APEGA 2020 Annual Report


APEGA, LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD, made sweeping adjustments to cope with the restrictions and anxieties this pandemic forced on its membership, its staff, and each of us. The move from working at the office to working from home could be implemented swiftly because APEGA had already embarked on a project to strengthen its technology. The stay-at-home order moved the project up by many months and focused it on the necessities. The discussion of how to carry out the regulation of professional engineers and geoscientists in the very-changed landscape was a balance of technology and compassion, with delays for thoughtful debate. Dues reductions and deferrals were given, examinations and continuing professional development were ramped up online (and other jurisdictions signed up to use some Alberta products), and new processes to perform practice reviews and hearings were formulated and implemented successfully. The board’s first meeting online was in March. While connecting virtually was difficult at first, the protocol made it possible to have better attendance at meetings. However, the downside was debate and discussions during breaks were more restricted. We learned that a blended approach of in-person and online meetings may provide benefits for the organization.

One of the early decisions the board had to make was whether to hold the AGM and how to deal with the impact on elections of not holding it. It is a credit to staff and membership that the transition to the 2020-2021 Council took place without incident. This was not the 100th anniversary year that APEGA planned for, but it lived the centennial slogan: A Century Well Built. APEGA did well because it has built 100 years of dedication to a strong governance model and its councillors and staff are committed to the best regulation. It has been truly a privilege to learn and to be with Council and staff over the years, getting to know the many different and talented professional engineers and geoscientists and their contributions. MARY PHILLIPS-RICKEY , FCA, FCPA GEORGEANN WILKIN , RN, LL.B Public Members

Discipline Committee

IT HAS BEEN AN INTERESTING YEAR FOR APEGA —its centennial year and planned celebrations coincided with COVID-19, which impacted everything in the province as of mid-March. It is a credit to the organization that its work continued in a seamless fashion, albeit being executed very differently. The Discipline Committee (DC) changed the manner in which it carried out its functions. Once everyone became familiar with the new virtual modus operandi, there was a realization there may be occasions going forward to permanently adjust some of the ways it does its business. The pandemic has provided an unexpected learning opportunity. The DC continued to meet four times a year, but rather than using the offices in Calgary and Edmonton as the joint meeting sites, we adjusted to the having members participate from their homes. APEGA staff members were most supportive to committee members to ensure each could participate fully. The DC addresses cases referred to it by the Investigative Committee (IC). A recommended discipline order (RDO) from the IC is overseen by an APEGA member of the DC. The IC can also refer charges of unprofessional conduct or unskilled practice to the DC for a formal hearing, the panel for which comprises APEGA committee members and can include the public member depending on the nature of the charges.

The biggest change in the manner of the committee’s work occurred at the time of a formal discipline hearing. It was a true team effort involving the Discipline Department and the IT Department to expedite a hearing that would accommodate those off site, such as the witnesses, ensure appropriate safety protocols were followed by those meeting in person, and virtually connect both groups. There was an initial lull in the activity of this committee as there were fewer RDOs and hearings referred from the IC, which received fewer complaints as a result of slowing activity in the province as a whole. However, once activity in the province increased and new workable processes were put in place, there was increased momentum to address committee responsibilities in a timely manner. The creative effort that went into ensuring that the committee could fulfil its mandate reflects the culture of APEGA—it continued to remain true to its commitment to regulatory excellence. While the celebratory year played out differently than originally planned, APEGA could proudly celebrate how it adapted to uphold its regulatory obligations and its duty to protect the public interest. It did not waiver.

I was pleased to continue to serve as the public member during this most interesting and challenging year.

Respectfully submitted,

MURIEL DUNNIGAN , M.Ed. Public Member



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