Editor's Note: The following is
one of a series of columns supplied by APEGGA's Compliance
BY DAVE TODD, P.ENG.
Thanks to additional resources approved by Council, the APEGGA
Compliance Department has expanded its focus on core activities
to include other areas of concern. One such area is the regulation
Council earlier appointed the Geoscience Task Force to review
several issues, one of which was to determine what proportion
of Alberta-based geoscientists are licensed members of APEGGA.
KPMG Consulting, commissioned by the task force, randomly
selected 100 organizations in Alberta that employ geoscientists.
Each of these was asked to complete a confidential questionnaire
on the number of university-level geoscience graduates they
employ. Of the 100 organizations, 60 agreed to participate.
However, 40 actually did participate by the cut-off date.
These organizations collectively employed at the time almost
16,000 people, of whom 683 were geoscientists. A sample of
683 observations should mean statistical confidence was better
than 95 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Many Geoscientists Unlicensed
The number of geoscientists reported by each participant was
compared against the most current corresponding count of licensed
members. The conclusion? About 59 per cent of practicing Alberta
geoscientists who are qualified for registration with APEGGA
are actually registered. (Geology and geophysics compliance
rates were, by the way, virtually identical.)
"We intend to increase geoscientist registration through
education, and awareness of APEGGA and the requirements for
So, what now? The Compliance Department has initiated a program
to identify the remaining 41 per cent of individuals who are
not licensed -- and to encourage them to become licensed.
Dr. (Rick) Young, P.Geol., PhD, has been engaged as a consultant
to assist our department in tackling this job. Dr. Young is
well qualified, with many years of experience in the industry
as well as nine years as an experience examiner on APEGGA's
Board of Examiners.
We intend to increase geoscientist registration through education,
and awareness of APEGGA and the requirements for registration.
This is being accomplished through letters, personal contact
and formal presentations to groups within companies and technical
societies. Topics such as APEGGA's purpose, how APEGGA operates,
common misconceptions and questions, and registration requirements
are being addressed.
The Compliance Department is contacting and investigating
companies who employ members and do not hold a permit to practice.
One major concern is wellsite geology, we've learned. There
are many individuals who have the necessary qualifications
and who practice and use the title of wellsite geologist --
but are not registered with APEGGA.
There are also those who do not appear to have the qualifications
who practice and are holding themselves out to practice while
not being registered. In addition, many of these individuals
work through corporations that do not hold a permit. As a
result, a focused effort has been initiated to contact as
many unregistered individuals working in this area in Alberta
as can be identified.
Two standard messages are being communicated. To those who
appear to have the necessary qualifications for registration,
If you are practicing and/or holding yourself out to practice
while not being registered, you are in violation of the EGGP
Act and subject to legal action. In the meantime, and until
registered you must cease from holding yourself out as a geologist,
and must practice under the supervision and control of a registered
member who takes responsibility for your work. If you are
practicing geology through a company, and/or using the word
geology in the company name, a permit to practice is required.
The message to non-qualified individuals adds the following
· Complete a university degree in geology, then apply
for professional registration.
· Apply for professional registration, and work toward
completing all exam requirements imposed by APEGGA's Board
Be Our Eyes and Ears
The response to date has been encouraging, but there is still
more to be done. Our members are our eyes and ears. We encourage
all members to report names (supported by verification such
as business cards, reports etc.) of individuals and corporations
practicing geology or holding themselves out to practice while
not being licensed. After all, this is the credibility of
your professions we are striving to maintain and improve,
an essential component in
APEGGA encourages all companies to support APEGGA licensure
and restricted use of title as a policy requirement for employees
engaging in the practice of geology. The same requirement
should be enforced for hired consultants such as wellsite
Our findings so far detect some reluctance to register, as
well as a and lack of knowledge of APEGGA's registration requirements.
We would welcome the opportunity to visit your company and
conduct presentations to groups of employees. Please contact
Louise Heron, compliance secretary, at 1-800-661-7020 to make
Frequently Asked Question
Q. Can experience be used to justify a reduction in
examinations or even an elimination of examinations, when
A. Yes. APEGGA's Board of Examiners has the authority
to waive examinations. The board will consider academics and
experience in total. If examinations are proposed, the board
will consider waiving some or all of them, based on an appropriate
quality and amount of experience.