Discussions about technologists
joining a more inclusive APEGGA have broken off for now, but
your leadership remains optimistic Alberta can improve upon
British Columbia's model.
BY MIKE SMYTH, P.ENG.
Tucked away on the back page of the June issue of the PEGG
was an important article detailing a major development in
the Province of British Columbia. In B.C., the engineers and
technologists have agreed to merge into one regulatory body.
Big news, and big ramifications for the members of both organizations.
Meanwhile, here in Alberta, APEGGA and ASET, the Alberta
Society of Engineering Technologists, have recently been engaged
in discussions aimed at finding ways and means by which the
two associations can better serve their respective members,
and the public, through greater cooperation and coordination.
We were doing so at the direction of the Hon. Clint Dunford,
Minister of Human Resources and Employment.
"What does that mean?" you ask. Simply put, APEGGA
was talking with ASET about the future of both organizations
and the relationship between them.
However, as you have read elsewhere in this month's PEGG,
those talks have broken off, and ASET is unwilling at this
time to consider becoming an important and integral part of
a new and more inclusive APEGGA.
The following letter has been sent to ASET for publication
in Technology Today, and is reproduced here for your information.
As always, your input and guidance are crucial to the decision-making
process within APEGGA. Drop me a note or give me a call with
your concerns, comments and ideas. I look forward to hearing
from you. Together, we can make a difference.
The Alberta Society of Engineering
Ninety-one per cent of the members of your sister
association in British Columbia, Applied Science Technicians
and Technologists of British Columbia (ASTTBC), recently voted
to merge with the B.C. engineers and geoscientists to become
members of a new APEGBC. Imagine 91 per cent of any group
anywhere agreeing on anything. I usually have trouble getting
my family to agree on what to have for dinner. Imagine agreeing
to totally restructure a proud and long-established organization
representing some 10,000 technologists and technicians, and
joining together with another group to form a new professional
But they did agree, 91 per cent of ASTTBC members who voted.
"I wonder why?" you ask. When asked,
John Leech, executive director of ASTTBC, answered simply,
"The public, regulatory bodies, as well as members of
both associations will be best served by this one-act, one-association
"I'm skeptical" you say. The devil
is in the details, as the saying goes. Well, the detail that
resulted in such an overwhelming show of support is that within
a one-act, one- association model, technologists will be able
to accept responsibility for work that falls within their
training and experience. They will apply "appropriate
prescriptive codes or standards within guidelines to be developed
by the council of the new association," and will practice
"Sounds too good to be true," you
say. It's true. APEGBC engineers and geoscientists also voted
positively, in a similar referendum, that a single regulatory
association would be best for all stakeholders. APEGBC Executive
Director John Bremner said, "This proposal is founded
on the fact that the practice of engineering and geoscience
technology are components of the fields of engineering and
geoscience, and that they should be regulated in a seamless
and singular fashion."
"What's the catch?" you ask. No catch.
In B.C. they simply agreed that engineering technology is
part and parcel of the practice of engineering. They agreed
that, in the best interests of the public, technologists should
be included. They agreed that the best way to regulate engineering
technology is to join together with the engineering association
and be regulated. They agreed.
"It's hard to believe," you say.
Believe it. Here is one last thing to consider, while we are
on the subject of agreement. One hundred per cent of the members
of APEGGA's Council agreed on something at our June meeting.
This frequently happens under our collaborative decision making
model within APEGGA. 100 per cent of the APEGGA Council agreed
that the one-act, one-association model under which engineering
technologists in B.C. will soon be accepting responsibility
for their work, looks to be a viable model. APEGGA Council
agreed, 100 per cent.
"Why can't we do that here in Alberta?"
you ask. We can. APEGGA and ASET were talking about this and
other options. Talks have broken off and the path forward
is in the hands of the minister now, but I still have faith
that together we can develop a made-in-Alberta solution that
improves upon the B.C. model. The ASET leadership has a vision
of the future for ASET members, and has done such a good job
communicating that vision that I can say confidently that
it is not very different from the APEGGA vision of the future.
The only thing that prevents this vision from becoming reality
is disagreement on how best to accomplish it.
APEGGA has serious reservations and concerns with the model
proposed by ASET, and communicated those to your representatives
during our discussions. APEGGA proposed several possible alternatives,
but it seems that none of these was explored in sufficient
detail to make the ASET Council comfortable enough to recommend
them to you, the members of ASET.
All I can tell you is that we both tried very hard to find
a way to make something good happen. I'm personally disappointed
that APEGGA and ASET could not agree on how to do it, but
am very encouraged that there is a shared vision for the future.
Your input and guidance is crucial to this decision making
process. I know you will discuss this with your executive
and council. In addition, though, feel free to drop me a note
or give me a call with your concerns, comments and ideas.
I look forward to hearing from you. Together, we can make