July 2001

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Walkerton's Wake

In concert with the regulatory authority of provincial and territorial governments, engineers and other professionals should take "ongoing responsibility" for the safety of drinking water in Canada, a CCPE report recommends. The report on water quality, which arises out of the tragedy in Walkerton, Ont., includes a list of other recommended positions and was presented to APEGGA Council at its regular June meeting in Edmonton.
Professional responsibility comes throughout the planning, design, construction, commissioning, operation, maintenance and de-commissioning stages of a water system's life cycle, the report says. "Effective regulatory oversight," adequate government funding for water supply systems and public education are all called for in the report, which APEGGA will pass along to the appropriate provincial ministries together with an APEGGA position paper being prepared by the environment committee and staff for Council.

Public's APEGGA Role

Council learned of several public member appointments approved by Alberta Human Resources and Employment Minister Clint Dunford. Dr. Norman Wagner is the newest public appointee on Council, and Dr. Terry Gunderson has been appointed to the Board of Examiners. George Jones was reappointed to Appeal Board.

National Relevance Report

The CCPE has created a major report on making sure the associations remain relevant, but some of the strategies recommended are already established practices in Alberta. The report, Meeting the Challenge of Continuing Relevance of the Engineering Profession, was presented to the CCPE Board of Directors in May as a response to lowering licensure "uptake" by engineering graduates in Canada. Alberta, however, has an enviable and growing uptake record.

One of the recommendations is that associations and university engineering faculties should work together to build awareness of the engineering professions among students. That's already done in Alberta, Council heard, and APEGGA is once again leading the way.

The report also calls for improved national and international mobility through the streamlining of applications for licensure between jurisdictions. APEGGA has played a leading role in mobility both within Canada and with the United States. APEGGA held a mobility forum with U.S. officials in April, and an inter-association agreement for Canadian geoscientists was signed in May.

Strategy Hand Off

Council participants in a May strategy session in Jasper passed their reports along to staff, June 14. Council heard a series of recommendations on advocacy, certification and specialization, and the definition of professional practice and scope, during the regular June meeting.

Advocacy is already part of the varied work APEGGA does and shouldn't be placed elsewhere, Council was told. No new advocacy group is needed, Council heard. However, a statistically valid survey of what members want from APEGGA may be necessary, and Past President Sue Evison, P.Eng., will put together a task force to monitor what's happening elsewhere in Canada on the subject.

New certification categories are not necessary right now -- there are other ways to address specialization, including proactive moves that anticipate demands from the public, government and industry. But professional practices need to be redefined, Council heard.

Honorarium Payment Approved

With approval for a president's honorarium decided by a mail-in vote by members, Council took the next step last month. Payment of APEGGA's first president's honorarium was approved. Council based the payment, to be made in quarterly instalments, on 40 per cent of the F-level salary for engineers in the latest salary survey data.




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