Council composition imbalanced

Your piece titled “A PEO council who’s who” in the January/February 2016 issue of Engineering Dimensions (p. 38) was apposite and useful to our members. In particular, your colour figure across pages 38 and 39 was most insightful. It showed clearly an imbalance in the composition of council, viz. too many lieutenant governor of Ontario appointees (LGAs).

My council election platform last year included these observations:

  • Council should be smaller;
  • Achieve this by having fewer LGAs; and
  • All LGAs should be persons from other professions, known to us as “lay LGAs.” No “engineer LGAs” (practising or not) would be appointed.

My reasons have not changed over the last year. They include:

  • As a self-directed profession, we elect our own members to council; we do not need the provincial government to appoint them for us;
  • Specifically, lay LGAs provide valuable insight to council deliberations, bringing expertise from other professions plus their own valuable achievements and experience. They represent well the people and the provincial government on our council;
  • No more than, say, six lay LGAs are needed to provide this insight; and
  • The early rationale for P.Eng. LGAs was to have one from each discipline. We have not held to this for decades and, anyway, we now have over 30 disciplines. So, even if it’s still desirable (and I would say it isn’t), it’s quite impracticable now.

With this in my election platform I was elected to council, a significant number of members agreeing with me in discussions. However, as a councillor-at-large, I would still like to hear from members on this topic. If there is still good support, I intend to introduce a council motion to direct the registrar to develop a plan to (a) reduce council size, and (b) have only lay LGA appointments, such plan to be approved by council in due course. Approved changes would then be added to our list of requests to the attorney general for the next change to the engineering act.

My PEO email is or, with the editor’s approval, write a letter for publication on this Engineering Dimensions letters page.

The above is not a criticism of any P.Eng. LGA now on council, each of whom I hold in the highest regard. Indeed, had they run for council office, all of them have the qualities to be considered seriously for election by our members.

Roger Jones, P.Eng., Thornhill, ON