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Executive Director's Notes:
Mobility - Top Priority
By Neil Windsor, P.Eng.
The reality is that we are competing in a global marketplace and that will become even more predominant as technology and communications bring us closer to the world markets. Consequently, our members need the ability to react quickly to market opportunities and that means ease of registration in other jurisdictions worldwide and the ability to practice wherever and whenever the opportunity arises.
That is not as simple as it sounds. Many countries have different requirements and even different standards, there are language and cultural differences, and different ways of doing business not to mention trade barriers. Yet the greatest barrier to true mobility of professionals remains the time required and difficulty of obtaining a licence to practice. Licensure is a critical component of any jurisdiction's ability to regulate the professions and protect public safety, and cannot be compromised simply for convenience. It remains then to determine how the difficulties can be overcome without impacting on public safety.
Within Canada, great progress has been made during the past year. In the spirit of the Agreement on Inter-Provincial Trade signed in 1995, all 12 Canadian jurisdictions last June signed an Inter-Association Mobility Agreement that provides virtual mobility of professionals between all provinces and territories. This is a benchmark agreement that is being viewed by other professions as a model on which to build agreements appropriate to their particular needs and circumstances. In the U.S., no such mobility exists between government-appointed state boards that regulate the professions.
APEGGA Council has adopted the view that, if reciprocity with states in the U.S. is to be achieved, the best approach might be bilateral agreements with those states with which our members are most likely to be doing business. Accordingly, we have taken measures to establish working relationships with the western states and Alaska as well as the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). During the past two years, we have attended two meetings of the NCEES Western Zone; a joint Idaho/Washington Annual Meeting; a board meeting in Montana at the invitation of the board; two meetings of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER); and made formal presentations to the Governor of Idaho and to a meeting of the Montana/Alberta Bilateral Advisory Committee. Other provincial associations, particularly APEGBC, are working on a parallel front with other states. APEGGA is proposing to host a Mobility Forum in conjunction with the 2001 APEGGA Annual General Meeting in Calgary next April and we are hopeful that a strong contingent of state board representatives will be in attendance. Much remains to be done before agreements are put in place. However, we have made considerable progress toward our goals and we will continue to pursue agreements that enhance mobility of our professional members.
APEGGA Council is very aware of the value of mobility to engineers and geoscientists and has made this a high priority action item for the immediate future. Efforts to seek reciprocal agreements will continue both within Canada and with other jurisdictions. These matters take time but their importance dictates that we must move forward as expeditiously as possible.
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