SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2016
PRESIDENT AND CHAIR: THOMAS CHONG, MSc, P.ENG., FEC, PMP
The 94th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) was held at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario on Saturday, April 30, 2016.
President Thomas Chong advised that PEO was webcasting the meeting to increase the accessibility of PEO information to more members, no matter where they are located.
The President thanked the participants and attendees of the previous evening’s Volunteer Leadership Conference. He then acknowledged the seven inductees into PEO’s Order of Honour, as well as the recipients of the President’s Award and G. Gordon M. Sterling Engineering Intern Award, all of whom were honoured during a gala ceremony the prior evening.
President Chong announced that Jesse Brown, a digital media expert and self-described disruptive journalist, would be the keynote luncheon speaker and that the 506th meeting of PEO Council would be held following the luncheon. The President invited delegates of the AGM to participate in social media conversations using #PEOAGM.
He then advised that the President’s Chain of Office had been introduced into the formal proceedings of the AGM. He said the Chain of Office acknowledges the responsibilities, authority and dignity attached to the office of the President of PEO.
CALL TO ORDER
The President advised that since proper notice for the meeting had been published in Engineering Dimensions, as provided for under section 20(i) of By-Law No. 1, and a quorum was present, the meeting was officially called to order.
INTRODUCTION OF COUNCIL
President Chong introduced the members of the 2015-2016 PEO Council.
The Executive Committee members: J. David Adams, P.Eng., MBA, FEC, Past President; George Comrie, P.Eng., President-elect; Pat Quinn, PhD (HC), P.Eng., C.Eng., FCAE, FEC, FIEI, Vice President (elected); Bob Dony, PhD, P.Eng., CEng, FIEE, FEC, Vice President (appointed); and Councillors Rebecca Huang, LLB, Changiz Sadr, P.Eng., FEC, and himself as chair.
The remaining members of Council: Councillors-at-Large Roydon Fraser, PhD, P.Eng., and Roger Jones, BSc, P.Eng.; Regional Councillors David Brown, P.Eng., BDS, C.E.T., and Charles Kidd, P.Eng. (Eastern Region); Nicholas Colucci, P.Eng., FEC (East Central Region); Serge Robert, P.Eng., and Dan Preley, P.Eng. (Northern Region); Len King, P.Eng., FEC, and Ewald Kuczera, MSc, P.Eng. (Western Region); Danny Chui, P.Eng., FEC, and Warren Turnbull, P.Eng. (West Central Region); Lieutenant Governor-in-Council Appointees Ishwar Bhatia, MEng, P.Eng., Santosh Gupta, PhD, P.Eng., FEC, Richard Hilton, P.Eng., Bill Kossta, Mary Long-Irwin, Sharon Reid, C.Tech., Rakesh Shreewastav, P.Eng., AVS, FEC, and Marilyn Spink, P.Eng.
PEO’s directors to Engineers Canada for 2015-2016: Diane Freeman, P.Eng., FEC, Annette Bergeron, P.Eng., FEC, Chris Roney, P.Eng., BDS, FEC, George Comrie and Rakesh Shreewastav. President Chong also acknowledged PEO Registrar Gerard McDonald, P.Eng.
ORDER OF BUSINESS
President Chong welcomed the special guests attending the meeting and introduced representatives from provincial and national engineering associations from across the country:
- Digvir S. Jayas, P.Eng., FEC, President, and Kim Allen, P.Eng., FEC, CEO, Engineers Canada;
- Mike Wrinch, PhD, P.Eng., FEC, President, and Ann English, P.Eng., CEO and Registrar, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia;
- Steve Hrudey, PhD, P.Eng., FEC, President and Mark Flint, P.Eng., CEO, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta; and
- Margaret Anne Hodges, P.Eng., FEC, President, and Dennis Paddock, P.Eng., FEC, Executive Director and Registrar, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan.
He also welcomed representatives of PEO’s partners in the Ontario engineering community and allied professions:
- Karen Chan, P.Eng., President and Chair, and Sandro Perruzza, CEO, Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE);
- Bruce Potter, P.Eng., Chair, Consulting Engineers of Ontario;
- David Thomson, CEO, Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT); and
- Doris Chee, President, and Aina Budrevics, Acting Executive Director, Ontario Association of Landscape Architects.
The President then asked all present to stand for a moment of silence in remembrance of those PEO members who passed away in 2015.
ADOPTION OF MINUTES
President Chong referred members to the minutes of the 2015 AGM.
It was moved by Nick Colucci, seconded by Warren Turnbull that the minutes of the 2015 AGM, as published in the November/December 2015 issue of Engineering Dimensions and as distributed at the meeting, be adopted.
BUSINESS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES
The President reviewed the actions taken by Council on submissions discussed at the 2015 AGM. Members made five submissions to the meeting, four of which were passed and therefore reviewed by Council at its September meeting.
President Chong noted that the first submission dealt with establishing term limits for Council positions and the second submission dealt with establishing a succession planning system to identify candidates for Council positions, on the assumption that incumbents would have to vacate positions more frequently.
He advised that given the close relationship of the two resolutions, Councillor Brown had offered to work with the movers of the submissions to draft a motion establishing a Council Term Limits Task Force with Terms of Reference for presentation at the November Council meeting. The President said that this offer was accepted and, at the November meeting, Council affirmed, in principle, that term limits and succession planning should be established for all Council positions. President Chong said Council then directed the Registrar to develop the draft terms of reference and a proposed list of members for a task force to examine issues around term limits and succession planning, and provide a report with recommendations for its approval before the 2017 Annual General Meeting.
The President continued noting the third submission requested that future PEO budgets be based on its needs as a regulator, rather than matching spending to projected income. President Chong said that although no specific action was taken on this submission, PEO has an established internal control system for expenditures and purchase of goods and services on a value basis, to ensure PEO’s financial resources are used effectively and according to sound and consistent procedures. He stated that each department head also receives monthly reports, detailing variances to budget, for internal control and cost analysis; and the Finance Committee reviews variances once every three months and seeks explanations on significant variances.
President Chong then discussed the fourth submission, which called for a PEO policy to grant access to a PEO webmail account (@peo.on.ca) to active members providing volunteer hours and service on PEO Council, approved committees, a chapter executive or a chapter directorate. The Registrar spoke to this issue and said PEO can grant chapters access to its global email system but doing so for all 1000 PEO volunteers could cost up to $18,000. The Registrar also informed Council that PEO research has shown that an overwhelming majority of members are not interested in this type of access. Council agreed the matter should be referred to the IT Envisioning Group for further review.
The President then referred members to the auditors’ report and financial statements, which were published to PEO’s website prior to the meeting, distributed as part of the meeting registration package and printed in the May/June 2016 issue of Engineering Dimensions.
He also noted the Questions and Answers on PEO Operations booklet, which addressed common questions on PEO operations and was included in the registration package.
With no questions from the floor regarding the financial statements, it was moved by Ewald Kuczera, P.Eng., and seconded by Changiz Sadr, P.Eng., that the financial statements, as presented, be received.
APPOINTMENT OF AUDITORS
President Chong advised that the Audit Committee recommended the firm of Deloitte LLP be reappointed.
It was moved by Ewald Kuczera, seconded by Changiz Sadr, that the firm of Deloitte LLP be appointed auditors of the association for the 2016 financial year.
Registrar McDonald reported that revenues for the year ended December 31, 2015 were $23,715,419 less expenses of $22,784,243, resulting in a surplus of $931,176. Cash reserves, he noted, were $8.2 million, double the amount since 2012. The Registrar said PEO continued to have the lowest P.Eng. fees in Canada and has the highest ratio of members to employees. Licence fees, he added, were frozen for the ninth consecutive year.
The Registrar said PEO issued 2,449 new licences in 2015, the second highest year of licensing activity. He then provided additional statistics for 2015:
- 79,735 professional engineers;
- 12,596 engineering interns (EITs);
- 5,250 Certificates of Authorization;
- 1,085 consulting engineers;
- 250 limited engineering licences (LELs); and
- 23 provisional licences.
He said PEO’s Financial Credit Program now represents 50 per cent of P.Eng. applications.
The Registrar highlighted progress on initiatives related to PEO’s 2015-2017 Strategic Plan. He said that of the 96 specific strategies identified in the plan, 40 per cent have been completed, 50 per cent were in progress, 10 per cent had yet to start, and the plan was on track for completion within the prescribed timeframe. Registrar McDonald stated that each strategy has a number of associated activities and that 66 per cent of these had been complete with 13 per cent underway. The final 21 per cent had yet to commence. Further to this, the Registrar said 18 strategies were added to the original 96, demonstrating that the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan is a living, evolving document.
The Registrar then reviewed some of PEO’s accomplishments in 2015, including implementation of the Aptify licence holder database software and consolidation of the IT infrastructure hosting, which reduced the number of suppliers from four to one. Registrar McDonald noted the latter initiative has led to savings of approximately $200,000 annually.
The Registrar also noted that, in 2015, Council approved the Act Change Protocol, which allows Council to regularly review proposed act changes and policy intent so PEO is ready when government signals its willingness to consider changes to the act.
Register McDonald reminded that one area of concern brought forward by chapter representatives at the 2015 AGM involved PEO’s inefficient eblast capabilities. The Registrar advised that the Prism system was replaced by a new system, Campaigner, which is fully operational in all chapters and provides improved capabilities to disseminate eblasts and measure analytics data.
INTRODUCTION OF ASSOCIATION GUESTS–ENGINEERS CANADA
The President invited Engineers Canada to provide an update.
Engineers Canada President Digvir Jayas thanked PEO for the invitation to attend the AGM. He said he was honoured to bring greetings and best wishes from Engineers Canada, the national body that unites the engineering regulators and the engineering profession in Canada.
Dr. Jayas shared that Engineers Canada launched a new website in conjunction with National Engineering Month that encourages people, through unique interactive features, to spread the word about engineering throughout the year.
He said the national body is also working on an interactive, online portal that addresses the labour market needs of engineers in Canada. Dr. Jayas said the new EngScape website is directed at engineers, new immigrants and students considering engineering as a career. He added the site features employment rates, salary numbers, university enrolment and immigrant employment figures–all of which are broken down by province and engineering discipline.
Dr. Jayas commented that great strides are being made in fostering diversity within the engineering profession and that Engineers Canada’s Sustainable Profession Committee is working with all provinces and territories toward ensuring that 30 per cent of newly licensed engineers are women by the year 2030. He noted Ontario is showing great promise in reaching this goal, having already attained 16 per cent.
Dr. Jayas also announced that in support of increasing diversity in engineering and geoscience workplaces, Engineers Canada and Geoscientists Canada jointly published Managing Transitions, a national planning resource guide that outlines best practices for employees and employers managing maternity and parental leave in the engineering and geoscience professions.
He promoted the launch of a new health and dental insurance program for retirees with partner Manulife. The Professional Retiree Health and Dental Insurance offers benefits that specifically cater to the next stage in life and starts where government coverage ends–for both routine and unexpected medical expenses.
Dr. Jayas then provided an update on Engineers Canada’s government relations program, noting his approval of the government’s commitment in the latest federal budget to building resilient and sustainable infrastructure, improving water distribution and treatment, and investing in First Nations communities. He also shared that Engineers Canada organized its most successful Contact Day on Parliament Hill yet in March, connecting with 40 MPs and additional meetings continuing throughout April to discuss climate-resilient infrastructure, diversity in the engineering profession, and the important role that engineers play in safeguarding the environment, the economy and Canadians.
In closing, Dr. Jayas thanked PEO’s Registrar, Gerard McDonald, PEO Council and staff for their ongoing support of Engineers Canada and said he looks forward to continued collaboration between the associations.
INTRODUCTION OF ASSOCIATION GUESTS–ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS AND GEOSCIENTISTS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
The President invited the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC) to provide an update.
APEGBC President Mike Wrinch said he believes it is APEGBC’s responsibility to ensure it has the right tools to be an agile and progressive regulator so 21st-century engineering and geoscience practice continues to serve the public interest. He noted APEGBC proposed changes to its governing legislation, including tools to address public safety challenges, accountability in governance, and most significantly, a request to enable APEGBC Council to pass bylaws on matters related to professional practice and public safety without member ratification.
He said that as self-regulating professions, there is a social contract with the public: in return for the ability to self-regulate, his organization commits to engineering and geoscience practice that puts the public interest first. Motivated by the belief that professional development reporting supports public confidence in the profession and maintains public trust, Wrinch said that APEGBC Council proposed a bylaw to introduce a mandatory continuing professional development program in BC. He stated that following extensive consultation and communication campaigns, the bylaw was not ratified by members.
Wrinch also noted that, in light of the Mount Polley Tailings Dam failure, APEGBC is examining whether to pursue regulatory authority over engineering or geoscience companies.
He further commented that APEGBC is supportive of the Engineers Canada goal of having women make up a minimum of 30 per cent of the engineering profession in Canada by 2030.
Wrinch ended his address by stating: “As engineers, I have great faith in our ability to be leaders and in the change we can effect. I thank you for the work that you’re doing. It’s up to us to keep going.”
INTRODUCTION OF ASSOCIATION GUESTS–ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS AND GEOSCIENTISTS OF ALBERTA
President Chong then invited the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to provide an update.
APEGA President Dr. Steve Hrudey said it was his pleasure to attend and to bring greetings from APEGA on behalf of his Council colleagues and members.
Dr. Hrudey said APEGA recently held its annual general meeting and was pleased PEO President Chong was able to attend along with representatives from many other constituent associations.
He noted APEGA has been taking a closer look at its regulatory processes and, since 2014, at the request of the Government of Alberta, APEGA has been engaging its members, permit holders and other stakeholders in a review of the Engineering and Geoscience Professionals Act–the legislation that governs APEGA.
Dr. Hrudey stated that 40 proposed recommendations to the act have been reviewed to date, including:
- Scopes of practice;
- Maximum fines; and
- Public dissemination of decisions.
Should the government accept the recommendations, he said, it is hoped a new act will be proclaimed by the end of 2018.
Hrudey extended best wishes as PEO celebrates its 94th Annual General Meeting.
INTRODUCTION OF ASSOCIATION GUESTS–ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS AND GEOSCIENTISTS OF SASKATCHEWAN
The President invited the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS) to provide an update.
APEGS President Margaret Anne Hodges brought greetings from Saskatchewan. She said APEGS is keeping an eye on the economy and the nature of projects within the province that employ engineers and geoscientists. She said that while Saskatchewan has not been hit economically as hard as neighbouring Alberta, they do expect to see changes in their membership. Hodges said that Saskatchewan’s strength is its diversity, but with a number of large projects wrapping up, they expect to see a change in 2015 registration statistics, which they are monitoring closely.
Hodges stated that key topics for the coming 12 to 18 months were identified during the association’s annual strategic planning session. She said APEGS continues to place high emphasis on Continuing Professional Excellence (CPE) reporting and believes it’s something a high majority of its members undertake every year. The challenge, she added, is reporting and it is important to move the bar up to demonstrate that regulation of the profession in the public interest is rigorous and ongoing. Hodges said reporting CPE was simple and she would be reporting CPE hours for attending PEO’s annual meeting since annual general meetings are eligible credit hours in Saskatchewan.
Hodges then added that APEGS has endorsed the 30 by 30 initiative of Engineers Canada.
She recognized and thanked retiring Executive Director and Registrar Dennis Paddock, P.Eng. She said Paddock has led the organization for the past 23 years and has stewarded many changes, including the last act revision, welcoming geoscientists to the organization and reorganizing the office to meet the demands of the 21st century regulatory environment, all of which position APEGS for a strong future. She added that APEGS has established a strong and diverse Selection Committee and has selected an HR firm to lead the organization through the replacement hiring process.
INTRODUCTION OF ASSOCIATION GUESTS–ONTARIO SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS
The President invited the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) to provide an update.
OSPE President and Chair Karen Chan expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to attend and bring greetings on behalf of the society.
Chan explained that OSPE’s mandate is to elevate the profile of the engineering profession by advocating with governments, promoting the work of engineers to the media and public and providing opportunities for ongoing learning and networking.
She said OSPE believes the Ontario government needs to appreciate and invest in its engineers and therefore they must be at the table when important decisions are made regarding infrastructure improvements, climate change initiatives, and research and innovation funding.
She added that OSPE also believes that the media and the public must understand what engineers are doing for society and why engineers should be valued.
Throughout 2015, Chan said, OSPE and its members were featured in print, broadcast and online media stories across Ontario 18 times, reaching an audience of more than 2.5 million Ontarians. She stated OSPE will continue these efforts through 2016, but more input from all of Ontario’s engineers is needed to ensure issues that matter to the profession are being addressed.
Chan invited anyone who had questions or would like to get involved to speak with her so she can connect them with the appropriate OSPE staff member.
INTRODUCTION OF ASSOCIATION GUESTS–CONSULTING ENGINEERS OF ONTARIO
The President invited Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO) to provide an update.
CEO Chair Bruce Potter expressed thanks for the invitation to be part of PEO’s AGM. He said engineers create important links between scientific advances and commercial applications to solve society’s greatest needs. More importantly, Potter said, engineers play a crucial role in protecting public safety and engineering is a profession that comes with great responsibilities.
Potter, on behalf of Consulting Engineers of Ontario, applauded PEO for its commitment to ensure all professional engineers are appropriately qualified because this ultimately leads to the protection of the public.
He said CEO, like PEO, believes in the profession’s fiduciary responsibility to be the guardians of public safety. Potter noted that CEO also believes a sustainable business environment is what enables engineers to perform their responsibility. As an organization, Potter added, CEO strives to change the business environment through persistent and effective persuasion. He stated that CEO can only be persuasive when they have support from their partners, like PEO. It is only by working together to speak with confidence and authenticity, Potter concluded, that the voice of the engineering profession will become more powerful and create a direct impact.
INTRODUCTION OF ASSOCIATION GUESTS–ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF CERTIFIED ENGINEERING TECHNICIANS AND TECHNOLOGISTS
The President invited the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) to provide an update.
OACETT Chief Executive Officer David Thomson spoke on behalf of OACETT President Bob van den Berg, who was unable to attend. Thomson expressed OACETT’s appreciation to President Chong for his hard work and co-operative working relationship, and offered that his organization was looking forward to working with incoming PEO President George Comrie as well as President-elect Bob Dony.
Thomson thanked Sharon Reid, OACETT representative on PEO Council for the last six years, and Changiz Sadr, PEO representative on OACETT Council, who has served four years.
Thomson mentioned that engineers and technologists work well together in the field, at the chapter level and corporately. He said that OACETT has worked well with the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) to resurrect the National Engineering Month Program, as well as with PEO to implement the Licensed Engineering Technologist (LET) designation.
INTRODUCTION OF ASSOCIATION GUESTS–ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS
The President invited the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) to provide an update.
Newly-elected OALA President Doris Chee, along with Aina Budrevics, Acting Executive Director, brought greetings from their association. Chee thanked President Chong for his invitation to join and participate in PEO’s Annual General Meeting and congratulated incoming President Comrie, noting that they were glad to witness his first day on the job.
Chee noted that both she and Budrevics attended the awards gala the preceding evening and enjoyed the event, especially the investiture of volunteers. Chee said that, like PEO, OALA is made up of many volunteers. Without their time and efforts, she added, OALA would not be as strong as it is. As much as it brings fulfillment to those who volunteer, it brings engagement and collaboration among peers.
Budrevics said she met President Chong and his wife Lily at the OALA AGM in Niagara Falls in April, and thanked him for taking part in the conference. She said OALA’s goal is to build awareness of the need to improve regulation of landscape architecture in Ontario by modernizing its legislation to achieve a practice act to grant licensure and disciplinary control of its members. This will ensure better health, safety and wellness for the public, she noted.
Budrevics added that OALA is looking to PEO as an example of how to communicate with landscape designers to see how they can support their goal of achieving formal title recognition, and looks forward to its continued collaboration with PEO and its Council.
PRESIDENT CHONG’S OUTGOING REPORT
President Chong said that as his term nears its conclusion, he has reflected on PEO’s progress over the past 12 months and wished to share some thoughts on the work of Council. He quoted famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tsu, who once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” President Chong said that, together, first steps were taken at last year’s AGM and PEO has made great strides since in advancing and regulating engineering practice in the public interest. He noted that it has been said that feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. President Chong expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to serve the members as the 96th President of PEO and thanked members for embracing diversity and inclusion, and helping to maintain an environment in which all PEO members and staff are valued, respected, supported and given the opportunity to reach their full potential. He also thanked the more than 1000 PEO volunteers who work diligently and enthusiastically to advance the profession through Council, chapters, committees and task forces.
Referencing Canadian hockey king Wayne Gretzky, who said that a good hockey player plays where the puck is but a great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be, President Chong indicated that, similarly, PEO needs to continuously improve the profession and raise the relevance and the value of the P.Eng. licence to society, and, in turn, to the licence holders.
He stated that he had set three priorities for his presidency based on innovation, recognition and collaboration.
Initiatives related to innovation included PEO’s 2015-2017 Strategic Plan, which was launched at the 2015 Council Retreat. The plan determined the priorities for PEO programs and initiatives that would help guide Council, other volunteers and staff over the three-year period.
President Chong also noted that Council approved regulations for granting the Licensed Engineering Technologist (LET) class of limited licence in 2015. This helps recognize the important role played in the profession by limited licence holders, who are certified engineering technologists and members of OACETT, and provides them with a protected title and designation from PEO.
The President reported that PEO implemented its new Aptify database software on April 1, 2016 together with the new website Member Portal. The innovative portal enables licence holders, engineering interns and, for the first time, licence applicants to update their contact information, change their communication preferences and pay their fees online. He thanked PEO’s IT staff and subject matter experts who worked hard to ensure a successful transition.
President Chong then thanked members of the Finance and Audit Committees, as well as Council and staff, for delivering a surplus budget for 2016. He commented that PEO is committed to delivering high quality regulatory programs, designing thoughtful policy and above all, working to improve and protect the health, safety and well-being of all Ontarians in a fiscally responsible manner. He also noted that PEO’s 36 chapters received a 10 per cent increase in funding in 2016, to enable healthy growth, broaden local outreach efforts and enhance their involvement in regulatory functions.
Continuously improving PEO’s core, self-regulatory functions is key to greater recognition for engineering licensure, President Chong continued, which is why significant attention is devoted to enforcement efforts and the development of additional professional practice guidelines and standards to ensure engineering work meets a recognized standard by PEO licence holders. PEO expressed great displeasure at the government’s surprising decision late in 2015 to cancel the repeal of the industrial exception in the Professional Engineers Act, the President said, noting that the industrial exception allows non-engineers to carry out certain types of engineering work at manufacturing facilities.
President Chong compared the exception to medical doctors not needing to be licensed if they work in hospitals. He stated that repealing the industrial exception is in the best interest of the public to ensure the safety of all Ontarians where engineering is practised, which is PEO’s mandate. The repeal is not red tape as some have suggested, he said, because it serves to protect the public interest and promotes safety. The President asked if repealing the industrial exception saves just one life, wouldn’t it be worth it? President Chong said he believes good engineers reduce costs, improve productivity and protect the health, safety and well-being of Ontarians. Engineering must be viewed as an investment for the future of any wealth-generating enterprise, not as a cost of production, he added. To raise the relevance and value of the engineering profession, starting with this fundamental belief in the profession is crucial. The President said PEO remains committed to demonstrating the value licence holders bring to Ontario manufacturing.
President Chong then announced that PEO is working to increase the profile of its volunteers by creating a new level of volunteer recognition. If approved, the award would be presented by the Ontario Lieutenant-Governor, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, at PEO’s annual Order of Honour awards gala.
The President went on to discuss his third priority area, collaboration. He stated that Council supports the idea that in a self-regulating profession, such as engineering, each member has a part to play in its regulation. Future leaders in self-regulation, he said, will have to commit to self-monitoring, self-surveillance and relentless self-improvement. President Chong said that to further engage members in regulatory activity, PEO held seven town hall meetings throughout the province in 2015. These meetings allowed PEO to consult with members on how it can strengthen the engineering profession by implementing the recommendations of the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry in ways that make sense for both practitioners and the public. The President extended his sincere thanks to the more than 500 engineers and interns who attended the meetings and provided valuable feedback which was brought back to Council for thoughtful discussions.
President Chong noted that one of the Inquiry’s recommendations was to establish a system of mandatory continuing professional education for licence holders. He said PEO is the only engineering regulator in Canada without some form of professional development regime for its licence holders. The President offered that PEO’s proposed program is not a one-size-fits-all solution and is different from those in other provinces. He said its requirements are based on the risk to the public posed by each licence holder’s work. President Chong stated that Council believes this is a unique program that is both meaningful and fair, and that Council is committed to putting any mandatory aspects of the program to the members for a vote after they have had the opportunity to test out the program.
President Chong then noted that PEO extended its support to local communities and charities last year through corporate challenges, including the Big Bike Ride with OSPE, which raised donations for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Chong reported that work is already underway for the 2016 Big Bike Ride and he looks forward to seeing this corporate challenge emulated throughout the 36 PEO chapters.
President Chong said he was fortunate to have served on such a co-operative and productive team. He added that he has enjoyed working with the dedicated men and women on Council who shared his focus on regulatory matters and worked hard to advance and regulate the practice of engineering to protect the public interest. The President then extended heartfelt thanks to PEO’s Registrar, Gerard McDonald, his senior management team and their staff for their ongoing support of everyone’s concerted efforts, and to the 36 chapters and all those who contributed to PEO initiatives and programs.
President Chong thanked his wife Lily Yan and concluded by saying it has been his honour to represent the members as the 96th President of PEO.
(CP)² TASK FORCE PRESENTATION
The President called on the Chair of PEO’s Continuing Professional Competence Program (CP)² Task Force, Annette Bergeron, to provide a report.
Bergeron explained that the title of her presentation, “Beyond Licensure,” reflects the fact that after an engineer receives his or her licence from PEO, there is typically no further contact between PEO as a regulator and the licence holder, other than the annual fee payment.
Bergeron informed that in March 2014, Council created a Continuing Professional Development, Competence and Quality Assurance (CPDCQA) Task Force. The task force presented its final report and recommendation to Council in November 2015, which was accepted, on time and on budget. The task force was then stood down. In February 2016, Council created the Continuing Professional Competence Program (CP)² Task Force.
Bergeron first reviewed the work of the CPDCQA Task Force stating that, in October 2015, then Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur, in her one-year update to Elliot Lake Inquiry Commissioner Paul Bélanger, indicated the Ministry of the Attorney General was liaising with PEO on mandatory continuing professional education and potential amendments to the Professional Engineers Act. Bergeron noted that PEO had considered mandatory professional development previously but the idea was ultimately voted against by members in a referendum. She said the task force did not want to repeat mistakes of the past and preferred to create something new through leading best practices. This was accomplished, Bergeron said, through consultations to understand members’ attitudes towards mandatory CPD. She noted that Ipsos Reid was engaged to conduct three focus group sessions involving 29 participants to ascertain, in detail, attitudes to the principles of the proposed CPD. They also conducted an online survey of 6786 respondents (8.4 per cent of licence holders). Furthermore, seven town halls across Ontario, attended by herself, President Chong and Registrar McDonald, were conducted to provide members the opportunity to discuss and provide input regarding the proposed CPD program.
Bergeron explained that three conclusions emerged from this research: for most practitioners, a mandatory CPD program would not change their current practices; the proposed program would formalize normal CPD activities within the engineering profession; and, the program would allow PEO to collect data to demonstrate these activities to the public.
Bergeron said the CPDCQA Task Force recommended, and Council agreed, that CPD requirements should be based on the risk to the public attributable to an individual practitioner’s engineering practice. Risk mitigators applicable to a practitioner’s practice would reduce CPD requirements, she added. Bergeron noted that this is individualized approach to determining CPD requirements is unique and that the proposed program is focused only on technical activities, which is different than what is currently in place across the country.
Bergeron then provided an update on the activities of the (CP)² Task Force, which she also chairs. She said the composition of this task force is different than the first task force in that the majority of members are Councillors. The task force is to continue developing the risk review questionnaire, develop a beta risk review and reporting website for user testing, provide guidelines and other information to assist licence holders with annual online reporting, and recommend to Council what may be the appropriate referendum plan and timing.
Bergeron reviewed the work plan, which is to have the beta website available for Council and focus group testing in June 2016. The final report, with recommendations to Council, is due December 2016 with the website available for use by licence holders on a voluntary basis in January 2017. The work plan also includes the consideration of the referendum question and timing on any mandatory CPD program. The task force will be stood down in December 2016.
Members were then invited to ask questions and provide feedback.
In response to questions, Bergeron noted that:
- The task force has not determined the question(s) at this time but welcomed input from the members.
- The task force is developing a communications plan to solicit input from the chapters and that there could be town hall meetings where the chapters could provide input. The task force will also have an online tool for members to provide input.
- There have been discussions that the employer should be responsible for CPD and that this could be become part of the Certificate of Authorization.
- The task force has discussed developing a list of online technical activities that would count as CPD. She said it is up to the practitioner to determine what kind of programs they need to complete to take in order to stay current.
- The task force is dedicated to hearing feedback from the membership on this issue and will continue with consultations.
Comments from members included that:
- As a self-regulating authority, PEO members have an opportunity to engineer a CPD program that is under their control and solves a problem. The alternative is to have the government impose CPD that is designed by bureaucrats, resulting in loss of control. Being a licensed profession means having responsibilities. For the good practitioners, who are the vast majority, licensed engineers are already doing what is needed and just have to show it. PEO needs to address the few who are not.
- CPD is a solution in search of a problem. The marketplace has dealt with the profession since 1922 without major issues other than the Elliot Lake collapse. There is no guarantee that CPD would have prevented what happened there. The member stated he believes engineers have to stay current in order to properly serve the client.
- Less than 30 per cent of members need their P.Eng. in order to practise. The vast majority of members don’t need their P.Eng. to do their work. CPD should not ask members to update their skills for a P.Eng. they do not use. In developing CPD, the task force needs to recognize the difference between those who need their P.Eng. to work and those who don’t. More restricted practices are needed in order to protect the public and that is what requires focus.
- CPD could be an opportunity to re-address the industrial exception. If qualifications are based on the safety of the public, then those people doing engineering within the walls of a manufacturing or processing facility are not currently covered by PEO.
APEGBC Chief Executive Officer and Registrar Anne English shared that her association took the question of mandatory CPD to their membership twice and it was rejected both times. She noted APEGBC is still committed to mandatory CPD and exploring other avenues and that the BC government was very disappointed at the result of their latest referendum. She commented that the risk-based approach that PEO’s task force is proposing is the way to go and that PEO members are currently in the driver’s seat as it is better to be proactive on this issue than having something imposed by the government.
President Chong stated that, as noted in section 17 of By-Law No. 1, PEO’s AGM is held:
- to lay before members reports of the association’s Council and committees;
- to inform members of matters relating to the affairs of the association; and
- to ascertain the views of the members present on matters relating to the affairs of the association.
He noted that submissions presented at the AGM are a way for members in attendance to express their views on matters relating to the affairs of the association. Member submissions are not binding on Council, he continued, but Council considers the issues raised at AGMs to be very important and will be addressed expeditiously.
President Chong asked the proponent of the first submission to introduce their motion.
Pappur Shankar, P.Eng., introduced his motion by stating he put his name forward as a candidate for the Engineers Canada Board and felt that representation should go beyond members of Council.
A member stated that the supporting statements regarding the motion were confusing in that a recipient of the Fellow of Engineers Canada (FEC) does not have to be an Engineers Canada Board member. The criteria for the FEC designation is someone who has provided 10 years or more of volunteer service to a provincial association and who has contributed significantly to the profession.
Responding to a request for clarification regarding the process for electing PEO Directors to the Engineers Canada Board, Registrar McDonald advised that a decision was made by Council at the June 2015 Council meeting that Councillors who put their names forward for election to the Engineers Canada Board could not participate in the voting for the available positions. He further noted that the Human Resources Committee had indicated that they would be reviewing the process for selecting Engineers Canada Board members and would present their recommendations back to Council at a future meeting.
Moved by Pappur Shankar, P.Eng., seconded by Brett Chimel, P.Eng.
WHEREAS PEO representatives to Federal Engineers Canada (FEC) Board.
WHEREAS The Board member for FEC to be elected with other candidates during PEO Council. The election to be held in conjunction with the general elections of other candidates to PEO Council.
WHEREAS To ensure better transparency amongst the candidates and the selection process. The process of electing Fellow Engineers of Canada should be changed to allow all PEO members to become candidates for the positions of board member. Any member may be nominated for election to the board and include member residents from each region. [Regulation 941/90, s.14(1)].
WHEREAS The goal should be to demonstrate transparency amongst the candidates and the selection process. The goal should be to promote the best candidates who are well rounded and experienced engineers.
AND WHEREAS Council is selecting and choosing Council members and there seems to be no way for other engineers to get elected.
THEREFORE BE IT SUBMITTED THAT:
PEO representative to Engineers Canada board be elected as part of the PEO Council election.
President Chong then asked the proponent of the second submission to introduce their motion.
Peter Broad, P.Eng., advised that his motion was intended to express the wishes of the membership to Council regarding ongoing discussion with the government on the repeal of the industrial exception.
Moved by Peter Broad, P.Eng., seconded by Roger Barker, P.Eng.
WHEREAS The Government of Ontario created APEO to be its Instrument in the Regulation of Professional Engineering in Ontario;
AND WHEREAS An exception, PEA subsection 12(3)(a), has allowed unlicensed persons to perform acts within the practice of professional engineering in relation to machinery or equipment, other than equipment of a structural nature, for use in the facilities of the person’s employer in the production of products by the person’s employer.
THEREFORE BE IT SUBMITTED THAT:
PEO should continue discussions with the Government and others to ultimately eliminate the Ontario Industrial Exception and align PEO with other Engineering Regulators.
President Chong then asked the proponent of the third submission to introduce their motion.
Moved by Ray Linseman, P.Eng., seconded by Stephen P. Wall, P.Eng.
WHEREAS PEO sent a 2015 Member Satisfaction Survey by email to the membership on January 5, 2016
AND WHEREAS It would appear the satisfaction survey was reviewed in camera as item 4.8 Council Evaluation Survey Results at Council meeting 504 held February 4/5, 2016 and was therefore not published in the agenda
THEREFORE BE IT SUBMITTED THAT:
PEO Council makes available to the membership the results of the satisfaction survey.
Registrar McDonald explained that two surveys were recently conducted. One was a Council self-evaluation survey that was reviewed in-camera at the February 5, 2016 Council meeting. The motion above refers to the second survey, which was a membership evaluation survey. Registrar McDonald stated that analysis of the latter survey is ongoing and the current objective is to present the results to Council at its June 2016 meeting. The survey results will subsequently be published online for members to view. In light of this explanation, the mover and seconder agreed to withdraw their motion.
President Chong then asked the proponent of the fourth submission to introduce their motion.
Ray Linseman, P.Eng., made reference to Justice Belanger’s recommendation 1.24 wherein he specifically used the term “continuing professional education” and in the Professional Engineers Act it does allow PEO to create regulations providing for continuing education of the members. In the presentations that we have had on this topic it’s been called CPD and then CPDCQA and (CP)². The purpose of his motion was to remain consistent with the wording of the act and the wording of Justice Belanger and use the term “Continuing Professional Education.” He stated that there were actually three motions in the submission and suggested the motions be split and voted on individually.
Members provided feedback regarding a referendum, both in support and against.
A member noted that Council already has the authority, at the direction of Justice Belanger of the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry, to implement continuing professional education.
Registrar McDonald advised that PEO’s interpretation of the wording in the act makes its regulatory authority quite restrictive in that it envisages PEO as providing continuing education for its members. PEO’s view is that it should be able to define a program but not be the provider of education services. In order to achieve this, PEO would look at changing the regulatory authority under the act to enable the association to define a program appropriately as opposed to offering continuing professional education.
(CP)2 Task Force Chair Bergeron responded to comments on a referendum by advising that if a member is non-practising in Ontario, they would not be required to complete the risk review–they would just check the non-practising box. Bergeron wondered why the approximately 60 per cent of members who are non-practising would vote this down in a referendum if they are not required to undertake CPD. She agreed with members who suggested that it is very important to have an ethics requirement within the CPD requirements and she offered that the proposed CPD program will include a very short ethics refresher as well as the technical component, where applicable.
Moved by Ray Linseman, P.Eng., seconded by Stephen P. Wall, P.Eng.
WHEREAS In the Report of the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry Executive Summary recommendation 1.24 states:
The Professional Engineers of Ontario should establish a system of mandatory continuing professional education for its members as soon as possible and in any event no later than 18 months from the release of this report.
AND WHEREAS The recommendation used the term “continuing professional education”
AND WHEREAS The Professional Engineers Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter P.28 under section 7 subsection (1) With the preamble “Regulations states “7(1) Subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council and with prior review by the Minister, the Council may make regulations.”
AND WHEREAS Under paragraph 27 of subsection 7(1) the regulations include “27 providing for continuing education of members”;
AND WHEREAS According to the March/April 2016 issue of Engineering Dimensions on page 8 it states the program is being called currently continuing professional competence program (CP) squared.
THEREFORE BE IT SUBMITTED THAT:
a) The program be named Continuing Professional Education (CPE) to reflect the wording of Justice Belanger and the authority given under the Professional Engineers Act.
b) That Council rescind its motion to conduct a referendum of the members and continue with the implementation of the program.
c) That Council conducts a referendum of the 36 PEO Chapter Boards rather than the membership at large.
President Chong advised that submissions passed at the AGM would be considered by the Executive Committee and/or Council in the near future.
PRESENTATION TO OUTGOING COUNCILLORS
President Chong congratulated members of the 2015-2016 Council who had worked diligently to move the profession forward.
In recognition of their service, he presented certificates, name badges and desk plaques to retiring members of Council: Past President J. David Adams, East Central Region Councillor Nick Colucci, Lieutenant Governor-in-Council Appointee Rebecca Huang, Eastern Region Councillor Charles Kidd, Western Region Councillor Len King, and Northern Region Councillor Serge Robert.
INSTALLATION OF NEW PRESIDENT
Past President Chong administered the oath of office to George Comrie as President for the 2016-2017 term and presented him with the President’s Chain of Office along with the gavel of office.
CLOSING REMARKS BY PRESIDENT COMRIE
President Comrie thanked Past President Chong and expressed his appreciation for the dedication and enthusiasm with which he had approached his role as President.
President Comrie noted that Past President Chong is a collaborative leader and they have worked closely together during the past year to build cohesion among PEO’s executive leadership in trying to address the important issues facing the profession. President Comriestated that he plans to continue that collaboration in the coming year with Past President Chong, President-elect Bob Dony, and Registrar Gerard McDonald, and hopes to build on the good work that has been accomplished this past year.
President Comrie commented that when people suggest the President’s one-year term is too short to accomplish much, he usually tells them it is not the role of the President to impose his or her vision or agenda on the organization for a year. Rather, he sees the President as having three years to influence PEO’s leadership to adopt and work towards a shared vision.
President Comrie then outlined three priority areas on which he feels PEO should focus.
He said the first priority area is strengthening core regulatory processes. He noted the progress made on several fronts in the past year, including the introduction of new requirements and processes for the limited licence and licensed engineering technologist designation that came into force on July 1, and the new processes for developing and implementing changes to enabling legislation (the Professional Engineers Act and Regulations). He shared that issuance of the first LET designation with OACETT will be on May 12.
President Comrie said that continuous improvement of a regulatory rubric is a constant and ongoing challenge for any regulator, and there is still work to be done in the areas of licensure, complaints and discipline, enforcement, professional guidelines and standards.
He added that one issue that will continue to occupy Council’s attention in the coming year is that of continuing professional development/quality assurance, or as he prefers to think of it: professional practice risk assessment and mitigation. This latter nomenclature, he said, reflects the innovative approach being taken by PEO’s CPD task forces. He said there is an opportunity to do something that will raise the bar on professional CPD and, at the same time, be much better attuned to the diverse needs and practice situations of licence holders than most CPD systems in place in engineering and other professions.
President Comrie said he is well aware that some members feel compulsory CPD, as commonly implemented, is a misplaced effort towards addressing an undefined problem. He said he accepts the assertion that most professional engineers are likely already doing what they need to do to maintain currency in their respective practices. At the same time, he said he firmly believes the status quo is not a sustainable option; that PEO cannot continue to require nothing of its members to maintain their licences other than payment of their annual dues. If nothing is done, PEO will continue to lose relevance and respect in the minds of government, of other professionals and even of PEO members. President Comrie stated that it is hard for PEO to claim it is regulating the profession when it has no reliable data on what members are doing by way of practice and when it has no data to substantiate the assertion that members are maintaining their competence as professionals. He added that, at the very least, PEO must begin to collect, on an annual basis, information on the scopes of practice of licenceholders and their inherent risks, as well as the actions they are taking to mitigate those risks (including continuing education).
President Comrie then stated that his second priority item is that of exclusive rights to practise. He said his friend and colleague Peter DeVita, a former PEO President, is fond of saying that having a licence without an exclusive right to practise is like having a ticket to a movie theatre that is not showing any movies. He added that creative energy to find ways to expand and better enforce exclusive scopes of practice is needed.
President Comrie then explained why “capturing” emerging disciplines or sub-disciplines of engineering practice, such as communications infrastructure engineering (which deals with cyber security and protection of critical infrastructure that is networked) and nanomolecular engineering, is so important. He said that if PEO does not begin regulating these areas of practice (which clearly fall within the definition of the practice of professional engineering in the Professional Engineers Act) while they are still emerging, they will end up in the domain of unlicensed practice and be regulated by others.
President Comrie stated that strengthening PEO’s government relations program and finding ways to make it more impactful and influential is also critical. He said PEO needs the assistance of governments to enshrine and enforce regulation of these areas of practice. And, he added, in spite of the Ontario government’s refusal to proclaim the repeal of the industrial exception, this may be an opportune time to raise the subject with government, given they are expecting PEO to help strengthen regulation of structural adequacy assessments in the wake of the Algo Centre Mall collapse in Elliot Lake.
The President then touched on his third priority item: leadership development and succession planning. He said he is committed to the democratic self-governance of PEO but he does not believe it is reasonable for an organization like PEO to assume that everyone who volunteers comes with the background and skills necessary to effectively contribute. President Comrie said he has long felt that a better job could be done of ensuring that candidates for volunteer leadership in PEO have a solid understanding of the association’s mandate, roles and responsibilities, authorities and procedures.
He continued by saying that PEO has an opportunity to give something back to its dedicated volunteers by investing in their leadership development in terms of “soft” skills, such as facilitation, conflict resolution and team dynamics. He said funds have been allocated to develop a series of online modules that will cover the important background information needed by new PEO volunteers. He added that he hopes to eventually build a comprehensive leadership development program including hands-on workshop modules. This initiative, he said, will help ensure PEO has an adequate pool of skilled volunteer leaders for purposes of leadership succession.
President Comrie concluded by thanking everyone for their commitment to PEO and their support of a common goal: the strengthening of such a great profession, and the betterment of the public being served.
President Comrie then said he looked forward to striving together in the coming year to accomplish this goal.
INTRODUCTION OF INCOMING MEMBERS OF COUNCIL
President Comrie introduced the newly-elected members of the 2016-2017 council: Past President Thomas Chong, President-elect Bob Dony, Vice President Elected Patrick J. Quinn, PhD (HC), P.Eng., Councillor-at-Large Christian Bellini, P.Eng., Eastern Region CouncillorGuy Boone, P.Eng., East Central Region Councillor Noubar Takessian, P.Eng., Northern Region Councillor Michael Wesa, P.Eng., West Central Region Councillor Danny Chui, P.Eng., and Western Region Councillor Gary Houghton, P.Eng.
President Comrie then declared the 94th Annual General Meeting of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario concluded.
Gerard McDonald, P.Eng.