The CSEG/CSPG/APEGGA Liaison Committee has been focussing on issues of concern which have been raised by geologists and geophysicists who have complained about certain APEGGA policies. Our goal is to try to facilitate change from within the system in order to demonstrate that APEGGA can be sensitive to members' needs and can change when reasonable arguments are made and are backed up with workable recommendations.
In our most recent report to APEGGA Council we highlighted the four issues which affect all APEGGA members, not just geoscientists. These are:
- Recommendations to change the Manual of Professional Practice under the Code of Ethics. Rule 10 basically says that professionals should conduct themselves towards others with fairness and good faith. However, the amplification offered for Rule 10 says that if a professional is reviewing the work of another professional it must be done "only with the knowledge of and after communication with such engineer, geologist or geophysicist". As such a requirement is contrary to common practice in the oil industry, we have recommended that this section be rewritten to be more consistent with both established practice and also with the guidelines issued by the APEGGA Discipline Committee.
This change may not affect the day to day life of any of us very much, but it is needed to keep APEGGA's written material relevant and meaningful to our real world situations. Council wholeheartedly endorsed our recommendations and the Practice Standards Committee has been directed to rewrite the inappropriate sections.
- The issue of the cost of the corporate Permit to Practice for small companies is a perennial complaint among consultants of all three disciplines. The need for change has been underlined by APEGGA's recent push to tighten the enforcement procedures for companies who do not have a Permit to Practice but advertise themselves as consultants. A wholesale overhaul of the permit structure is currently being undertaken by the Permit to Practice Task Force. Recent articles in The PEGG (June and August) have outlined the issues being discussed by this Task Force. The Liaison Committee is hopeful that the recommendations regarding permits for small companies will be made to Council in December of this year.
- Another source of perennial complaint is the difficulties faced by senior professionals (more than 10 years professional experience in Alberta) who may lack the paper qualifications to be automatically admitted to APEGGA membership. We recognize that many such individuals are intimidated by the spectre of being required to take multiple exams, and the perceived risk of enforcement action if they then decide not to follow through with applying for membership because the work required to qualify is too much. We are drafting an article to communicate more clearly what the current procedures are for reviewing registration applications and in particular how the applicant's experience is considered in the evaluation process. If we see a need for changes in the existing procedures and can offer constructive recommendations, we shall do so.
- Maintaining professional competence is an important issue for all professionals. Most practicing geoscientists participate in continuing education of some form on a regular basis in order to stay current in their specialty or to broaden their expertise. APEGGA is currently studying the issue of continuing education and what standards should be expected from its members. The Liaison Committee has emphasized to Council that it supports the continuing education initiative. However, once a set of recommended standards or expectations is available, consultative discussion with the membership will be needed before deciding on what procedures should be used to ensure compliance. We urge everyone to be alert to this issue in the coming months.
The Liaison Committee continues to look for ways in which it can improve cooperation between the CSEG, the CSPG, and APEGGA, as well as making APEGGA more relevant and responsive to the needs of geologists and geophysicists. If you have ideas to improve the value of APEGGA membership to you and your peers, please contact one of the members of the Committee and document your concern in writing. Your comments will be treated confidentially if you so request.
The CSEG/CSPG/APEGGA Liaison Committee Chairman is John Peirce (GEDCO telephone 262-5781 or fax 262-8632)
Members of the Liaison Committee are: Gerry DeSorcy, Ian Halladay, Al King. Bill May, John McLeod, Brian Russell, Neil Rutherford, Roy Stuart and Al Schuld.