Ask the President

Do you have a question for APEGA President Manon Plante, P.Eng.?

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What you asked 2022-23 President Lisa Doig, P.Eng.

    Professional liability insurance for members

    "Has APEGA considered providing professional liability insurance for its members directly, similar to the Alberta Law Society, without using a third party?"

    – Sasha H., P.Eng.

  • It is not APEGA’s mandate as a regulator to offer insurance to our registrants. Registrants can ask their broker to purchase professional liability insurance through Victor Canada as an Engineers Canada negotiated benefit available to APEGA registrants.

    In 2023, APEGA may explore different options to provide professional liability insurance to our registrants. However, all options will likely be through third parties. We will share any updates with our members through our member benefits newsletter and the ePEG, both of which you can sign up for through myAPEGA.

  • Technologists vs. professionals

    "What value is there in going to school for four to six years to become an engineer when a technologist who has gone to school for two years can potentially do the same thing?"

    – Hussein G., P.Geo. 

  • As you may know, there are two types of technologists: certified engineering technologists (C.E.T.s) and professional technologists (P.Tech.s).

    C.E.T.s have no defined scope of practice and must be supervised by a licensed professional. They are not permitted to authenticate or stamp documents.

    P.Tech.s can stamp documents, but they are licensed to practise within a restricted scope within engineering or geoscience that is further limited to routine application of industry-recognized codes, standards, procedures, and practices using established engineering, geoscience, or applied-science principles and methods of problem solving.

    Both of these designations differ from professional engineers and geoscientists, who are licensed to practise within the full scope of practice as defined in the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act with no limitations, can work independently, and have the legal right and requirement to take responsibility for their work. This includes stamping their work products.

    You can find more information on these designations and the supervisory requirements on our website.

    If you believe someone is using a Permit to Practice stamp who is not licensed to do so, please submit a complaint to APEGA. We can then ensure that only those qualified can practise and stamp engineering and geoscience work products. Together, we can ensure the public is protected.

  • Nominating Authority for new builders' lien

    "Does APEGA have any interest in being a Nominating Authority under the new builders’ lien act for the dispute resolution process?"

    – Sasha H., P.Eng.

  • Acting as a Nominating Authority for the construction industry under the Builders’ Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act extends beyond APEGA’s mandate as a regulator.

    Under the Act, nominating authorities are required to appoint adjudicators to resolve disputes ranging from monetary to scope of work. APEGA’s primary reason for existence is to ensure our registrants meet the high standards of ethical, professional, and technical competency necessary to earn the right to practise engineering or geoscience in the province. Our mandate relates to resolving complaints of unprofessional conduct and unskilled practice in the professions, not contractual disagreements. We also do not have the mandate, resources, or staff to develop training programs to certify adjudicators, as required under that act.

    The Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Alberta has the programs and offers the qualifications to train adjudicators. As such, that organization would be better suited to provide the necessary certification required of a Nominating Authority.

  • Women's role in the engineering workplace

    "I just read the report on diversity and women's role in the engineering workplace. Has APEGA ever considered looking at the personal outlook of members of their profession by sector? My past experience with my company indicates there is a problem. For example, in a meeting that included Responsible Members, we asked each other the following question: 'Would you want anyone in your family to go into consulting engineering?' The answer was negatively unanimous."

    – David P. T., P.Eng.

  • The engineering and geoscience professions operate in a wide range of industries. The consultations that contributed to the Women in the Workplace: A Shift in Industry Work Culture report did not isolate barriers within specific industry sectors but gave an overview of the engineering and geoscience workplaces in Alberta. In this report, we provide recommendations on actions individuals, leaders, and organizations can take, as everyone can play a role in building an inclusive workplace culture. These recommendations apply to all sectors of engineering and geoscience workplaces.

    To support permit-holding companies in their efforts towards inclusion, APEGA is developing and offering training towards building inclusive practices. We offer sessions on addressing microaggressions in the workplace, moving from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion, incorporating competency-based hiring principles and practices, and understanding and applying the basics of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in engineering and geoscience contexts. If there are topics that you would like our EDI team to explore, feel free to connect with us at [email protected].

    If there are organizations or settings where a negative sentiment, like the one you mention, is commonly felt, that can indicate a need to look into and apply our recommended actions. Perhaps APEGA could work with your company to improve the perspective.

    Thank you for reaching out. We all have a vested interest in making the engineering and geoscience professions ones we would all want to work in and recommend. 

  • Robotics/AI and data analytics

    "Do you feel robotics/AI and data analytics—which are heavily coming into play in inspection, maintenance, reliability, and other areas of engineering as well—should have designations of their own (like P.Eng. or P.Geo.) in the near future."

    –Raj K., P.Eng.

  • One of my goals as APEGA president this term is to ensure APEGA is prepared for the emergence and growth of modern engineering and geoscience fields—such as robotics and data analytics—as well as ensuring we have the tools and ability to regulate them properly and effectively. There are universities across Canada offering degrees in biomedics and software and computer engineering. I see the areas of growth for our professions.

    That being said, if a registrant has already received their P.Eng. designation, having a separate designation for these areas is unnecessary. Professional engineers (and geoscientists) have the experience and education to practise their profession without limitation, including working in robotics, data analytics, and any other areas under the P.Eng. umbrella.

    Personally, I see robotics and AI as tools for engineers and geoscientists. As part of mandatory continuing professional development, engineers and geoscientists must continue to learn and stay abreast of new developments in their area of practice, which may include the development and application of new tools such as AI and robotics.

  • Use of the title "engineer"

    "As a member of the association, I do understand the appropriateness around the use of the title "engineer" with roles in industry. This one is a bit concerning given that accredited programs and jobs have borne the title "software engineer" for quite some time. Further, our office—alongside many others in industry and other levels of government—has been advocating for the emerging technology sector. APEGA's stance on this titling issue could impact the great efforts put in by many."

    – Gurbir S. N., P.Eng.

  • As you know, APEGA receives its direction on how to regulate the practices of engineering and geoscience in the province through the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act. Through the Act, APEGA is also legally required to regulate the restricted use of titles and designations. For more than 100 years, this regulation has ensured those who use our protected titles meet high standards of practice, and it has brought about new accredited software engineering programs. As an engineer yourself, I am sure you can agree on the importance of high standards in protecting the public.

    APEGA supports the innovation and diversification of Alberta’s economy, done in a safe and sustainable way. I encourage you to read our recent news release on the matter, if you haven’t already.

    APEGA has been and continues to be open to discussion with the technology industry about the impact to public safety that can be associated with software development as its products are becoming incorporated into our everyday lives, and how best to address those risks.

    Please keep an eye on our website—we will keep members informed as new developments happen.

  • Unemployment, underemployment and non-commensurate compensations

    "I have always felt and personally experienced that the profession is highly vulnerable to job losses, unemployment, and non-commensurate compensations. Has APEGA ever conducted a survey on the unemployment and underemployment rates among its members? Does it have any interest in or jurisdiction to address this issue? Will APEGA raise this issue with the provincial and federal governments?"

    – Santhosh G., P.Eng.

  • APEGA conducts a member census annually, which includes questions on whether members are employed and working in their field. In the December 2021 census, of the 30 percent of the members who responded, 82 per cent said they were working in their area of expertise, with 70 per cent of them working full time.

    Additionally, we publish our Salary Survey every year, providing market data on current compensation and benefits for the engineering and geoscience professions in Alberta. Each spring, permit holders submit their data for analysis and aggregation, and we release the report in the fall.

    Like regulators in other provinces, APEGA does not take direct action to advocate for our members or the professions because it is outside our mandate as a regulator to do so. Our primary role is to serve as the professional regulatory body of engineering and geoscience in Alberta. A role that requires advocacy on non-regulatory issues is contrary to the necessary independence required of a regulator. Engineers Canada, of which we are a member, advocates to the federal government and issues a number of national position statements on the role of engineers in Canada’s economic recovery and productivity.

    We do, however, share information and updates on our research—such as the barriers women face in the professions—with government and other bodies to ensure they understand what we do in helping to sustain the professions. We also share and highlight our census data in discussions when it is relevant. As well, we continue to highlight the important role of professional engineers and geoscientists in the province through various initiatives, such as How of Wow. In doing so, we aim to showcase what engineering and geoscience actually are and how the professions contribute to Alberta’s economy.

  • Financial viability of the profession

    "I have two questions. Is part of APEGA's mandate ensuring the financial viability of the profession? The main principle of a professional engineer's service is to protect the public from harm as best they can. Do APEGA committees have the same duty of care when representing or providing guidance and guidelines to APEGA members?"

    – David P. T., P.Eng.

  • APEGA’s mandate is to serve as the regulatory body of engineering and geoscience professionals and to safeguard the public welfare of Albertans. Our role does not directly include ensuring the financial viability of the professions. However, APEGA does consider the sustainability of the professions when developing our guidelines.

    In the Ethical Practice guideline, APEGA recommends that licensed professionals maintain the integrity of the profession by not underbidding work or completing work without compensation, and by providing the same or similar compensation or opportunities to those of similar qualification and competence performing the same or substantially similar work. Further, permit holders and licensed professionals are encouraged to ensure pay equity across the professions.

    APEGA has recently published updates to our practice guideline Selecting Engineering and Geoscience Consultants that outlines the benefits of using a qualifications-based selection process. 

    As well, APEGA conducts an annual salary survey with permit holders, but it does not have the authority to instruct them on how much they should pay their employees or the rates charged to clients. Additionally, like regulators in other provinces, APEGA does not take direct action to advocate for our registrants or the professions because it is outside our mandate as a regulator to do so. A role that requires advocacy is contrary to the necessary independence required of a regulator. There are associations, such as the Consulting Engineers of Alberta, that have that role.

    APEGA and our licensed professionals are committed to public safety and well-being, and that commitment extends to the guidance we provide our registrants. Our Practice Review Board engages with a diverse panel of subject matter experts when developing and maintaining practice standards, guidelines, and bulletins to provide clarity and guidance and to set the minimum standard of practice permit holders and licensed professionals must meet. We review these documents on a regular basis to ensure they remain up to date and continue to protect the public interest.

    As an engineer, I have long felt we do ourselves a disservice by undervaluing our own work and the work of our engineering and geoscience colleagues. Engineering and geoscience are respected professions, and I feel we should reflect that in our work and hiring practices.

  • The Alberta Government new curriculum

    "With the Alberta Government launching a new curriculum in the Fall of 2022, I would like you to consider instigating an APEGA task force to assess the mainstream education model compared to some of the alternative models. What could strengthen democracy more than raising our youth in a democratic learning environment, where they learn a sense of responsibility by co-designing their future in developing and integrating their talents passionately?"

    – R. Don P., P.Geo.

  • I agree that one of the best ways to inspire passion in students and motivate them to dream big is to introduce them to the power of moonshot thinking and allow them the freedom to set and pursue ambitious goals. A number of my family members are actively involved in the education system. I know from them that there are a variety of education models, and they need to be matched to the learning styles of the students.

    APEGA supports meaningful, educational experiences and believes in the value of experiential learning. Our Outreach team, which consists of volunteers and APEGA staff, guides projects, offers resources, and hosts events that enable K-12 students to explore their interests, develop new skills, and experience the diverse applications of engineering and geoscience. At the university level, we offer various events, including industry mixers and the Emerging Professionals Summit, which give students an opportunity to hear from and network with professionals, such as yourself, about what they need to know as they prepare for their future career in engineering or geoscience.

    APEGA does not have the authority to directly shape government initiatives or legislation, especially those outside the engineering and geoscience professions. As a regulator, our primary mandate is to ensure our registrants meet the high standards of ethical, professional, and technical competency necessary to earn the right to practise engineering or geoscience in the province. We cannot advocate for causes, such as education reform, that are outside our mandate as a regulator. A role that requires advocacy is contrary to the necessary independence required of a regulator.

    Instead, what we can do is provide learned input on those items that are key to our regulatory mandate and the professions we regulate. We also introduce inquisitive young minds to exciting careers in engineering and geoscience and provide future members-in-training with the tools they need to succeed. As such, we have met with Alberta’s minister of education to share the efforts and accomplishments of APEGA’s Outreach team. We have also consulted with the minister of advanced education before proposing amendments to the necessary academic qualifications of our licensed professionals. These are two ways in which we support the professionals of tomorrow while remaining within our limits as a regulator.

  • Professional liability insurance

    "Do you think you might be able to ask The Personal to please offer professional liability insurance?"

    – Michael S., P.Eng.

  • I know personally how difficult and expensive it is to obtain professional liability insurance. The Personal does not currently offer it, but we will certainly talk with them to see if they can consider offering it in the future. For now, you can purchase professional liability insurance through Victor Canada as an Engineers Canada negotiated benefit available to APEGA registrants. You can learn more about this benefit on our website.

What you asked 2021-22 President Brian Pearse, P.Eng.

    Professional Governance Act

    "Some professions are actively avoiding advocacy of all kinds in response to the implementation of the Professional Governance Act and similar legislation in other provinces. This can include advocacy to government that is in the interest of public protection and safety. Is APEGA still advocating for public protection and safety? How does APEGA mitigate conflict of interest when advocating for the public may be perceived as advocating for the interest of engineers and geoscientists?"

    – Michael T., P.Eng.

  • Like regulators in other provinces, APEGA does not take action to advocate for our members or the public because it is outside our mandate as a regulator to do so. Our primary reason for existence is to serve as the professional regulatory body of engineering and geoscience in Alberta. A role that requires advocacy is contrary to the necessary independence required of a regulator.

    That said, APEGA holds a commitment to public safety and well-being through the regulation of the professions. We grant licences only to those who are qualified, ensure they remain qualified throughout their careers, and investigate and discipline those who fail to live up to our professional standards, especially in ways that may endanger public safety. We take steps to protect the public during our preliminary investigations, and we publish our discipline decisions and orders to ensure transparency.

    We also ensure every professional engineer and geoscientist in the province adheres to the same code of ethics, follows the same rules and practice standards, and has the same baseline level of education, experience, and good character.

    It’s important to note that informing the public of our role and the role of our members—such as in our How of Wow campaign to showcase the value of the professions and our objective to modernize our legislation—do not fall under the umbrella of advocacy. Rather, they fulfil the critical needs of maintaining public awareness and transparency, and continuing to have the tools necessary to remain an effective regulator. Conversely, advocacy would involve promoting a preferred outcome, such as encouraging companies to hire our members, lobbying the government to create more engineering and geoscience jobs, or supporting pipeline construction.

    For matters of concern not within our jurisdiction, we often encourage and engage in discussion with our members and the public—recently demonstrated with our piece on airborne COVID-19 transmission. Serving the public interest is our privilege and our responsibility, and we continue to do so within our limits as regulator of the engineering and geoscience professions in the province.

  • Part-time engineering positions

    "With shorter-hour work weeks and growing demand for diversity in engineering, have there been any discussions on encouraging more part-time engineering positions?"

    – Sumayr S., E.I.T.

  • APEGA has not held discussions advocating for more or different types of positions in engineering and geoscience workplaces.

    Our primary reason for existence is to serve as the professional regulatory body of engineering and geoscience in Alberta. We do not take action to increase jobs or to resolve unemployment issues because it is outside our mandate as a regulator to do so. A role that requires advocacy is contrary to the necessary independence required of a regulator.

    Instead, APEGA promotes and encourages a sustainable workforce that is innovative, diverse, and inclusive through various initiatives, such as our 30-by-30 project, our WAGE grant project, and our Women in APEGA Advisory Group.

    If you’d like to join APEGA in supporting diversity in the professions, consider discussing and sharing our initiatives on social media or volunteering for your local APEGA branch or APEGA Outreach.

  • Advice for new engineering candidates

    "I'm a new graduate E.I.T, and I’m struggling to find relevant work in my field of petroleum engineering. What advice would you give to new graduates starting out their careers?"

    – Abdurahman H., E.I.T.

  • It’s very disheartening when, after years dedicated to learning, practising, and perfecting your skills in post-secondary, the doors you thought would open for you just aren’t. The frustration you feel is valid—but don’t give up.

    Think strategically about each job you’re applying for, and each company you’re applying to, and assess what’s needed and what you bring to the table. Say yes to opportunities you might not normally consider, such as working out of town, performing shift or short-term work, or accepting a job a little to the left of what you thought you’d be doing. Seek new challenges that will stretch you—in addition to teaching you, they will show prospective employers you’re willing to grow.

    After graduating with a degree in agricultural engineering in the mid-1980s, I joined a company as a member of a survey crew. I started off working on highway and water management projects and gained a lot of experience with surveying and an understanding of construction operations. Though there were some long days in some pretty remote locales, I showcased my ability to learn, adapt, and work smart and hard. I eventually joined the company’s municipal engineering group and became involved in designs involving roads and water and wastewater systems. I look back on the early days of my career with gratitude for the work and life lessons that continue to serve me well.

    Your career trajectory may not look the way you imagined, but always remember there’s more than one way to get to where you’re going. A good place to start is by looking up companies or agencies in your field and taking note of those whose mission, vision, values, and services align with yours. Find creative ways to approach the ones that are hiring and, if you’re able, consider delivering your résumé personally to a decision maker (while observing COVID-19 safety protocols, of course). Be polite and memorable in a positive way. 

    Also consider expanding your network by volunteering for or attending events—including those hosted by APEGA, a society in your field of practice, or a university. These events are a great way to have fun, learn new things, and meet people with similar interests. A good connection could lead to a new reference or employment.

    If you haven’t already, check out the career resources APEGA offers. Peruse our job board for exclusive access to a range of postings around the world. Get matched with a mentor, who can give you personalized advice on finding and excelling at a job in your desired field.

    You may also consider getting in touch with your university’s career centre. Along with career and employment information and expertise, they often offer events, workshops, and self-guided resources geared towards supporting you in your career search and development.

  • Diversity and equity

    "What is your response to the lack of diversity and equity in the APEGA bulletins?"

    – Blanka B., P.Eng.

  • APEGA takes equity, diversity, and inclusion in the engineering and geoscience professions very seriously, and we take great pride in sharing the stories of our members from all backgrounds and walks of life through our website and weekly ePEG.

    If you’re interested in reading stories about our Indigenous members, I encourage you to check out our two most recent ones posted on our website and in previous ePEG issues:

    I hope you had a chance to read and enjoy the feature story in the July 6 ePEG, titled Meeting Calgary’s Infrastructure Needs of Tomorrow, Today. In this story, professional engineer Vivin Thomas speaks of his work on the 1,000,000-square-foot, $80-million Platform Innovation Centre and Parkade, truly the future of parking solutions in Calgary.

    If you’d like to catch up on other stories of our diverse members, here are a few more to get you started:

    Another way APEGA is supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion is through our 30-by-30 goal to increase the representation of women in the engineering and geoscience professions to 30 per cent by 2030. I encourage you to visit the diversity and inclusion resource page on our website for more information on APEGA’s initiatives.

    Thank you for your continued interest in the ePEG and the achievements of Alberta’s highly skilled professional engineers and geoscientists.

Submission criteria

Submitted questions will be randomly drawn for the president's response on a regular basis and answered on this webpage and in an upcoming ePEG newsletter.

You must be a member in good standing and provide your ID number to submit a question.

All selected questions will be shared with the submitter's first name, last initial, and designation.

We will not respond to anonymous or unprofessional submissions.

Due to capacity, not all questions are able to be answered but may be used to help determine future article topics of great interest to APEGA members.