The Link - Current Issue
APEGBC's Council of elected members and government representatives meets throughout the year to conduct the business of association governance. The following are the highlights of the February 12, 2016 meeting.
Volunteer Appointments Approved
Council has approved 30 appointments of APEGBC volunteers. These included appointments on the Professional Practice Committee, APEGBC/ABCFP Joint Practice Board, and Advisory Task Force on Corporate Practice.
Changes Reduce Registration Waiting Time under Looking-to-Exempt Policy
APEGBC’s Looking-to-Exempt Policy provides a means to recognize the academic qualifications of applicants with a non-accredited engineering degree who are able to demonstrate they have appropriate engineering or geoscience experience. The experience threshold for applicants to be considered under this policy is five years. The assessment of such applicants whose five years of experience is not in Canada or the United States may include an interview, and/or review by competency or experience assessors.
Previously, applicants meeting the defined level of academic qualification, low risk reference profile and at least five years of experience in Canada or the United States were brought directly to the Registration Committee for approval. However, applicants may have had to wait six to eight weeks between meetings of the committee for their registration to be approved. At the recommendation of the Registration Committee, Council has now approved changes to the Looking-to-Exempt policy that would see these applicants added to the list of ‘non-contentious’ items approved by the Director, Registration or Associate Director, Engineering Admissions. The changes now also take into account experience acquired outside of Canada or the United States under this policy if the required Canadian Environment competencies for registration have been demonstrated and vouched for by appropriate references.
Professional Practice Examination Fee set at $310
To achieve licensure, candidates for professional engineering and geoscience registration in BC must write and pass the Professional Practice Examination. The examination consists of 100 multiple choice questions and an essay section. The provider of the exam is The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA).
In October 2015, APEGA converted to a computer-based examination from a paper-based examination. This resulted in an increase of $55 for the multiple choice section and a $25 charge for the essay, which was previously handwritten. Currently APEGBC charges exam candidates $230 to sit the exam.
To recognize these cost increases, Council approved an increase to $310 for the June 2016 Professional Practice Examination session and, at the April 2016 Council meeting, will review and reconfirm the fee for future examination sessions.
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2014-2017 Strategic Plan Update
Council received information on current progress towards achieving the goals indicated in the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan and reviewed the targets for Year 2 of the plan. A significant number of the Year 2 targets are on track.
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Changes to support Member Engagement with Council Meetings
At the 2015 AGM the following motion was passed: “That Council consider increasing its transparency and accountability to members, whereby all members may access the Association’s website, in an easy and timely way, in order to view all agendas and supporting materials of Council meetings that are deemed ‘open’. ”
Currently materials for Open Council Meetings are not proactively published, although they are provided to members and the public upon request and many APEGBC documents are publicly available on the association’s website, including the Strategic Plan, Key Performance Indicator (KPI) status, Council Governance Policies, and all approved minutes of Open Council meetings. Also published on the website are the dates for all scheduled Council meetings.
In order to facilitate greater member participation, Council approved a motion to publish its Open Agenda and supporting materials on the APEGBC website no fewer than 5 days prior to the Council meeting.
Decision on Publication of Staff Salary Information
At this year’s AGM, the following motion was passed: “That Council considers publishing in the financial reports the total compensation (the sum of salaries and benefits) for all staff who receive over $100,000 per annum, as well as their reimbursed expenses.”
Council had a lengthy discussion on this matter. It was recognized that members are looking for confirmation that APEGBC salaries are reasonable and that appropriate oversight is exercised in the setting of salaries. Council therefore directed staff to publish the staff compensation policy as well as information on the processes followed for administration, compliance and oversight. This information will be available on the APEGBC website shortly.
Changes to AGM Special Guest Policy
APEGBC has a Council-approved policy for special guest attendance at the APEGBC annual conference and AGM, which specifies the number of complimentary event tickets offered and expenses covered for all special guests. The Division of Engineers and Geoscientists in the Resource Sector (DEGIRS) requested amendments to the policy to allow divisions more opportunity to interact with members, Council members and staff at the annual conference and AGM.
To ensure that the process would be fair, fiscally prudent and consistent for all volunteer groups, Council appointed a working group to review the special guest policy and make recommendations. The working group reviewed each volunteer group category and discussed their participation at the AGM.
Generally, the working group felt that the subsidies provided to the majority of the volunteer and guest groups were appropriate. Two groups that were discussed in further detail were divisions and branches. After careful consideration, the working group recommended that no change be made to the package offered to divisions, and that the package offered to branch representatives be made consistent with what is offered to the divisions, revising the policy to invite one representative from each branch to attend the Fall Branch Representatives Meeting, rather than two.
The working group reasoned that it is more important to have two representatives from each branch participate at the full-day Spring meeting and the use of other technology such as teleconferencing could be used to increase participation from other representatives at the Fall meeting. It also noted that Council endeavours to build strong and meaningful relationships with branches through the Vice President branch visits and the Council/Branch pairings. Council approved the revision to the AGM Special Guest Policy.
First Nations Territorial Acknowledgment
At this year’s AGM, the following motion was passed: “That Council consider the inclusion of territorial acknowledgement in all meetings.”
At its December 2015, the Executive Committee discussed the AGM motion and reviewed a report from staff outlining the practices of other professional associations with respect to territorial acknowledgment. In consideration of the advice received from the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre and the practices of other professional associations, the Executive Committee recommended to Council that territorial acknowledgment be included for large public meetings and events such as the annual conference and AGM, and professional member induction ceremonies. Council approved the recommendation, and staff will connect with the local BC Friendship Centre to ensure appropriate scripts and procedures are developed to support territorial acknowledgement at these events.
New Registration Provisions for Refugees without Traditional Documentation
At the recommendation of the Registration Committee, Council has approved a policy that will create provisions for refugees, displaced persons and persons in a refugee-like situation who are unable to obtain or provide traditional documentary evidence for registration, while ensuring administrative fairness and requiring sufficient proof that standards have been met. Under the policy, applicants in the above situation will be given the opportunity to provide alternate means of proof of their qualifications.
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Consultation on Potential Change to Limited Licence Title
At its June 19, 2015 meeting, Council made several resolutions regarding further
exploration for adding value to the engineering and geoscience licensee grade of membership. This included a motion that that APEGBC study the pros and cons of changing the titles “engineering licensee” (Eng.L.) and “geoscience licensee” (Geo.L.) to include the word “professional.”
Based on market research and feedback from the Limited License Subcommittee, the Registration Committee recommended to Council that stakeholder consultation be conducted to consider alternate designations for engineering and geoscience licence holders, involving current licensees, their employers and professional engineer and professional geoscientist clients, relevant authorities having jurisdiction and a representative sample of practising professional members. Council approved the recommendation.