Canadian Consulting Engineer

Alberta engineers resist proposal to expand engineering licenses

April 15, 2004
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The professional body that licenses engineers in Alberta is slowing down in its quest to expand its licensing categ...

The professional body that licenses engineers in Alberta is slowing down in its quest to expand its licensing categories.
The Council of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) had intended to put its proposals for new licensing categories up for a vote at its annual meeting on April 24. However, the council has now decided it needs to give existing members more time to consider the proposals.
The association wishes to establish a new category of restricted license for people who are university educated and work in the engineering sphere, but whose backgrounds don’t fulfill the current requirements to qualify for a full licence.
The three groups the association identies as candidates are graduates who are “internationally trained practitioners,” those who belong to “emerging disciplines” and those in “related science professions,” who are working in the engineering sphere. These would be people such as chemists, biologists, environmental scientists, etc.
Town hall meetings had were held in Calgary and Edmonton in March and it was here that the strength of the opposition to the proposed new categories was evident. APEGGA’s newspaper the PEGG reports that more than 300 members attended the meetings, and “most of those who spoke were either against the new category or had serious reservations about various aspects of it.”
The newspaper quotes APEGGA President Mike Smyth, P.Eng.: “We have made every effort to engage our members in dialogue on this issue …. However, town hall meetings and other representations make it clear to us that members still have a lot of questions about what this means to the professions and what this means to their Association. We welcome this input and will build on this to ensure that we get it right.”
A major point of contention is the names. The APEGGA Council had proposed using the titles Registered Engineer, Registered Geologist and Registered Geophysicist” for the new category. Many existing members felt that these titles would not only confuse the public, but could mean the value of the Professional Engineer and Professional Geologist/Geophysicist titles are downgraded.
The APEGGA council has decided to revisit the name question, and it will also reconsider the experience requirements for the proposed new category. The last version of the proposal had suggested that eligible individuals should have four years’ experience, with at least two of those years in the area of the particular area in which he or she would practice. However, Smyth said “Two years in the scope may not be enough, given the recent feedback from members.”
The association can still take the option of a new category to a full membership vote through the mail. The council believes that they should expand the membership categories as a way of ensuring that the association can monitor such individuals better and thus protect the public.


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