Nudged Upward in
2001 APEGGA Budget
The first increase in membership dues in two years will help APEGGA keep
the books balanced in 2001, Council decided in approving the budget Nov.
23. The 2001 budget grows to about $6.46 million, compared with last year's
$20-per-member increase will cover cost increases and allow for several
new initiatives. Membership dues in 2001 increase to $185 for individual
professionals from the current $165.
APEGGA will put extra emphasis on advocacy, communication with members,
compliance, and public awareness of science and technology. A capital
budget of $250,000 will cover computer equipment upgrades, office renovations,
furniture and equipment, and audiovisual equipment. APEGGA's staff grows
by two positions in 2001 -- Administration department increases by one
person because workload has grown, and Communications by one person because
of the extra communications push.
More Permit Teeth, Less Cost
Council passed a series of motions to make permits more affordable and
relevant. Council heard recommendations that arose from lengthy examination
at the committee and sub-committee levels. The motions supplement major
changes made over the last several years -- and hint at more to come.
When the process began, the permit system was viewed as "a toothless
old tiger that collected money and did very little else," said Mark
Lasby, P.Eng., of the Regulation of Corporate Practice Task Force. Some
councillors and members have even questioned whether the permits were
necessary at all, since employees who are members already have to meet
APEGGA standards and adhere to its Code of Ethics.
But Council heard several compelling reasons to retain the permit system.
For one, sometimes firms themselves are owned or managed by non-members.
A permit reiterates the standards demanded of professional engineers and
geoscientists. Also, under law an incorporated company is treated as separate
from its owners and staff, so it needs to be recognized as professional,
Requirements added over the past few years, such as mandatory continuing
professional development and proactive practice reviews, haven't solved
all the permit system's problems. But they did add some teeth, Mr. Lasby
For small, one-person firms, the burden of paying membership dues and
paying permit fees falls on the same shoulders. Yet for larger companies,
the permit fees have historically been the same amount.
The larger companies have a different concern. They have in-house professional
practice management plans that often go beyond what APEGGA requires under
its PPMP, so they've been reluctant to send all their professionals to
the seminars, once every five years.
Council responded by requiring at least one member working for a company
to attend the seminars, providing:
* That the permit holder's Professional Practice Management Plan covers
all of the topics addressed by the APEGGA Permit to Practice seminar,
and includes provisions of appropriate training;
* That the exemption application is submitted in writing on the form prescribed
by APEGGA; and
* That the application is accompanied by a written affidavit signed by
a responsible member for the Permit to Practice, stating that the training
program covers all the seminar topics and includes provisions for appropriate
Council also decided to reduce annual fees by 50 per cent if a permit
holder employs only one professional member and its gross revenues don't
exceed $250,000. Application to become a permit holder becomes less costly
for all companies, because dues for the first year are now included in
the application fee.
At the same time, Council bumped up the annual fee for permit holders
to 150 per cent of the dues paid by a professional member from 125 per
How Much Oil Was That?
The Alberta Securities Commission fears overly optimistic reporting of
oil and gas reserves could mislead the commission and the public. The
way to make sure professional evaluations come up to an acceptable standard
of accuracy, says the ASC, is to create guidelines for petroleum evaluation
If APEGGA doesn't respond with regulating criteria, the ASC will be forced
to look after itself -- and leave the professional association out of
the loop, Council heard.
Responding to the ASC's concerns, however, could just be the beginning
for APEGGA, several councillors cautioned. Others said it's inevitable
that, as professions become more specialized, APEGGA's various regulatory
roles need to respond appropriately.
Council took the first step by endorsing the concept of enhanced regulation
of petroleum evaluations. Staff must now develop the necessary administrative
details, together with the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers and
the Alberta Securities Commission.
More Insurance Possible for Members
If a new national program succeeds, APEGGA members will be insured beyond
the normal scope of their work. Council decided to make the new supplementary
professional liability insurance mandatory for members -- but only if
the majority of associations and members across Canada do the same to
keep the cost acceptable. The program will ensure that the public is protected
in the event that a member's normal liability insurance doesn't apply.
If all associations fully participate, the cost for the insurance would
be $5.90 per member, council heard. If fewer than 10,000 members voluntarily
participate across Canada, the cost would be far less palatable, at $40
per member. Coverage is $100,000 per claim or $250,000 per project, plus
The insurance covers situations beyond those in primary insurance -- liability
after retirement, liability in over-the-fence advice or work beyond regular
employment, and liability after an employer closes its doors. Also covered
are legal fees incurred by a member in defending against a false claim
made against him or her.
For the first year, the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers would
pay the premium. After that, costs would be billed to the associations,
and APEGGA would recover its costs -- estimated at $180,000 a year --
through membership fees.
Naming Names Made Official
Should members' names be published after they've gone before the discipline
committee? It's a delicate issue that, until the last Council meeting,
hadn't been finally decided.
Now, the direction from Council is clear: the editor of The PEGG will
be instructed to publish the results of discipline hearings and stipulated
orders, with names, but only after the expiry of the appeal period or
the completion of an appeal.
"I believe there was clear desire of previous Councils to have all
discipline cases (including stipulated orders) published with names,"
said First Vice-President Dale Miller, P.Eng., in his report to council.
"I also believe it was Council's desire to have the regulations modified
to include this."
CPD Delinquents Risk Suspension
Continuing professional development is not to be taken lightly, Council
emphasized at its last meeting. In fact those members who don't file their
annual CPD reports or fail to meet minimum requirements risk being suspended
from APEGGA, Council decided.
The members will be "subject to an administrative process similar
to that which is currently used to address non-payment of fees,"
the Council motion reads, "anticipating that if CPD program deficiencies
are not remedied, the delinquent member will be suspended."
Should the Prez be Paid?
It's a lot of work and the pay's rotten. APEGGA's president, holder of
the highest elected position, is paid for expenses only -- even though
the position demands about 50 per cent of a normal work year. It's enough
that some presidents have suffered financially for the good of their profession
and association, Council heard.
But before considering a motion to institute an honorarium, APEGGA will
find out what members think, the Honorarium Task Force suggested. Council
gave a sub-committee the go-ahead to seek stakeholder input before the
item returns to the agenda.
See related information on Page 10 of this month's PEGG.
Education Foundation Role Clarified
APEGGA's Education Foundation has received some re-emphasis of its roles
and responsibilities, and some encouragement to take its work in certain
directions. Council passed a series of recommendations concerning the
APEGGA retains full authority over the scholarships it finances. The number
of transfer scholarships will remain at the current level and the education
scholarship will continue. APEGGA encourages the foundation to create
additional scholarships and enhance the value of existing APEGGA scholarships,
but not to duplicate.
The association is prepared to delegate to the foundation the selection
of APEGGA scholarship recipients, once the foundation is ready and able
to do so.
Scholarships funded by APEGGA will continue being named after APEGGA.
Council requests that the name also appear in any future scholarships
or awards the foundation creates, wherever possible.
Council requests that the foundation submit an annual report and that
the foundation's board of directors meet with the APEGGA Executive Committee
at least once a year to ensure continuous dialogue between the two bodies.