A joint liaison committee, made up of representatives from the CSEG, the CSPG and APEGGA, has developed an initial list of problems with the current professional registration process for Earth Scientists in Alberta.
Do you agree with their list? What should be added? What are your pet peeves? How can things be changed to work better?
Don’t just bitch to your buddies! Call, write, or fax John Pierce, our CSEG representative on this committee. (Suite 1500, 717 7th Avenue S.W, Calgary; phone: 262-5780; fax: 265-1870).
Have your ideas heard. I’ll be telling John what I think. So should you.
During the past year the CSEG/CSPG/APEGGA Liaison Committee has been wrestling with the perennial problem of geologist/geophysicist dissatisfaction with the (frequently ignored) requirement of membership in APEGGA in order to legally practice. The approach adopted has been to attempt to define the problems that underlie the dissatisfaction and to identify practical ways of dealing with them. The purpose of this article is to inform the members of all three groups of professionals of what the Committee considers to be the root causes of the dissatisfaction; to indicate the kinds of solutions that have been proposed; and to ask for additional input. Your opinions on our success in identifying problems and causes, as well as your suggestions for eliminating specific problems will be greatly appreciated.
PROBLEM: Earth scientists do not fully appreciate the purposes and functions of a professional association, as contrasted with a technical society, and the importance of professional registration and self-governance.
Information on these subjects is provided in universities by courses on professionalism and ethics in the engineering curriculum and in the curricula of some other professions. Should similar courses be required of earth scientists before graduation? For those already practicing, the necessary information can be provided through feature articles in technical and professional journals or through continuing education and correspondence courses.
PROBLEM: Earth Scientists are not fully aware of the benefits of membership in APEGGA because they are not sufficiently involved in its operations.
Earth scientists must be represented on all major APEGGA committees - the mandate of the Liaison Committee could be expanded to ensure that this is achieved.
Areas of common concern for all three organizations need to be identified (eg. the environment, public safety, etc.), and the common concerns must be addressed by joint committees rather than by separate committees in each organization.
PROBLEM: For a variety of reasons, many related to genuine differences in practice between the engineering and earth science professions, membership in APEGGA is not attractive to earth scientists.
The differences in practice need to be identified and defined, and, where warranted, recognized by change in APEGGA Regulations. Suggested changes that could be considered include:
elimination of the requirement for both personal and corporate registration for personal corporations.
revision of the professional practice exams to better reflect the differences in practice between engineering and the earth sciences.
revision of the permit fee structure to recognize corporation size, particularly with respect to small consulting companies.
Among other suggestions from Committee members for making APEGGA membership more attractive for earth scientists were: - rigorous enforcement of the Act - reduction in the cost of writing the entrance exam, (eg. making required texts available for rental rather than requiring that they be purchased) - reduction of fees for initial registration
- aggressive advertisement of the benefits of membership.
A subcommittee has been struck specifically to review current interpretations of the Code of Ethics in the light of the differences in practice that exist among the professions. The committee consists of John Peirce, P.Geoph. (who is now the Chairman of the Liaison Committee), Ian Halladay, P.Geol, and Gerry DeSourcy, P.Eng. They seek input from members of APEGGA, CSEG, and CSPG.
While it is unrealistic to expect that an organization with a membership as large as that of APEGGA will ever satisfy all of its members, it is not unrealistic to hope that it can accommodate itself to satisfy the professional needs of three disciplines with a much in common as engineering, geology and geophysics. With the active participation of the membership and the cooperation and goodwill of the Boards of the three organizations concerned, APEGGA may soon truly achieve its Mission Statement goal of “enhancing and providing leadership” for all three professions. Let’s all get involved! Now is the time to make your feelings on this important issue known to your organization.
Roy A. Stuart