm in Calgary
for the AGM of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers.
Together with CCPE President Hollis Cole, P.Eng., APEGGA played
host to representatives from provincial engineering associations
With thanks from President Cole for his "wise counsel
and gentle wit," Dr. Fred Otto, P.Eng., an APEGGA past
president, completed a six-year term as CCPE director. Dale
Miller, P.Eng., another APEGGA past president, will have big
shoes to fill as APEGGA's new director with CCPE.
Suspense was high in the balloting for President-Elect, but
APEGGA director Darrel Danyluk, P. Eng., a past APEGGA president,
finally prevailed in a close contest. Darrel will bring his
own wise counsel and gentle, but determined, style to the
executive of CCPE for the next three years, at a time when
these qualities are needed most.
Lastly but still vividly fresh in my mind, the APEGGA strategic
planning weekend was held in Kananaskis. As tradition dictates,
this took place on Mother's Day weekend.
Over a three-day period, our Council and senior staff set
to work to answer a deceptively simple question: "Do
we need to be more inclusive to effectively fulfill our mandate
to protect public safety and well being?"
We heard presentations from the Licensure Task Force, Past
President Ron Tenove and President-Elect Linda Van Gastel,
from University of Calgary Dean of Engineering Dr. Chan Wirasinghe,
P.Eng., and from the executive directors of both APEGBC and
ASTTBC. Working groups presented concise and thoughtful summaries
of far-reaching and complex discussions, and finally on Sunday,
out of the chaos came consensus.
Rarely have I seen such a large and diverse group coalesce
so completely and definitely on a solution. The answer to
the question "Do we need to be more inclusive?"
was a resounding "YES!", but we did not stop there.
Building upon the concept of a defined scope of practice and
upon the Registered Professional Technologist (R.P.T.) category
of membership created in 1999, we also agreed resoundingly
to create a new category of licensure within APEGGA.
To be fair I must report that concerns were expressed during
this discussion. The main concern was that APEGGA would water
down the value of membership by reducing our high standards
for being a professional. This concern was shared by all who
were working that Mother's Day weekend.
The question of inclusivity was specific to people practicing
in the broad area of applied sciences, but who do not meet
the standard for full membership in APEGGA as a P.Eng., P.Geol.
or P.Geoph. In other words, people who look like they are
practicing the professions, but cannot register with APEGGA
because their academic or experience credentials are lacking
in some way.
Are we better off to register these people, or should we continue
to ignore the fact that they are practicing the professions
outside of APEGGA? The overwhelming conclusion was "better
in than out," but how to do it?
One suggestion was to just lower the bar and let them in.
This would truly water down the value of membership and reduce
the standards for being a professional. It was quickly judged
to be unacceptable.
The answer became obvious once new public member Dr. Larry
Ohlhauser, himself a past registrar of the College of Physicians
and Surgeons of Alberta, a position he held for 19 years,
explained how things work for doctors. There are no less than
five separate categories of restricted licensure. Doctors
in these categories were judged to fall short of the requirements
for full professional status, but are allowed to practice
independently with a license that has some restrictions.
The conclusion that the College reached more than 10 years
ago was that it was better to allow these individuals to practice,
albeit with restrictions, than to just say no. The rules allow
for these individuals to work toward filling in the deficiencies,
whatever they might be, and eventually become full professionals
with no restrictions.
We are striving toward a solution that will work for all
of us. A solution for our members who do not want the value
of their professional designation diluted. A solution for
the Alberta Government, on whose behalf we administer the
EGGP Act. A solution that will continue to protect the public
as we have done for over 80 years. A solution for the people
who earn a living practicing the professions that we license,
but have not been able to register because they fall just
short of the high standards for licensure that we set for
We are fortunate indeed to live in the best province in Canada,
with a GDP that's 40 per cent higher than any other region
of the country. We need help to sustain the "sizzling
growth" that is expected to continue, according to a
recently published TD Bank report. This is one small thing
that could help.
I'll keep you informed and will be seeking your input and
guidance as we progress with details on this and other issues
over the course of the next few months.
Drop me a note or give me a call with your concerns, comments
and ideas. I look forward to hearing from you. Together, we
can make a difference.