Inclusivity Generates AGM Interest
BY LINDA VAN GASTEL, P.ENG
What an interesting and active Annual General Meeting! We
had perhaps our largest turnout ever in Edmonton and, for
only the second time in our history, we had to reconvene
the meeting after lunch in order to ensure that everyone
had a chance to speak.
The issue of the moment was inclusivity – the proposal to make a restricted licence to practice one of our professions available to a select group of individuals who have demonstrated their competence to do so to the satisfaction of the Board of Examiners. Many of our members thought that they weren’t being heard, and that APEGGA Council was intent on a course that would be a grave mistake for our professions.
Our Council and our members took the opportunity to understand the variety of perspectives on the issue, and, while there are still areas of disagreement, the feedback from the forum will be helpful as we go forward.
Our Council had discussed inclusivity at length the previous day. Council reaffirmed its unanimous commitment to the concept, and agreed to a number of actions:
• We will take the matter to a mail-in vote of the membership.
• We will not use the terms “engineer, geologist or geophysicist” in the title.
• We will consult with our members and key stakeholders.
I am confident that through the consultation process we will resolve many issues, find many opportunities to improve on the work already done, and arrive at a better solution for all of us.
While we would all perhaps prefer that issues such as this did not become so thorny, we have learned that there is never enough communication or consultation – there have been many misunderstandings and misinterpretations that could perhaps have been avoided with better communication, and earlier member engagement.
An Opportunity Arises
I see this as an opportunity. It is an opportunity for Council and APEGGA staff to build a better understanding of the needs of the members and how best to engage them in dialogue. It is an opportunity for our members to build their understanding of the issues facing our professions and involve themselves in helping APEGGA Council and staff find solutions.
And it is an opportunity for us to build better, more consultative relationships among APEGGA staff, Council and the membership. APEGGA will be a better and stronger Association as a result.
We are already taking steps in the right direction. I’ve asked for feedback from the membership regarding what issues need to be addressed from a strategic planning perspective. Some of you have taken me up on that request, and provided comment on serious issues facing our profession and our Association – as a result, we have lots to talk about.
By the time this issue of The PEGG reaches you we will have completed our annual strategic retreat and Council will have used your input to help shape our vision of the future for APEGGA.
Be Involved in Your Professions
I challenge you all to become involved and stay involved. Contact me, and let me know about issues that you think need our attention. You can phone me, or you can send me an e-mail message by following the link to Executive Committee and Council on our www.apega.ca website and using the message box at the bottom of the page. I will respond, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks and Congratulations
Let me close this first column on a different note. I want to thank now Past-President Mike Smyth, P.Eng., for his tireless and enthusiastic work on APEGGA’s behalf over the past year. In addition to leading our work on inclusivity, Mike was front and centre in our dealings with ASET. He also recognized the need to have a careful look at insurance issues facing our members, and got a task force working on those issues.
And, he took prompt action when some of the oilsands project owners began blaming cost overruns on bad engineering. He met with them and many others – setting the record straight, and urging collaboration or finding solutions.
Mike has been an active and vocal advocate for, and supporter of, our professions. I thank him for his dedication, and his employer, Optima Engineers, for its patience. Thanks also to our outgoing councillors, and also to Ron Tenove, P.Eng., who leaves the Executive Committee post of past president, for their hard work during their terms of office.
Congratulations to our new President-Elect Larry Staples.
Larry has served APEGGA in many capacities and will undoubtedly
bring his many talents to bear in his contributions over
the next few years.
Congratulations also to new Vice-President David Chalcroft and our newly elected councillors. We have a busy year ahead of us, and we’ll get you involved right away.
Finally, I’d like to thank you all for your confidence in me and in APEGGA Council. APEGGA has a challenging year ahead, but with your support and the support of APEGGA’s superb staff, we will find solutions that are in the professions’ best interests.
I’m proud to have the opportunity to be of service to this wonderful organization.