Terri-Jane Yuzda

Compliance Takes On
Geoscience Shortfall


The Geoscience Task Force and a consultant have identified that many geoscientists don't bother becoming licensed with APEGGA. Council decided to do something about it by funding a new Compliance Department initiative.

Editor's Note: The following is one of a series of columns supplied by APEGGA's Compliance Department.

Director, Compliance

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 of geoscientists.
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 registration."

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.

Companies Contacted
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, we say:

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 options:
· 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 of Examiners.

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 geologists.

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 arrangements.

Frequently Asked Question

Q. Can experience be used to justify a reduction in examinations or even an elimination of examinations, when seeking registration?

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.

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