Terri-Jane Yuzda

APEGGA Builds Professionalism
Through Permit Changes

Seminars, Plans Designed to Ensure a Meaningful Role for Responsible Members

Corporate and Member Affairs Director

APEGGA regulation changes approved earlier this year have important implications for firms holding a permit to practice, and for the responsible members named on those permits. Starting this fall, attendance at a Permit to Practice Seminar will be mandatory for all responsible members, and all permit holders will be required to have a Professional Practice Management Plan in place.

The permit to practice program, initiated by APEGGA in the late 1960s, was originally intended for consulting companies offering their services directly to the public. The intent was to ensure that the same standards of practice applied to corporate entities as to individual practitioners. Changes in policy in 1981 brought operating companies under the permit regulations.

Through the mid-1990s the Permit to Practice Task Force made a number of recommendations aimed at enhancing the value of the permit, including changes to the permit fee structure and permit stamping practices, and the introduction of random practice reviews. The most important changes, however, were the introduction of the concept of a Professional Practice Management Plan, or PPMP, and the requirement for responsible members named on the permit to attend a Permit to Practice Seminar once every five years.

The seminar and plan are designed to help ensure that permit holding companies adhere to the same Code of Ethics and standards of quality that individual members are held to. The seminar shows responsible members what's expected of them, and the PPMP outlines how they'll accomplish it.

The Permit to Practice Seminar consists of a two-hour presentation and question-and-answer session that addresses APEGGA's expectations of the responsible member with respect to the practice of engineering, geology, or geophysics within the permit-holding company. How many responsible members are required for a firm, and the legal liabilities of being named as a responsible member are explored. The seminar introduces the Professional Practice Management Plan, along with the new APEGGA PPMP Guideline.

Finally, an open forum for questions on the permit or on any of APEGGA's programs is held.

Attendance at the seminar is mandatory for all responsible members, once every five years, and chief operating officers are encouraged, though not required, to attend as well. Current responsible members must attend a seminar within five years, while new responsible members will be expected to attend within six months of being named on a permit.

A declaration regarding the PPMP will become a part of the permit renewal form beginning in 2004, and starting in 2005 APEGGA will be able to request to see a firm's PPMP.

There are a number of options available for fulfilling the Permit to Practice Seminar requirement. A responsible member can attend one of the free sessions held regularly in the Edmonton or Calgary APEGGA offices, and specially scheduled sessions will be held in other centres in the province starting in 2004.

A firm may elect to send only one representative, who would then undertake to hold a seminar for the other responsible members named on the permit. Firms with a large number of responsible members can contact the director of corporate and member affairs directly to arrange for an in-house seminar.

Under consideration for 2004 is a Web-based seminar, aimed specifically at those responsible members who are unable to attend one of the regular sessions.


Ross Plecash, P.Eng.
Corporate and Member Affairs Director
Tel. (780) 426-3990, Ext. 814
E-mail rplecash@apegga.org

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