Minutes of the 96th Annual Business Meeting


The 96th Annual General Meeting of Professional Engineers Ontario was held at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, Toronto, Ontario, on Saturday April 21, 2018.

President Bob Dony advised that PEO was webcasting the business 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 Friday’s Volunteer Leadership Conference. He then acknowledged the 13 inductees into PEO’s Order of Honour, as well as the President and Sterling Award recipients, all of whom were honoured during a gala ceremony the prior evening.

President Dony announced that the keynote speaker during the AGM luncheon would be Mark Abbott, executive director, Engineering Change Lab; and that the 518th 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.

The president advised that because proper notice for the meeting had been published in Engineering Dimensions, as provided for under section 20(i) of By-Law No. 1, and because a quorum was present, the meeting was officially called to order.

The president introduced the members of the 2017–2018 PEO Council:

David Brown, P.Eng., BDS, C.E.T., president-elect; George Comrie, P.Eng., CMC, past president;    Regional Councillors Ishwar Bhatia, M.Eng., P.Eng., and Guy Boone, P.Eng. (Eastern Region), Thomas Chong, MSc, P.Eng., FEC, PMP, and Noubar Takessian, P.Eng., FEC, BScME, GSC (East Central Region), Michael Wesa, P.Eng., and Dan Preley, P.Eng., who was unable to attend (Northern Region), Lola Hidalgo, P.Eng., PMP, and Gary Houghton, BESc, P.Eng., FEC, who was unable to attend (Western Region), Danny Chui, P.Eng., and Warren Turnbull, P.Eng. (West Central Region); vice president (elected) Nancy Hill; vice president (appointed) Marilyn Spink; Councillors-at-Large Christian Bellini, P.Eng., FEC, Roydon Fraser, PhD, P.Eng., and Kelly Reid, P.Eng., IACCM CCMP; Lieutenant Governor-in-Council Appointees (LGA) Michael Chan, P.Eng., Lorne Cutler, MBA, P.Eng., Tim Kirkby, BEng, P.Eng., FEC, who was unable to attend; Qadira Jackson Kouakou, barrister and solicitor; Lew Lederman, QC, Tomiwa Olukiyesi, P.Eng., and Nadine Rush, C.E.T., and himself as chair. President Dony also introduced Interim Registrar Johnny Zuccon, P.Eng., FEC.

PEO’s directors to Engineers Canada for 2017–2018 are: Annette Bergeron, P.Eng., FEC, David Brown, Danny Chui, Chris Roney, P.Eng., BDS, FEC, and Rakesh Shreewastav, P.Eng., AVS, FEC.  

President Dony welcomed the special guests attending the meeting and introduced representatives from provincial and national engineering associations from across the country:

  • Gerard McDonald, P.Eng., CEO, and Annette Bergeron, MBA, P.Eng., FEC, president-elect, Engineers Canada;
  • Bob McDonald, executive director and registrar, and Stormy Holmes, president-elect, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan; and
  • Len White, CEO and registrar, and Rosalie Hanlon, outreach officer, Engineers Nova Scotia.

He also welcomed representatives of PEO’s partners in the Ontario engineering community and allied professions:

  • Jonathan Hack, president and chair, and Sandro Perruzza, CEO, Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE);
  • Jane Welsh, president, and Aina Budrevics, executive director, Ontario Association of Landscape Architects;
  • Kathleen Kurtin, senior vice president and treasurer, Ontario Association of Architects;
  • Marisa Sterling, president and chair, Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education;
  • Bruce Matthews, CEO, Consulting Engineers of Ontario;
  • Boris Martin, CEO, Engineers Without Borders Canada;
  • David Thomson, CEO, and Greg Miller, president, Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT); and  
  • Andrew Cook, president, Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario. 

The president asked all present to stand for a moment of silence in remembrance of those PEO members who had passed away in 2017.

President Dony referred members to the minutes of the 2017 AGM.

It was moved by Thomas Chong and seconded by Roger Jones, P.Eng., that the minutes of the 2017 AGM, as published in the November/December 2017 issue of Engineering Dimensions and as distributed at the meeting, be adopted.

Motion carried

The president reviewed the actions taken by Council on submissions discussed at the 2017 AGM. Members made two submissions to the meeting, both of which were passed.

The first submission requested that PEO engage an external governance expert to advise Council independently on how to modernize the governance of the organization to ensure self-regulatory status and that the principles of the new governance model be presented to Council for approval before the next AGM.

Since the last AGM, Council has made the following decisions on this submission:

  1. That Council directs the registrar to immediately issue a call for volunteers for appointment to a seven-member Phase 1 Governance Working Group for Council approval at a future date, comprised of the following:
  •        Four current councillors with at least one lay LGA, plus three additional members at large; with preference for members at large who have formalized governance education;
  1. That Council directs the Council chair to develop terms of 
    reference for the phase 1–working group;
  2. That Council directs the working group to provide to Council prior to or shortly thereafter the 2019 AGM a progress report, which will include timing for delivery of their final report to Council;
  3. That Council approves a budget of $40,000 for the working group to complete their work and deliver a report to Council by the 2020 AGM; and
  4. At the March 23, 2018, meeting, Council appointed members to the Phase 1 Governance Working Group.

The second submission requested that PEO expand the Financial Credit Program to include legally recognized refugee international engineering graduates.

Since the last AGM, Council directed the Licensing Committee to expand its review of the Engineering Intern Financial Credit Program to include the issue of refugee international graduates in their review.

The president then referred members to the auditors’ report and financial statements, which were published to PEO’s website prior to the meeting. They were distributed as part of the meeting registration package and will be printed in the May/June 2018 issue of Engineering Dimensions. He advised that an abbreviated version of the statements appear in the 2017 Annual Review, which was included in the registration package as well as being available on the publications table.

He also noted the Questions and Answers on PEO Operations booklet, which addressed common questions on PEO operations, was included in the registration package.

With no questions from the floor regarding the financial statements, it was moved by Rob Willson, P.Eng., and seconded by Noubar Takessian that the financial statements, as presented, be received.

Motion carried

President Dony advised that the Audit Committee recommended the firm of Deloitte LLP be reappointed.

It was moved by Thomas Chong, seconded by Alourdes Sully, P.Eng., that the firm of Deloitte LLP be appointed auditors of the association for the 2018 financial year.

Motion carried

Responding to queries, President Dony advised that the annual cost for the auditor is approximately $42,000 and the selection of an auditing firm is done on a five-year RFP cycle. 

Interim Registrar Zuccon stated that during his time at PEO, he could not recall such a close finish in the financials with revenues almost equal to the expenses. The $26k deficit includes  $35k in Council discretionary expenses. Although the revenues were down significantly from budget, there was an increase of nearly $700k from the 2016 figures. Similarly, the expenditures were significantly less than budgeted, but $1.1M higher than 2016. 

Contributing to this increase were:

  • The approved increase salaries and benefits costs ($480k);
  • Unforeseen increase in legal costs for prosecution, tribunals and corporate ($299k);
  • A cost overage in the APTIFY database launch ($127k);
  • The added costs associated with external hosting of the ethics module for the Practice Evaluation and Knowledge (PEAK) program, additional monies for the 70th anniversary Ontario Professional Engineers Awards event and added task forces ($163k); and
  • Advertising costs ($49k).

These items totalled $1.118M.

PEO’s cash reserves were up $1.16M from 2016 (cash and marketable securities).

Interim Registrar Zuccon advised that more detailed information was included in the registrar’s financial report as well as the operations Q&A booklet, both of which were included in the delegate package.

Interim Registrar Zuccon discussed the yearly statistical information by advising that 2220 new licences were issued, compared to 1880 in 2016, an increase of 340 year over year.  There was an increase of 1375 P.Engs, bringing the total to just under 82,000. The percentage of females was just over 11 per cent. There was also an increase of 799 EITs, bringing the total to 13,900. The percentage of females of the total engineering interns is just over 21 per cent.

There was an increase of 131 certificate of authorizations (C of As), including the issuance of seven C of As supported by a licensed engineering technologist limited licence. Despite an increase of nine new consulting engineer designations last year, there was a net loss of 28, which was  attributable to a higher number of non-renewals. There was an increase of 30 limited licences; contributing to this increase were the issuance of 16 licensed engineering technologist limited licences (LET LL) and 14 limited engineering licences (LEL) under the regulations. Twenty-eight provisional licences were issued, one more than in 2016, and 83 temporary licences, an increase of 14 from 2016.

PEO’s senior management team recently completed a review of the association’s 2015–2017 Strategic Plan and confirmed that 95 of the 130 strategies have been completed. This was followed by a review of the remaining strategies to see which could be dealt with operationally and which should carry over into the new strategic plan. Strategies that will make their way into the new plan include those associated with:

  • the PEAK program, now into the start of its second year with a new ethics module and the first opportunity for members to report on their continuing professional development activities;
  • the public information campaign;
  • the online licensing project;
  • the website redesign; and
  • enforcement enhancements (criteria for prioritization, training modules).

Strategies that dovetail into the operations include those related to:

  • guidelines, new and/or revised;
  • IT upgrades; and
  • Experience Requirements Committee interview training.

 At its November meeting, Council approved PEO’s 2018–2020 Strategic Plan: Protect Engage Advance. Hard copies were provided in the AGM packages.   

The new plan builds on the success of its predecessor and focuses on nine strategic objectives covering three priority areas:

  • protecting the public interest;
  • engaging stakeholders; and
  • advancing PEO’s mission.

Interim Registrar Zuccon indicated that staff, along with committees and task forces, are currently engaged to develop appropriate strategies to advance the nine strategic objectives. It is anticipated that a short list of strategies, including budget and resource allocations, will be provided to Council for approval as part of the 2019 PEO budget process.

Interim Registrar Zuccon extended a special thanks to all those who contributed to the plan and for those who are now assisting with developing appropriate strategies.

A significant regulatory highlight for PEO was the Ontario government’s passage of Bill 177, the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act, 2017 as it brought about nine amendments to the Professional Engineers Act. Interim Registrar Zuccon reviewed the amendments that enhance the transparency of PEO’s regulatory framework:

  1. The removal of the requirement for elected councillors to be part of every Discipline Committee (DIC) hearing panel provides additional flexibility for the DIC chair’s selection process;
  2. The public registers can now be made publicly available on the PEO website and/or electronically provided;
  3. The ability for members of the public to have access to Discipline Committee hearing evidence and transcripts (previously limited to only the parties); and
  4. Added powers permitting the registrar to release information to other regulatory bodies, if there are reasonable grounds to believe there may be a risk of harm to any person or property or to the public welfare.

On March 31, 2017, PEO launched the PEAK program, the product of the work from two Council-appointed task forces. The program is based on the principles that the requirements for individual licence holders must be relevant to their practice and proportional to its risk to the public, and that it recognizes the diversity of practice and individual’s need for continuing knowledge.

PEAK is currently designed as an annual program. All licence holders are requested to voluntarily complete the program as part of their licence renewal process. There are three elements to it: (1) practice status declaration; (2) practice evaluation questionnaire; and (3) ethics module, which is viewed online.

Although participation is not mandatory, the completion status for each of the elements is publicly noted on PEO’s online directory under each licence holder’s profile.

A one-year progress report with participation rates and other analysis, along with recommendations on next steps, will be brought to Council’s June meeting.

Interim Registrar Zuccon reported that after one year of operation, of the 26,170 that participated, 19,958 (76 per cent) indicated they are practising (Element 1). 

The questionnaire was completed by 92 per cent of the practising group (18,405) (Element 2).

The ethics module was completed by 15,774 licence holders, either practising or non-practising because that is a requirement for everyone 
(Element 3).

PEO has been actively communicating with licence holders to ensure they understand the 
program and how to participate.

PEO staff have conducted over 60 on-site presentations at chapter meetings, technical associations, consulting firms, and other organizations employing professional engineers.

Eight PEAK-dedicated articles have been published in Engineering Dimensions, and a wide range of information about the program is available on the PEO website. Over 1000 licence holders have contacted the PEAK program through email and phone to ask questions and provide comments.

On April 1, year two of the program began and a new ethics module has been added. In addition, a brief survey is included for those who declare non-practising status, to assist PEO to understand more about why they consider themselves not practising.

Interim Registrar Zuccon expressed his appreciation to all of those who participated and continue to assist in this endeavour.

On November 27 attendees were honoured at PEO’s Discipline Committee meeting to have Ontario’s attorney general as a guest speaker, a first for PEO. The Honourable Yasir Naqvi discussed current issues facing the profession.

PEO’s 11th Queen’s Park Day reception was held on October 4, when PEO’s 95th anniversary was celebrated. More than 40 Members of Provincial Parliament and almost 200 attendees participated, including Premier Kathleen Wynne and Attorney General Yasir Naqvi.

There was an increase in the number of enforcement files opened in 2017, from 403 to 488 files. Over 90 per cent of files opened involved unauthorized use of the engineer title or use of “engineer” or “engineering” in a business name without permission from PEO. PEO filed eight charges with Ontario courts in relation to matters. The three title violations were subsequently withdrawn, as compliance was achieved. Of the other five related to practice violations, one was was successfully prosecuted in September and the remaining four are scheduled for 2018.

At Council’s February 2018 meeting, the Assuming Responsibility and Supervising Engineering Work guideline was approved. This was originally slated to be a performance standard to address how a licence holder can assume responsibility for engineering work performed by unlicensed individuals as permitted under the Professional Engineers Act, section 12(3)(b), as well as the supervision required under section 17(2) for the C of A regime.  The new guideline provides some best practices for those who are confronted with these situations.

The Solid Waste Management guideline was revised to reflect best practices in consideration of recent changes to the legislation affecting this industry.

Interim Registrar Zuccon then responded to questions as follows:

Randy Walker, P.Eng., requested clarification regarding the $2.4 million budget for building operations, noting that the building expenditures are equal to the amount of money received from tenants. If a tenant(s) is lost, members’ fees do not cover building expenses, so he asked if there was a plan to cover expenses should this occur. Interim Registrar Zuccon replied that this would be monitored through the Finance Committee. Councillor Bhatia noted that even the expenses and revenue for building operations is almost the same, the principle owing on 40 Sheppard Avenue West is being paid down by approximately $1 million a year. 

Ross Judd, P.Eng., professor emeritus, McMaster University, stating that inasmuch as engineering education is not an act of engineering in the province of Ontario, asked if he was practising or non-practising, according to PEAK. Bernard Ennis replied that those who teach engineering are considered non-practising. It was the decision of the Council-appointed task force that the act be followed in determining practising vs. non-practising. 

Raymond Chokelal, P.Eng., asked about PEAK participation levels, noting that while raw numbers had been provided, it would be helpful to also have this information shown in percentage form. Interim Registrar Zuccon noted that this was a good point. As required as part of the PEAK directive from Council, a one-year report will be coming forward at the June Council meeting and, once this is done, the information will be made available on PEO’s website. 

Nick Mansour, P.Eng., a PEO past president, referred to solid waste management. He noted that in some communities, of which Lampton county is one, there is difficulty finding places to dispose of waste coming from factories, communities, etc. This would be a challenge for the engineering profession to find the solutions. The engineering profession should develop a committee or activity to deal with this. 

Virendra Sahni, P.Eng., advised that there is some concern expressed that it just takes too long for new applicants, especially the international applicants, to have their applications processed through the system. Are there any statistics to show that, out of the new applications, how many are international students? It sometimes takes five years or more. They must be treated with respect and with due professionalism.   

Interim Registrar Zuccon replied that on a broad policy level, PEO Council is aware of the situation and has taken steps to address some of the setbacks. In his view, there were no process changes that would be disrespectful to any applicant. There is an opportunity for everyone to call in to find out where their application sits at any given time. PEO is looking at an online licensing process that would help with more advanced tracking. He noted every case that is brought across his desk is looked at and a response is provided. It takes time to process the necessary information, such as approving academics, conducting an experience assessment, etc.

Wayne Kershaw, P.Eng., asked about the cuts to chapter budgets as a result of PEO’s overall budget deficit and what steps have been taken other than asking chapters to reduce their funding. Interim Registrar Zuccon replied that the reduction in chapter allotments were part of the 2018 budget approved by Council in 2017. Going forward, the same process will be followed, receiving requirements from the Regional Councillors Committee through the Finance Committee for Council approval. Kershaw stated that chapter budget requests were significantly decreased insofar that some chapters only received a third of what was requested and asked what other steps were being taken by PEO to reduce the budget. Interim Registrar Zuccon noted that the revenues for 2018 were significantly underachieving the forecasted budget. Some projects were deferred and other avenues for money savings were explored, such as less face-to-face meetings; however, there are limitations on what can be done. Kershaw noted that his concern was if chapter budgets are being reduced to a point where a chapter can no longer function, PEO is losing a communication vehicle to its members. Interim Registrar Zuccon advised that he met with the RCC in early April to review chapter allotments.

A recorded greeting from the attorney general of Ontario, the Honourable Yasir Naqvi, was aired as follows:

“Thank you to Professional Engineers of Ontario for inviting me to speak to you. I am sorry that I cannot join you in person, but I am glad I can take part in some small way. Engineers have an important role to play in Ontario, from making our province a leader in technical innovation to contributing to the infrastructure that enhances a quality of life today and for the future. The engineering industry is an economic driver. Our government wants to continue seeing the engineering field thrive, which is why the recently released 2018 Ontario budget outlines investing $132 million to support innovative post-secondary programming, part of which will increase the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates by 25 per cent. With your help, these new graduates can get the experience they need to become professional engineers. I know it takes a lot of work to hold that title and our government is committed to increasing the pathways for new graduates to get there. Our government is proud to support the important work of engineers and to collaborate with the Professional Engineers of Ontario Council to ensure safety, competitiveness and governance within the engineering community. Your trusted leader will offer sustainable solutions to make Ontario a safe place to live, play and work. As you know, March 1 marked the first Professional Engineers Day in Ontario. This is a great milestone for the industry and the first day of its kind in Canada, and while people benefit daily from your work as engineers, each year we can now recognize and truly appreciate your contributions to our communities and the economy. Thanks to your profession, Ontario is and continues to be one of the best places to live. Congratulations to last night’s winners and I wish you all a productive and enjoyable meeting.”

The president invited Engineers Canada to provide an update.

Engineers Canada President-elect Annette Bergeron congratulated outgoing President Bob Dony for a successful year. She stated that having sat in the PEO hotseat herself, she has a better appreciation than most of how challenging the president’s role can be. Engineers Canada directors attend all PEO Council meetings and President Dony met the challenge and excelled at it.

Bergeron also extended her warmest best wishes to David Brown, noting that, in his coming time as president of PEO, he will provide the same degree of leadership and dedication that he has in all his previous endeavors, such as current director of Engineers Canada.

Bergeron stated that these are pivotal times for the regulation of engineering in Canada and, by extension, for the work done by Engineers Canada in support. Much time over the past year has been spent on governance and on the Engineers Canada Strategic Planning Consultation project. The past year has brought regulators across the country together to define a more focused, purposeful shape to the work done by Engineers Canada for the regulators. She acknowledged the dozens of council members and others who had input into this process. A nationwide collaboration is no small accomplishment.

Bergeron advised that she was personally looking forward to spearheading this project to move from the realm of strategy into that of execution. At the Engineers Canada upcoming annual general meeting, it is hoped that the regulators will formally approve both the new purposes and the new strategic plan. One year from now she hopes she can come back to PEO’s annual general meeting and report on what was changed, what was improved, and the plan for the next two years.

Engineers Canada visited PEO on March 29, 2018, to determine how the work laid out in Engineers Canada’s strategic plan to support PEO as a regulator. She thanks all of those at PEO for their good work in the regulation of engineering to protect the public interest.

Engineers Canada, through its accreditation board, accredits engineering education programs across Canada. In this area, there are two strategic undertakings:

  • Firstly, the Accreditation Unit (AU) Task Force, chaired by President Dony. The AU Task Force has proposed some improvements, which were presented to the board on February 28. The accreditation board will be consulting with higher education institutions and with all regulators about these recommendations through this spring;
  • Secondly, the Accreditation Improvement Program was launched. It focuses on the operational improvements to accreditation.

It is hoped that these two items should make a very big difference to accreditation in Canada while fostering innovation in higher education institutions.

In the area of regulatory excellence, Engineers Canada offers its support. Whether it is providing access to national and international research and networks, working together will help position the engineering profession in Canada as world leaders in innovation and high standards.

Engineers Canada is working to help expand excellence in regulatory practices by identifying promising practices in use within Canada and introducing them to regulators across the country.

Engineers Canada also has a role to play in promoting the engineering profession, ensuring that it remains highly regarded in the eyes of government, decision makers and the public.

Engineers Canada provided expert testimony to both the House of Commons and Senate transportation committees on the transportation modernization act and recommendations to involve professional engineers in the entire life cycle of railways, and the need for climate vulnerability assessments on railways. Engineers Canada also provided expert testimony to the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources on their study on the effects of transitioning to a low carbon economy, and to the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women regarding the economic security of women. These have happened due to ongoing public affairs efforts in raising the profile of the engineering profession across the federal government.

Bergeron stated that Engineers Canada is also monitoring Finance Canada’s recent proposed tax changes and are involved in providing comments to Global Affairs Canada to the existing North American Free Trade Agreement Professional Services Annex as it relates to engineering services.

True leadership requires decisiveness, but it also requires knowing what’s needed in a given context. So much of what has been accomplished as a board in the past few years can be attributed to a leader who both paid attention to problems that existed and then took action: Chris Roney. She noted that as he steps down as past president of Engineers Canada this May, his wisdom and tenacity should be celebrated as he has done so much to revitalize the outlook and purpose of Engineers Canada. It was a source of pride that PEO recognized Roney’s accomplishments at the 2018 Order of Honour by making him a Companion of the Order of Honour, the highest accolade that PEO bestows. Bergeron stated that, as she assumes her role as incoming president of Engineers Canada, she will be standing on the shoulders of such a giant and that she was humbled to be given the task of moving forward on his legacy.

In closing, Bergeron thanked PEO and the PEO Engineers Canada board directors for their contributions to the Engineers Canada organization. PEO is critical to its success and Engineers Canada is there to serve the regulators in promoting and maintaining the interests, honour and integrity of the Canadian engineering profession.

The president invited OSPE to provide an update.

OSPE President and Chair Jonathan Hack, P.Eng., expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to attend and bring greetings on behalf of the society. He stated that OSPE’s mandate is to elevate the role of engineering in Ontario and to ensure the engineering profession is consulted on policy issues relating to complex science, engineering and infrastructure development. OSPE is the advocacy body for professional engineers in Ontario, and PEO is the regulatory body, working together with governments and other stakeholders on behalf of engineers in the province.

For this past year, Hack has had the pleasure of working with the PEO executive team and President Bob Dony. He has appreciated working with President Dony on the Joint Relations Committee (JRC) and establishing regular communications on important issues facing both organizations. He indicated that he also appreciated the spirit of co-operation experienced at the JRC meetings, which provided the opportunity for candid conversations about issues, and how both organizations have demonstrated a consistent desire to work together.   

He believes we should, as engineers in Ontario, come together to provide input and expertise to create and real change must continue. He believes it is engineers who drive economic prosperity in Ontario by creating efficiencies, patenting inventions and perfecting new technology applications that benefit everyone.  

OSPE has accomplished much over the year; in fact, 2017 saw its members lead the advocacy charge on substantive issues that affect all, such as energy policy, climate change, innovation investment, pay equity, diversity and inclusion in the engineering profession, including championing the 30 by 30 goal. OSPE was able to gain unanimous consent from all three political parties at Queen’s Park for the creation of the first-ever Professional Engineers Day in Ontario on March 1. Hack noted that the successful public awareness initiatives with OSPE’s  “Change the World” campaign and the recent launch of the Engineering Ally program to ensure engineers are heard in the upcoming provincial election.  

OSPE is able to engage in raising the profile of engineering in Ontario because engineers are getting involved. Membership numbers are increasing steadily, but more needs to be done. Technology is advancing faster than the government’s ability to comprehend it so engineers must be involved in guiding the development of technology to ensure it is done in the best interests of society.  

The advocacy space at Queen’s Park is increasingly crowded, as other professions seek support on their key initiatives. Hack stressed the need to work together to ensure the voice of engineers is clearly heard and understood on vital issues. Although much has been accomplished in 2017, there is no room for complacency. He encouraged  those in attendance to become a member of OSPE, if not already, and to get involved with its task forces or political action network.     

In closing, Hack expressed his best wishes for a successful meeting and in the upcoming year and that he looked forward to continuing to work together in the months ahead.  

President Dony indicated that he would like to take the opportunity to provide an update on Council’s work over the past year. He said that when he stood for election two years ago, he ran on the platform of “moving forward for a stronger profession” to sum up his thinking on how he wanted to focus his efforts as PEO president. As he reflected on Council’s work over the past year, he thinks much was accomplished to further this goal.

President Dony noted that perhaps the biggest accomplishment over 2017 was passage of important amendments to the Professional Engineers Act that strengthen PEO’s regulatory role. 

Passed at Queen’s Park on December 14, 2017, as part of the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Bill 177), the amendments address recommendations from the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry.

As a result of three years of work with the Ministry of the Attorney General, the changes improve public safety protection and transparency in PEO’s regulatory work and made several improvements, including:

  • Broad regulation-making authority to establish a continuing professional development program for engineers;
  • Changes to confirm PEO’s continued oversight of suspended, cancelled and revoked licence holders;
  • Powers to suspend or revoke licences where warranted by past conduct; and
  • An amendment requiring licence holders’ 
    disciplinary histories to be published on the PEO website.

With the passage of Bill 177, PEO can make these changes to improve its transparency, accountability and effectiveness in regulating professional engineering.

President Dony stated that, in December, PEO introduced its new 2018–2020 Strategic Plan.  Developed after two years of stakeholder consultation and approved by Council at its November meeting, the new plan focuses on nine strategic objectives covering three priority areas: protecting the public interest, engaging stakeholders and advancing PEO’s mission.

The plan’s strategic objectives include:

  • Refining the PEAK program;
  • Heightening delivery of PEO’s enforcement efforts;
  • Enhancing PEO’s public image;
  • Engaging PEO chapters as a regulatory resource;
  • Increasing influence in regulatory matters;
  • Augmenting the applicant and licence holder experience;
  • Redefining the volunteer leadership framework;
  • Creating a seamless transition from student member to EIT to licence holder; and
  • Enhancing PEO’s corporate culture.

The complete plan is available at www.peostratplan.ca

Now in its 96th year, PEO faces many challenges as it approaches a century of regulating the engineering profession in Ontario. The new plan will provide a guide on how PEO meets these challenges and ensures PEO is doing its utmost to fulfill its mission of advancing the practice of engineering to protect the public interest.

Turning to PEO’s ongoing goal of building a more inclusive profession, more reflective of society, President Dony advised that, in September,

Council formally endorsed Engineers Canada’s national 30 by 30 initiative—a commitment to raising the percentage of newly licensed female engineers in Canada to 30 per cent by 2030.

Working with OSPE, PEO committed to establishing a two-year, 30 by 30 Task Force to ensure PEO’s responsibilities are appropriately assigned.

While OSPE will maintain its role as the advocacy body in this important work, PEO, as a regulator, can undertake tracking of gender-based licensure statistics to mark progress, as well as ensuring women are represented in PEO regulatory activities and leadership and volunteer opportunities.

President Dony referred to Council’s work creating Council term limits and a succession-planning framework, stating that, in June, the Council Term Limits Task Force’s revised recommendation for term limits and succession planning were approved.

Going forward, outgoing councillors who have reached their term limit will require a six-year hiatus before running for Council again. The limits include a maximum consecutive limit of six years on Council, as well as a one-term lifetime limit for the president and once per 10 years for vice president.

At Council’s February meeting, changes to Regulation 941 were approved to support these policy directions. The new regulation takes effect on July 1, 2018, in advance of the upcoming 2019 PEO elections nominations.

President Dony said that more information about the Council Term Limits Task Force’s report and recommendations can be found on PEO’s website.

Similarly, Council looked at succession planning among PEO staff to ensure the organization has resilience to effectively deal with unexpected challenges, such as long-term absences as well as succession planning for key management positions.

President Dony noted that a topic near and dear to his heart as an engineering educator related to PEO’s work with Ontario’s engineering faculties. PEO and the National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science held a workshop in May 2017 with Ontario engineering deans and PEO representatives, including senior staff, Council and members of the Academic Requirements Committee.

The Academic Requirements for Licensure: Beyond 2022 workshop was held at McMaster University and was a great opportunity for both deans and PEO to discuss the academic requirements to licensure—topics such as the internalization of the profession and education, teaching and learning methods, and curriculum content measurements.

It is important for regulators and educators to have more such face-to-face discussion in order to evolve the accreditation process and adapt to the innovations in engineering education already in the classroom. President Dony stated that such discussions are already bearing fruit, as there is now a national proposal to modify the accreditation criteria to accommodate such innovations.

President Dony advised that in order to help the public better understand PEO’s role, a potential public information campaign to educate the public on the value of licensure and the role of PEO as Ontario’s engineering regulator is being investigated.

In September 2016, Council directed the registrar to develop terms of reference and proposed members for a task force to investigate initiating a marketing campaign related to protecting and expanding licence holders’ rights to practise. This directive led to the creation of the Public Information Campaign Task Force.

After developing a work plan and request for proposal to engage a vendor to assist with message development, the task force and the chosen agency have been busy with the discovery phase of the project, conducting interviews with executives and stakeholder focus groups, including students, unlicensed engineering graduates, employers of engineers, engineers and regulators. 

Based on these consultations, several positioning platforms and key messages exploring PEO and the qualities that differentiate the P.Eng. licence holders were developed.

In October, preliminary research was shared with the Executive Committee.

Surveys were conducted in late 2017 with professional engineers, business executives and the public to test three alternative approaches to communicating the value proposition of licence holders. Based on these survey findings, the creative concept development and message strategy is now being prepared, including recommendations on positioning PEO’s goals and change initiatives, and which key messages are most persuasive with key audiences. The task force is scheduled to provide its final report to Council in spring 2018.

President Dony stated that Gerard McDonald, PEO’s former registrar, announced in December that he was stepping down as registrar to take on a new role as CEO of Engineers Canada. On behalf of PEO Council, President Dony thanked McDonald for his inspiring and effective leadership over the past four years. Under his watch, several milestone achievements were accomplished, including the aforementioned amendments to the engineers act and the introduction of the PEAK program. He wished McDonald well in his new endeavours and indicated that he looked forward to continuing to work with him in his new role.

President Dony remarked that it had been his great pleasure and honour working with everyone to lead the engineering profession over 2017–2018. He thanked Interim Registrar Zuccon, staff and the volunteers.  

Lastly President Dony thanked his three children, Greg, John and Lynn, all of whom are engineers; as well as his wife, Lisa, for their inspiration and support.

President Dony stated that, as noted in section 17 of By-Law No. 1, PEO’s annual general meeting 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 to 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 Dony asked the proponent of the first submission to introduce their motion.

Juwairia Obaid, P.Eng., stated that building high-performance leadership is more important than ever since many senior volunteers are subject to the new term limits discussed earlier in the meeting, creating a vacuum because current and future volunteers will be replacing these senior volunteers and fulfilling these roles. She noted that for a self-regulated profession to progress effectively, it is important to ensure that current and future volunteers have the knowledge to be able to take PEO forward in an effective and visionary manner by having the necessary tools and knowledge available to them. 

Moved by Juwairia Obaid, P.Eng., seconded by Hasan Akhter, P.Eng.

WHEREAS Volunteers are the lifeblood of our self-regulated profession and are expected to adhere to PEO’s core values, regulations and policies;

WHEREAS Many volunteers engage directly with members at large on an ongoing basis, organize and facilitate engineering-specific events and programs, promote and enhance understanding within society of the profession and the importance of licensure, and participate in PEO’s policy development;

WHEREAS For the future of our self-regulated profession, it is essential that PEO’s volunteers be given the opportunities and tools to develop and enhance the skills required to become visionary and progressive leaders. These skills may include conflict resolution, strategic analysis, negotiation, chairing effective meetings, public speaking and 
an understanding of PEO’s governance structure, policies and Wainberg’s rules;

WHEREAS Building high performing leadership capacity within PEO is becoming increasingly important considering the succession planning and term limits provisions that have been adopted by Council;

WHEREAS As per objective 7 of PEO’s 2018–2020 Strategic Plan, PEO-specific leadership values will be consistently practised by volunteers, and promoted through recruitment, training, mentorship, term limits, succession planning and evaluation;

WHEREAS As per PEO’s committees and task forces policy, the role of Council includes ensuring the provision of appropriate training for committee chairs and members. In addition, this policy states that the role of the Advisory Committee on Volunteers includes maintaining and providing tools and training to committees;

THEREFORE BE IT SUBMITTED THAT PEO Council form a task force to develop a comprehensive Leadership Development Program (LDP) to support the succession planning and term limits provisions adopted by Council, and make this program available for all practitioners with a focus on PEO’s current and future volunteers. This LDP should be designed to effectively build high performing leadership capacity as volunteers advance in their volunteer careers with PEO. 

Motion carried

President Dony asked the proponent of the second submission to introduce their motion.

Ray Linseman, P.Eng., advised that the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) was introduced and assented in 2010, with the primary purpose being to prevent unsolicited emails coming to the general public. He noted that when the legislation was introduced, it did not come into force immediately: There was a Privy Council order, and the legislation was to be implemented in three stages. PEO’s main concern related to implied consent. Section 6, paragraph (c) of the legislation states that, “The person to whom the message is sent has disclosed, to the person who sends the message, the person who causes it to be sent or the person who permits it to be sent, the electronic address to which the message is sent without indicating a wish not to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages….” There are penalties for violation of these rules, which were to come into force on July 1, 2017; however, this clause has now been rescinded, so this concern should no longer be valid. 

Linseman went on to say chapters have been directed not to send emails to members unless they have explicit permission to do so. He shared the following excerpt from the legislation wherein 
6.(1) states that, “It is prohibited to send or cause or permit to be sent to an electronic address a commercial electronic message unless (a) the person to whom the message is sent has consented to receiving it, whether the consent is express or implied.” He wished to pay particular attention to the word “implied.” He stated there are exceptions to this rule. He then referred to “requirements and prohibitions” in the legislation, which reads, in part, “(6) paragraph (1)(a) does not apply to a commercial electronic message that solely (d) provides notification of factual information about (ii) the ongoing subscription, membership, account, loan or similar relationship of the person to whom the message is sent.” It was his interpretation that because of membership in PEO, members are exempt. 

Linseman stated his motion is to request that Council revisit this issue since this legislation is affecting the attendance at many chapter events, which sometimes requires the event to be cancelled. He indicated it was his understanding that PEO was looking at obtaining explicit consent from members during membership renewal, however, this would cause delays wherein he wanted this matter dealt with as quickly as possible. 

Thomas Chong, P.Eng., advised that this matter has had a negative impact on the operation 
of chapter events and asked if implied consent 
was restricted to emails, and if that is the case, 
all members should be asked to provide their email address if that is the primary consent. This could 
be expanded to social media. 

Greg Wowchuk, P.Eng., stated that this has been a real obstacle for the chapters. There are many ways to address the issue and resolve it because every non-profit in the country deals with this as well. The easiest way to deal with this matter would be to ask all PEO members by email for their explicit consent, which would resolve the issue of implicit consent and whether it applies. 

Leon Wasser, P.Eng., congratulated the elected members and currently serving members of PEO, the executive and staff of PEO, who do a fabulous job. PEO is one of many not-for-profit organizations and agreed that members should be asked by email for explicit consent.

Chokelal advised that since PEO members pay, it is implied that they want to hear from PEO,    however, legal advice may be required. He asked for verification: If an appeal by PEO is put forward, does that not stay the application of the law?

Interim Registrar Zuccon replied no, it is a statute that came into force when the three-year preparation period was proposed. There was a lot of talk about implied consent. This is probably under the domain of express consent. He agreed this is a legal issue. 

Susana Toma, P.Eng., suggested an unsubscribe option for emails so members would not be bothered if they do not wish to receive emails. 

Linseman stated a legal interpretation of the legislation is required. Background information has been provided to Council and chapters.

Moved by Ray Linseman, P.Eng., seconded by Ahmad Khadra, P.Eng.

WHEREAS Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation was assented to on December 15, 2010, as the Statutes of Canada 2010 Chapter 23;

WHEREAS Privy Council order number 2013–1323 set the coming into force states of the various sections of SC2010 chapter 23 and paragraph (c) stated July 1, 2017, is the day on which sections 47 to 51 and 55 of the act come into force stated;

WHEREAS The chapter manager on behalf of the former registrar directed the chapters not to send any email blasts to members that contained any cost information for attending events or links to chapter websites containing cost information unless they had explicit consent;

WHEREAS The wording in SC 2010 chapter 23 says explicit or implied consent;

WHEREAS It would seem reasonable from the fact the email addresses used are supplied by the members that there is implied consent;

WHEREAS Campaigner allows a recipient to unsubscribe;

WHEREAS This directive has caused many chapters to have difficulty organizing events and getting members to sign up;

WHEREAS Privy Council order number 2017–0580 amended privy Council order number 2013–3123 dated December 3, 2013, by repealing paragraph (c);

THEREFORE BE IN SUBMITTED THAT Council takes whatever steps necessary to allow chapters to be able to advertise chapter events with cost of attendance allowed in the email, including, if necessary, getting a second legal opinion or asking the CRTC for a ruling.

Motion carried

President Dony asked the proponent of the third submission to introduce their motion.

Linseman advised that the cost of providing webmail accounts for volunteers who request this would not be high. 

Asif Khan, P.Eng., advised that this is a real issue because some volunteers are using email addresses from their primary employer, noting the use of PEO’s domain would ensure emails being sent look professional. 

 Virendra Sahni, P.Eng., indicated that while he supported the motion in spirit, he had a concern for members who are on tribunal committees. A global format for an email address would pose a problem for members on such committees because they could get lobbied by the parties or the applicants. He stated that communication is currently filtered by the tribunal office. 

Linseman advised that providing webmail accounts for volunteers would not be mandatory; it would just be for those who submit a request. 

Moved by Ray Linseman, P.Eng., seconded by Ahmad Khadra, P.Eng.

WHEREAS At the 2015 AGM a submission was passed asking Council to allow active volunteers to be able to request a PEO webmail account;

WHEREAS At the September 2015 Council meeting a motion was referred to the ITEG committee under the Regional Councillors Committee;

WHEREAS The terms of reference for this group appear to be still only about 10 per cent complete;

WHEREAS The ITEG group has not met for well over a year;

WHEREAS Three years have not elapsed since the time of the AGM motion;

WHEREAS A webmail account would assist in member engagement and addressing member apathy by making it easier for volunteers to communicate among themselves and with PEO staff;

WHEREAS A webmail account should be treated similar to staff email accounts and not be subject to privacy legislation for use within PEO, such that email addresses could be put in the carbon copy area and not have to go in the blind copy area, such that recipients are aware of who else is being copied within the PEO organization;

WHEREAS Webmail accounts would allow volunteers to find other volunteer email addresses, sometimes with little information using the search facility, would allow finding staff email addresses, phone numbers, proper job titles and reporting structure information;

THEREFORE BE IT SUBMITTED THAT PEO Council pass a motion allowing PEO volunteers to be able to request and receive webmail accounts.

Motion carried

President Dony congratulated Nick Monsour, P.Eng., a past president of PEO, for receiving a volunteer service award from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration for 55 years of service. 

President Dony congratulated retiring members of the 2017–2018 Council for their service to the profession during a very important year. He noted that they have worked diligently to move the profession forward and he expressed his personal appreciation to Council for their collaboration, support and encouragement and that it was a pleasure serving as president and chair.  

In recognition of their service, he presented certificates, name badges, and desk plaques to retiring members of Council: Past President Comrie, Councillor-at-Large Christian Bellini, Northern Region Councillor Michael Wesa, East Central Region Councillor Noubar Takessian and  West Central Region Councillor Danny Chui.    

Outgoing Northern Region Councillor Dan Preley, who was unable to attend, was recognized as well.  

Past President Dony administered the oath of office of president for the 2018–2019 term to David Brown and presented him with the president’s chain of office, along with the gavel of office. 

President Brown then introduced the 2018–2019 members of Council: Past President Bob Dony; President-elect Nancy Hill; Vice President Marisa Sterling, P.Eng.; Councillors-at-Large Roydon Fraser, Kelly Reid and Gregory Wowchuk, P.Eng.; Eastern Region Councillors Ishwar Bhatia and Guy Boone; East Central Region Councillors Thomas Chong and Keivan Torabi, PhD, P.Eng.; Northern Region Councillors Serge Robert, P.Eng., and Ramesh Subramanian, PhD, P.Eng., FEC; West Central Region Councillors Lisa MacCumber, P.Eng., and Warren Turnbull; Western Region Councillors Gary Houghton and Lola Hidalgo; and Lieutenant Governor-in-Council Appointees Michael Chan, Lorne Cutler, P.Eng., Tim Kirkby, Qadira Jackson Kouakou, barrister and solicitor, Lew Lederman, Tomiwa Olukiyesi, Nadine Rush and Marilyn Spink, P.Eng.

President Brown advised that before the meeting was concluded, he would be amiss not to thank those who have put their faith in him to act as PEO president for the year. He advised that he was truly thankful and that he would work to ensure this faith was indeed warranted. 

President Brown stated that although evident, no one stands where he was currently standing without a huge amount of support behind them. He thanked his children, Kale, Dylan, Rachel and Owen, who were with him; and his amazing wife, Liza.    

President Brown indicated that he also owed much gratitude to his mentors George Comrie and Bob Dony, who have been instrumental in his education of all things PEO, as well as to the senior management team and incredible staff, who have given of themselves tirelessly over the years. 

In addition, he thanked all of his current and past Council colleagues and, of course, the multitude of volunteers who have helped form who he is today. President Brown stated he would like to plant a few seeds for everyone in the room to consider. As past president George Comrie noted a couple of years ago, it is not the role of the president to impose his or her vision or agenda on the organization. Past President Comrie had further noted that history shows that those who have tried, have failed.

Recognizing from his own experience around the table that this statement is, in fact, quite true, President Brown indicated that what he was hoping for in the year ahead was to engage his Council colleagues in consideration of some of the bigger issues facing the association, such as the relevancy of the P.Eng. licence in the near future and PEO’s role as a self-regulator in it. 

As poet and Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan sang in the early ‘60s, “the times they are a-changin,” spoke to him in that nothing stays the same.

President Brown stated that he firmly believes PEO is on the cusp of being disrupted as the exponential development of technology changes the face of the world as it is now by what is being termed the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He noted that Annette Bergeron, Engineers Canada president-elect; as well as Jonathan Hack, OSPE chair and president, had similar themes in their messages.

The status quo is no longer acceptable for a regulator and, therefore, sticking collective heads in the sand and hoping for the best is far from a prudent course of action.

Engineering, as it is defined under the Professional Engineers Act, is being carried out all around and will continue to expand, yet PEO is almost powerless to put a rope around it and regulate it. 

As time advances, the ability to encapsulate these evolving fields will be limited by the resources available and, as such, the fence around PEO’s regulatory regime will continue to shrink.

Left unchanged, President Brown predicts only engineering associated with demand-side legislation will be left for PEO to regulate.

President Brown’s big-picture question to everyone was: “Where is the relevancy of our licence going and what, if anything, do we plan to do about it?” He believes the association is at a crossroads where it must be decided whether to choose disruption from within while there is still the opportunity, or be externally disrupted without a choice. He stated that the evidence shows this is already happening.

President Brown stated this was the seed he wanted to plant with everyone to begin the conversation. The keynote speaker at the luncheon will expand on this further and he encouraged all to listen to him and consider the future. 

President Brown expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to share his thoughts and for bestowing such a great honour upon him.

President Brown then declared the 96th Annual General Meeting of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario concluded.

Ralph Martin
Manager, Secretariat