What is the Legal Stance of the AIPE?
The AIPE is now incorporated under the Societies Act, in the province of Alberta, meaning that our organizational objectives and Bylaws are registered with the provincial government. The first of our registered and accepted objectives is "To certify and give professional designations to members who meet the membership requirements of the AIPE." Included in our registered and accepted Bylaws, is provision that "Members, who hold a valid Power Engineer's Certificate of Competency issued by the Alberta Boiler Safety Association (Alberta Labour or Municipal Affairs), and who have met the required membership standards of the AIPE, shall be entitled to use the professional designation of PE."
For you Members who ask “Is our next step to register under POARA (Professional and Occupational Associations Registration Act)?” We contacted the government office that administers POARA, and they have indicated that inclusion in POARA is still possible, but that we face some significant roadblocks:
- We currently have too small a membership to be recognized, relative to the number of Power Engineers in Alberta (although our recent registration as a Society should help to address that.)
- A certification standard that is already in place and working (that is, ABSA's) which makes professional registration appear to be redundant.
- Existing legislation that is already working to regulate our profession effectively (the Safety Codes Act.)
- A registration process that is extremely expensive and time-consuming, and which requires consultation with other POARA registered professional organizations, including APEGGA (Alberta Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists Association.)
- A requirement to demonstrate that inclusion of AIPE in POARA is in the public interest, especially as regards public safety.
There are two key differences between our Society status and APEGGA's Professional Organization status:
- APEGGA provides its own internal certification standard and process. The certification standard and process that we recognize is that which is already in place at ABSA, and administered by them.
- APEGGA does have a stronger legal protection for the professional titles that they bestow, because of the nature of the legislation involved.
ASET (the Alberta Society of Engineering Technologists) is registered as a Society, like the AIPE, but they also have some degree of protection under POARA.
One question that has been asked is, “Will the AIPE be self-governing?” We went to considerable lengths while developing the AIPE Bylaws to ensure that our organizational status with the national IPE would be unchanged, adopting substantial sections of our Bylaws from the IPE constitution and Operational Memos. The IPE has been a self-governing body since its incorporation in 1940, and we don't anticipate that will change.
To the individuals who worked to achieve this, “THANK YOU”. It was indeed a very significant achievement, brought about by a considerable amount of work, time, competence, and frustration, particularly on the part of Wil Amundson. Others have already proposed some "next steps" for us, to cement our professional standing further, and we have not determined yet which of these ideas we will be pursuing initially.
Lorne Shewfelt, PE
Alberta IPE Area Director