OSPE’s 2021 Board Officers & Member Q&A from the 2021 Annual General Meeting

Introducing the Newly Elected Officers of the Board

The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) held its 21st Annual General Meeting (AGM) virtually on Saturday May 8, 2021. The first meeting of the Board was held immediately following the AGM and it is our pleasure to announce that the following individuals were elected as officers of the Board:

In addition to an overview of the Society’s accomplishments and financials over the past year, the AGM serves as a forum for members to bring forward any questions they might have for OSPE’s leadership. The following dialogue recounts the questions posed by our members and OSPE’s responses. A recording of the entire 2021 Annual General Meeting, including the answers to all these questions is available to view here.

Pre-submitted Questions Asked by Registrants

OSPE is the voice of the engineering profession in Ontario. We represent the entire engineering community, including professional engineers, engineering graduates and students who work or will work in several of the most strategic sectors of Ontario’s economy.

Yes, the AGM will be recorded and available online.

PEO and OSPE are separate organizations with distinct mandates. PEO regulates and OSPE advocates. This division of mandates is used by several professions.

OSPE and PEO share information and work together in an official capacity at the Board of Directors/Council level through the OSPE-PEO Joint Relations Committee (JRC).

OSPE also works cooperatively with PEO at the staff level, sharing information and resources that can help each of us achieve our distinct mandates. OSPE and PEO work together to celebrate the professional through our annual gala, the Ontario Professional Engineers Awards (OPEAs).

As a member-driven professional association, OSPE’s goal is to bring engineers together to contribute knowledge, skills, and leadership to create a better future for the profession and society at large.

Although there was an initial decrease in membership at the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen a steady increase in membership numbers since September 2020.

Throughout the pandemic, we have seen increased engagement online due to the launch of monthly advocacy webinars, trivia and ENGgames nights, and the launch of our ENGTalks video series and the Engineering the Future podcast.

A full update of OSPE’s activities in 2020 was provided at the start of the AGM, during the Chair and CEO reports. You can also find information on OSPE’s achievements in our Annual Report, available online and in the AGM package provided to attendees.

OSPE Career Centre offers specific tools to help individuals find employment. Our Virtual Engineering Employment Events (VE3s) connect candidates with engineering employers that are hiring. Prior to a VE3, candidates submit their resume and video answering the introductory questions provided in each job description. Selected candidates are invited to a 15-minute virtual meeting with prospective employers on the event date.

We also have Job Search Workshops designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills to write an impactful resume, access the hidden job market and make connections in their field and successfully land a position that meets their needs.

Questions from the Floor

Absolutely, we have worked with PEO. Aimey and Perruzza continue to have quarterly meetings with PEO leadership through OSPE’s Joint Relations Committee (JRC). In addition to these meetings, Perruzza also has regular meetings with PEO’s CEO and Registrar to talk about operational issues. The organizations jointly work on the Ontario Professional Engineers Awards (OPEA) Gala—hosted virtually this year. We are waiting to see what the rules for November will be to see if we can host the next OPEA Gala in person or online. Now that PEO has refocused its efforts on its regulatory mandate, they have indicated that there are certain areas where they are not able to work with OSPE on various projects—especially if it focuses on a member benefit or benefit to engineers. Their focus is on the public interest. Therefore, if there is an opportunity to work on something that benefits both the public and engineers, then OSPE and PEO may certainly collaborate. However, if it is solely an engineering benefit, PEO can no longer participate.

Royalties refer to the fees OSPE receives when our affinity partners engage with members.

We fully support the actions taken by PEO to implement mandatory continuing professional development (CPD). OSPE has been advocating to make CPD mandatory for many years.  We also support the proposed changes to their governance structure to ensure they are focused on their sole mandate of regulating the practice of professional engineering.

OSPE has created the Ontario Engineering Academy (OEA), which will be the go-to place for life-long learning for engineers and engineering gradutes across Ontario. The OEA delivers educational offerings as courses, programs, and certificates that professional engineers will need to complete their CPD requirements.

In February of 2021, OSPE conducted an in-depth needs analysis for the OEA. There were two surveys sent out: one to organizations and one individuals (both OSPE members and non-members). The findings of the needs analysis are the basis of future OEA learning and development offerings.

In 2021, we are partnering with industry experts to launch certifications programs in Health and Safety, Emotional Intelligence and Project Engineering. In addition, there will be a focus on developing technical workshops and courses by leveraging our members who are subject matter experts in their respective fields. OSPE will also be launching a learning management system for e-learning to complement our current instructor-led training in various topics including leadership, management, communications, and essential skills, etc.

Everyone can submit articles for consideration for OSPE’s magazine The Voice. If a member provides an article for consideration and it does not get included in the magazine there are a number of other options. Many OSPE members have contributed stories to the Society Notes Blog and the ENGage Forum is yet another platform for members to highlight the work they have done.

This is strictly in the purview of our regulator (PEO). OSPE works with PEO on several operational items, including the rollout of CPD, so we will be providing input based on the feedback from our membership. CPD is not identical across all provinces, so there are several considerations based on the practices of other provinces that will be reviewed prior to developing a program for Ontario. However, PEO will control when this rollout happens and what its parameters will be.

 OSPE recently featured an interview with Daniel Lawrysyn, P.Eng., Manager of Continuing Professional Development at the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Alberta (APEGA) on our podcast Engineering the Future. Tune into the episode to hear about what recommendations APEGA has for Ontario as it implements CPD for engineers.  

OSPE supports PEO in its role to regulate the practice of professional engineering in all industries. We will support PEO when and if they decide to move forward with trying to repeal the industrial exception. Our hope is that when they do, they reach out to OSPE for advice.

We defer to the definition of the word “engineer” that says you can only call yourself an engineer if you have a P.Eng. or have an engineering licence from our regulator.

More than 20 years ago, OSPE was created because it was decided that a regulator cannot also participate in advocacy and membership activities. OSPE and PEO will remain separate and distinct organizations with unique mandates.

This matter is outside of OSPE’s jurisdiction. This was mandated in the Act that PEO enforces; you can only be called an engineer if you have a professional engineering licence. This has been the case for quite some time.

OSPE is not making efforts to work with PEO Chapters. Our mandate is advocacy and PEO’s mandate is regulation. The Chapters belong to PEO. OSPE does not have any say over their organization or strategic direction, but we are willing to have a discussion with PEO over the future of Chapter direction.

The auditors are not employees, so they do not get paid wages. They are independent so they get paid fees. In 2020 OSPE paid approximately $35,000 in fees. About $25,000 was paid for OSPE’s auditing financials and the rest was for auditing our government programs. The auditors’ fees are reviewed every Fall by the Audit and Finance Committee and approved at that time.

OSPE does not have the authority to enforce that rule. PEO would have to contact those companies to let them know they are committing an infraction that goes against the Professional Engineers Act.

Our new President and Chair will have that discussion with the incoming Board of Directors. This year we do have membership and member engagement as one of the primary operational goals. We have taken steps to ensure that the success of our organization is tied to membership.

The closest thing we have to the PEO Chapters is the OSPE Exchange Hubs. However, they are different in that the Hubs were designed to bring together engineering students, recent graduates, professionals and industry partners. Till PEO invites us to be a part of determining the future of their Chapters the Hubs are the closest thing we have to them.

Whatever process PEO determines is best for them to refocus as a regulator and focus on the public interest, OSPE will be in favour of. If this moves them along that continuum OSPE will support the decision.

Thank you to all of our members for attending and participating in OSPE’s AGM. If you have any further questions regarding OSPE’s Annual Report, operations or financials, please contact us at info@ospe.on.ca.

 

Watch the full 2021 OSPE Annual General Meeting

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