RETURN TO Engineering Position Papers

EFE 2008 Questions and Answers

  1. Question: What is your position with regard to industrial exception? What changes (if any) are you planning to implement?

    Answer: The Industrial Exception was brought in as a compromise by the Government who recognized, under lobby pressure, that Industry and Manufacturing might not benefit if fully placed under our Act. To think that these same lobbyists would not appear if we wanted to cut the exception out is being unrealistic.

    Instead, the Government have given us an exception to our Act. We now have a history of 24 years of being dissatisfied with it and 24 consecutive PEO presidents who have done nothing about it. What we have is a failure by PEO to come up with conditions for this exception WITHIN our Act. PEO should detail who is entitled to an INDUSTRIAL exception and under what conditions. An exception should be granted on an individual basis by PEO after an application and a proper review process. I could envisage discussions with applicants about which parts of their operation could be exempt and for which areas they should comply with our Act. There are major statements abounding that PEO should get into cooperation with Industry about Internship. Before we can do that we need to clarify our Professional relationship with Industry.

    As a lowly Councillor I have been talking this position for several years but until we get a President with some strategic ability nothing can happen. Perhaps spreading my message now will enable something in future. As a start we should have a staff/ volunteer group looking at enabling regulations for this.
  2. Question: During the past few years PEO failed to fulfill its role as a regulatory body due to lack of enforcement. How would you improve this situation?

    Answer: First I would stop talking about PEO’s failure as a regulator. If that were to happen the Government would step in. Unfortunately most of Enforcement is done by staff. Currently Council are completely isolated from staff and have one stop access through the President and the Registrar. Until such time as Council take back the reins of PEO all we can do is bring SPECIFIC shortcomings forward and lean on the Registrar if they are not attended to. Perhaps the poser of this question would be kind enough (and Professional enough) to give us specific details of problems.
  3. Question: What is your position with regard to OSPE and PEO relationship? How would you change this relationship and why?

    Answer: I started work on the concept of an Advocacy body in 1992. It took us 8 years to bring forth OSPE. Our intention during formation was that the two units should be totally autonomous. OSPE is there to serve the MEMBERS, whilst PEO’s concern is the PUBLIC on behalf of the GOVERNMENT.

    We tried to make funding and membership compulsory as the OMA had managed to achieve. We were looking for $30 a year for a minimum period of 10 years to get OSPE established. The Attorney general stepped in and limited us to a 3 year period. Any talk of a revised funding formula is immaterial until someone gets at least a verbal approval from the AG that he will accept that sort of a link between the two bodies. My preference is total autonomy but I have an adequate record of voting for OSPE issues at PEO Council. I would note that in addition to some of PEO Council not understanding OSPE there are OSPE directors who are pushing OSPE more towards regulatory matters than they should. I totally agree that OSPE should look at every initiative from PEO but they must look at it from the point of view of what effect it has on the engineer.
  4. Question: In the past few years there has been tremendous advancement is the field of engineering and as a result, there has been new fields created within engineering profession. What is your plan for upgrading PEO to include these new fields and keep it up to date with emerging technology?

    Answer: I believe that PEO should develop guidelines and standards for new fields as a precursor to defining our “turf.” Unfortunately the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) is bogged down and is not allocated enough staff to even do the urgent work. As noted above Council needs to take back Control of the Association and we need a President who accepts the need and value of Standards.
  5. Question: Do you support the enhancement of the image of the profession and the halting of the erosion of our rights whilst protecting the public interest, by ensuring that engineering work is performed by licensed practitioners who are accountable both to the public and other members? Are you in favor of specialty designations (with exclusive rights to practice), linked to current and emerging legislation that create rights to practice for those designations?

    Answer: I am a supporter of VOLUNTARY designations, just as Professional Development must be voluntary.
  6. Question: What are your plans for improving the desecrated engineer’s image and how do you plan to educate the industry on importance of having engineers do the engineering work, not technicians or technologists?

    Answer: This will soon be a moot point when we have no industry left in Ontario. See my comments on question 1. PEO are planning (but I don’t know when) to get industry on board with Internship. It is a cultural change that is needed and it will not happen overnight. The EIT program needs pushing forward and more of us established and competent engineers should be signing up as mentors. Unless we give the young engineers the benefit of our years of experience the technologists are likely to be just as good as far as industry are concerned. Once again, we need a President or two to take an interest in furthering this matter.
  7. Question: Will you take any action to regulate or improve ever shrinking engineering salaries?

    Answer: It’s tied to the number of Engineers and I have written to my MP and to the Immigration Minister claiming that there are too many engineers already and that we need NO immigration of engineers. I will continue this drive and hope that all readers of this section will likewise write to the Gods in Ottawa. If immigration of engineers is deemed necessary the Federal Government must establish a protocol so that current Canadian engineers are not discriminated against. They must also be job and location specific, not just adding pressure to the Toronto market.
  8. Question: While the industry screams for lack of engineers and engineering talent, we see that this shortage is limited to certain specific disciplines within certain geographic locations. Unfortunately, this caused the government to have a misunderstanding that this undersupply applies to all disciplines. What are your plans in dealing with oversupply and under supply of engineering talent? What are your plans for educating the government officials in this matter?

    Answer: See above.
  9. Question: What are your plans for educating immigrant engineers in practice requirement in Ontario and assisting them in obtaining their licences?

    Answer: PEO have already bent over backward for immigrant engineers. All the information they could ever need is on the web, with PEO’s site and through the Government of Ontario. I do NOT propose to do any more. PEO has an adequate and open process. During my time on Council we developed the Provisional Licence to assist FTEs.

Denis Dixon for Councilor-at-Large

RETURN TO Engineering Position Papers