APEGGA Member Services Forum Topic in Calgary

As an APEGGA member, would you like to have hotel and car rental discounts, a pension plan or an affinity credit card?

While such services are not available now, they represent some of the things APEGGA could offer its members. A March 26 Information Forum in Calgary addressed that topic to discuss what, if any, additional services members might be interested in.

Already, three new services have recently been approved by Council. They are insurance policies for small business owners and contract employees, an Internet-based job search program and an automobile sales and leasing program, which offers volume discounts on new and used vehicles.

"Traditionally, APEGGA has been more conservative than other professional organizations and has shied away from offering more of these types of programs," said Trevor Maine, P.Eng., APEGGA's Director of Communications. "The three new programs are a clear indication we're moving away from that."

The question is how far should APEGGA go. Should it, for example, offer a pension plan or discounts on travel, Mr. Maine asked? There were no clear answers at the forum, though the pension plan idea generated little enthusiasm. One member wondered if APEGGA should be involved at all in additional programs that do not focus on strictly professional issues. In a similar vein, another forum participant asked if APEGGA could deliver more professional development programs.

Council recently rejected offering such member services as affinity credit cards and programs for purchasing computer equipment and getting discounts on cellular and long-distance phone calls. Part of the problem here, said Mr. Maine, is favoring one company over another, particularly in businesses that employ or contract APEGGA members.

APEGGA already makes available services such as Registered Retirement Savings Programs and a range of insurance policies - including life, home and auto, sickness and accident, and professional liability. Many of these are provided in conjunction with the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. Given the increasing amount of contract and consulting work, and the difficulty for individuals to purchase affordable insurance, such programs could see greater demand in the future.

"About 20 per cent of our members are self-employed, and the number is growing," said Mr. Maine. "The life insurance plan, for example, offers substantial savings over what exists on the street."

Editor's Note: At its April 16 meeting, APEGGA Council endorsed a CCPE-sponsored agreement with Budget Rent-a-Car which will make discounts available to members of APEGGA. CCPE also has endorsed a dental plan which will be available to all members of APEGGA. (See also "Council Briefs".)