November, 2000

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Full Speed Ahead,
Says New CCPE Boss


Becoming the chief executive officer of a multifaceted organization like the Canadian
Council of Professional Engineers is a little bit like buying a new car. It takes some time to get comfortable with how everything works, read the owners manual, and get through the break-in period. You take extra care to avoid situations that could result in a dent or scratch, but at the same time find it difficult to drive slowly for the first 1,600 kilometres or so.

The analogy works quite well, really. Since joining CCPE as chief executive officer in July, I've met with many of my provincial and territorial counterparts from across Canada, been briefed extensively by my staff on key issues, read hundreds of documents - including the CCPE Board Orientation Manual - participated in my first CCPE Board of Directors' meeting and, to the best of my knowledge, am getting up to speed without too many dents or scratches. I now have a much better sense of how things work at CCPE, and I am ready to move forward in response to the challenges facing our profession.

One of our first priorities will be to achieve a fair, balanced and workable solution to the software engineering issue. The Panel on Software Engineering, established by CCPE and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada in September 1999 to make recommendations on the use of the term software engineering in the undergraduate university community, has now tabled its final report. It is recommending the creation of a joint accreditation board, drawn from the members of our Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board and the Canadian Information Processing Society's Computer Science Accreditation Council. The advisory group formed by the CCPE Board in November 1999 to consider the profession's positions on the software engineering issue and counsel our representative to the Panel has also tabled its final report, which is supportive of joint accreditation. At this time, extensive consultation is taking place with all parties involved, particularly our member associations/ordre. The software engineering issue will be an important item on the agenda for the November board meeting.

In November, the board will also consider a report on the relevancy of the engineering profession's regulatory system in the global context, and conduct a half-day strategy session on the issue of relevancy. One of the keys to ensuring the future relevancy of our regulatory system will be our ability to attract engineering graduates to join our ranks as registered members of the profession. CCPE has been proactive in this area with the launch of our national communications campaign to build awareness of the P.Eng. designation among engineering students and promote its value to employers in the emerging technologies sector.
The second phase of our campaign will be initiated in October of this year. CCPE has placed ads in student newspapers encouraging engineering students to "go the distance" by getting their P.Eng. Another set of ads highlighting the long-term benefits of hiring professional engineers has been placed in three national magazines targeted toward employers and human resources professionals, and a direct-mail brochure presenting the business case for hiring a P.Eng. is being produced.

The goal of the ads and brochure is to attract both students and employers to CCPE's new P.Eng. website to obtain more information. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to visit the site at

The importance of bringing engineering students into our profession is also reflected in the new Engineering Student Liaison Policy and Program that was approved by the CCPE Board of Directors in September. In essence, the philosophy behind the policy and program is that: "The future sustainability of self-governance of the engineering profession depends on the continued growth of registration of new engineering graduates into our profession. A structured liaison between the engineering profession and engineering students prior to graduation is required to identify and address their ongoing issues and areas of concern with our profession."
Another highlight of the board's September meeting was its approval of a new policy on women in engineering. This policy recognizes that the enrolment of women in undergraduate as well as graduate engineering programs strengthens the profession. It also expresses our strong and ongoing support for the principles of fairness and equity in all aspects of engineering culture, practice and education, and our belief that by welcoming more women into our ranks, we will enrich the value, relevance and public recognition of our profession.
Speaking of women in the engineering profession, I am pleased to report that Julie Payette, ing. will be the Honourary Chair of National Engineering Week 2001. I'm looking forward to the launch, which takes place on March 2, as well as to meeting engineers from coast to coast in the days and months ahead.

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