ASET Talks Reach Impasse, Inclusivity Solution Given to Minister
BY GEORGE LEE
The “Kananaskis Model” of a more inclusive regulatory
body for professional practitioners of engineering, geoscience
and related technology – one that welcomes a much broadened
range of engineering and geoscience practitioners –
has been formally shared with the Hon. Clint Dunford, Alberta
Minister of Human Resources and Employment. APEGGA sent a
letter dated Oct. 1 to Mr. Dunford, urging him to adopt the
model as a way to address ongoing concerns that the leadership
of the Alberta Society of Engineering Technologists have continued
to express, and at the same time greatly improve public protection.
For a number of years ASET’s leadership has been lobbying for its own provincial act, one that would give it self-regulatory powers. Membership in the society is currently voluntary. ASET wants to license certain technologists and define their scopes of practice, even though the job of regulating the practices of engineering and geoscience clearly lies with APEGGA under the EGGP Act.
As the body with more than 80 years of experience protecting the public, APEGGA is strongly against seeing self-regulation of engineering and geoscience delegated to more than one organization. The Association holds that technologists are part of the engineering and geoscience teams integral to the Alberta economy, and that it just doesn’t make sense to divide up regulatory roles.
More than one regulatory body would be confusing to the public and employers, would be inefficient, and would not meet the government’s goal of public protection and well-being, said APEGGA President Mike Smyth, P.Eng. “We’re all part of the same team. Members of the same team can’t play in different leagues,” he said.
Last March, Mr. Dunford gave ASET and APEGGA until Oct. 1 to provide a solution. However, after seven meetings between the leaderships of the organizations, discussions reached a stalemate, even though APEGGA is willing to change its very structure to accommodate the career goals of technologists.
Last May APEGGA Council and senior management developed the concept of a new model of membership, based on “inclusivity.” This unanimous agreement of Council came during strategic planning sessions in Kananaskis Country.
Under the Kananaskis Model, a laddered system of licensure would allow technologists to work towards full professional licensure within one organization, providing they’re working in the engineering or geoscience fields. They could become members regardless of whether they qualify for an independent scope of practice.
But the vision covers more than technologists. It would accommodate internationally trained practitioners, emerging disciplines and others who are not currently eligible for professional licensure in engineering, geology or geophysics.
“ The Kananaskis Model recognizes that protection of the public is paramount,” said APEGGA Executive Director and Registrar, Neil Windsor, P.Eng. “We believe we’ve found a way to include more people, many of whom are currently practicing engineering and geoscience without being regulated or having any form of licensure whatsoever. At the same time, this meets the needs of practitioners who want to advance their careers, and it advances the concept of lifelong learning.”
In recent years APEGGA has continued to move towards inclusivity. About 100 members carry the designation R.P.T.(Eng.), which was created in 1999. As registered professional technologists in engineering, members work under a strictly defined scope of practice without supervision by a professional engineer, based on their experience and qualifications. This year, R.P.T.(Geol.) and R.P.T.(Geoph.) designations were also added to the spectrum of membership categories.
Mr. Smyth said Association representatives went into discussions with ASET with open minds. Five options were considered, and several of them probably would have been acceptable to APEGGA. The impasse came when ASET’s Council voted that the only acceptable solution the Society sees is an umbrella type of provincial act covering a number of different self-regulatory bodies.
Such a system is unnecessary, said Mr. Smyth. Technologists would find exactly what they need under the Kananaskis Model. “We’re willing to become a very different association than we are right now. Under the model we’re proposing, all members would have the full rights and privileges of membership. A certified engineering technologist, for example, with no defined scope of practice, could run for Council,” said Mr. Smyth. Engineers, geoscientists, technologists and, most of all, the Alberta public would benefit from this proposal. If you would like more information, or if you would like to know how you can help communicate APEGGA’s message to elected officials and employers, please contact Executive Director Neil Windsor, P.Eng., at email@example.com, (780) 426-3990 or 1-800-661-7020.
Also be sure to regularly check the APEGGA website at www.apega.ca for additional information on the Kananaskis Model and updates on this evolving situation.