Terri-Jane Yuzda


Hot, Snowy, Blooming and Busy: Lots of Work for New President


APEGGA President

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 first.

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 across Canada.

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.

Strategic Planning
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 our professions.

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.

Home | Past PEGGs | PEGG Search | Contact Us