The Emerging Disciplines
Task Force estimates a 54-per-cent compliance rate among advanced
technology personnel eligible for APEGGA membership. The biggest
shortfall appears to be in younger potential members.
Editor's Note: The following is one of
a series of columns prepared by APEGGA's Compliance Department.
In the July/August issue of the PEGG, I discussed the registration
shortfall of geoscientists and, specifically, APEGGA's concern
about wellsite geologists. An area of similar concern is the
advanced technology industry, and the Compliance Department
is putting an increased effort into that shortfall, too.
The Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act
prescribes that individuals engaged in the practice of engineering
must be registered with APEGGA. Historically, conformance
with this requirement has been high within established industries
and among mainstream disciplines such as civil, mechanical
and petroleum engineering.
However, results of a CCPE national survey indicate a disturbing
decline in the support for registration among students and
recent graduates in emerging industries such as advanced technology.
With that in mind, APEGGA Council's Emerging Disciplines Task
Force commissioned KPMG to conduct a study to determine what
proportion of the engineering graduates working in Alberta's
advanced technology sector are actually licensed members of
A survey of employers was used as the main vehicle to gather
data. For the purposes of the study, the advanced \technology
sector consisted of organizations that supply products, services
or solutions in which electronic or computer technologies
are integral. The survey found:
- About half (54 per cent) of those apparently eligible
for APEGGA membership are actually members.
- Age is more closely linked to participation rates (compliance)
than any other single factor. Young engineering graduates
are less likely to be APEGGA members than older ones.
- Engineering graduates working in advanced technology are
significantly younger than those in other industries.
- Electrical and computer engineering disciplines are much
more prevalent in the advanced technology sector than elsewhere.
- Overall, 70 per cent of the companies pay for all, or
most of, APEGGA's membership fees. The tendency not to pay
is more evident in small companies than in medium or large
ones. An interesting irony is that the participation rate
is highest among engineers who do not have their fees paid
by their employers.
The question, "How many non-member engineering graduates
could join APEGGA?" was not within the scope of this
initial assignment. However, by a series of assumptions, it
was concluded that Alberta's advanced technology industry
contains 7,500 engineers. If the overall participation rate
of 54 per cent applies, then 3,500 of those engineering graduates
are not members of APEGGA.
No matter what the actual number, APEGGA has a significant
opportunity to increase its participation rates in the advanced
technology sector. That convinced APEGGA's Compliance Department,
supported by the Enforcement Review Committee, to launch a
program that targets improving advanced technology licensure.
Many Companies Don't Hold Their Permit
Using similar activity criteria as the KPMG survey, the first
step was to identify as many companies as possible that are
involved in the industry and employ APEGGA members. Of the
150 companies identified, 35 per cent hold valid permits to
APEGGA is contacting by letter each of these companies without
permits. The message and assumption are that if they employ
APEGGA members, they must be practising engineering and require
a permit to practice. Occasionally, a contacted company disputes
whether or not their activities constitute the practice of
engineering. When this happens, the Enforcement Review Committee
must turn to the EGGP Act to answer the question.
To assist with this process, the ERC established an advanced
technology subcommittee composed of ERC and APEGGA members
at large with a background knowledge and interest in the industry.
The subcommittee has held four meetings to date. Its busy
agenda consists of reviewing case studies to determine whether
activities are engineering, as well as developing ongoing
A systematic method analyses activities to determine whether
they're engineering, as defined in the act. If a company is
deemed to be practicing engineering, it's advised of the requirement
for a permit to practice, as well as the need for the registration
of non-member employees and compliance with the titles they
Frequently Asked Question
Q. Sometimes a member-in-training
has to incorporate as a condition of contract employment.
Do these M.I.T.s require a permit to practice?
A. No. A permit to practice is not required, provided that
the M.I.T.'s employer is willing and qualified to take responsibility
for the work. Professional members registered with APEGGA
must supervise the work M.I.T.s perform through their corporations,
and their corporations must not have the titles engineering,
geology or geophysics (or any derivative of these titles)
in their names.