What You Must Know About OSPE’s AGM & Proposed Bylaw Changes

On Thursday, May 4, OSPE will hold its 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and General Assembly at the Chestnut Residence & Conference Centre. The event is held to conduct business on behalf of the Society. It is free for all members in good standing, and dinner is provided.

May 4, 2017

2:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Chestnut Residence & Conference Centre

89 Chestnut Street, Toronto, ON

General Assembly

  • 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Dinner and Annual General Meeting

  • 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Learn more about OSPE’s Bi-Annual General Assembly, including a full schedule, description of the Facilitated Breakout Sessions (choice of one session) and participating panelists and moderators here.

Rationale for Proposed Bylaw Changes 2017

You may have read “The OSPE Manifesto”, which was the cover article for the December 2016 issue of The Voice. It was also posted on our Society Notes blog, and printed as an advertisement in PEO’s Engineering Dimensions. The OSPE Manifesto is a published declaration of the motives and views of OSPE, outlining the core reason for our organization’s existence – to get engineers involved in shaping public policy in order to contribute to decision-making that impacts Ontario.

For the future of our province, we at OSPE believe it is critical that government and the public recognize how important engineers are for the prosperity and growth of our communities, and the quality of life Ontarians enjoy.

But after 16 years as the engineering advocacy association, OSPE is still facing the same dilemma. Engineers are not engaged or supporting the work of OSPE.

OSPE’s Dilemma

Less than 10% of Professional Engineers in Ontario join OSPE – that’s fewer than 8,000 Professional Engineers in this province supporting advocacy for their profession. This number hasn’t changed much since OSPE was created in the year 2000 to separate regulation from advocacy.

The engineering profession often compares itself to other professions, like medicine and law, and wonder why engineers don’t have the same influence in society. Well, 100% of doctors support the Ontario Medical Association, and over 80% of lawyers are members of the Ontario Bar Association (according to an OBA representative who spoke at OSPE and PEO’s Joint Political Action Network/Government Liaison Program event last fall). Doctors, lawyers, and other esteemed professionals see the value of protecting their reputation and promoting their expertise to government and the public. Judging by our membership numbers, it appears that engineers currently do not. If engineers do not proactively contribute their expertise and support their advocacy association, the voice of Ontario’s engineers will continue to be ignored. OSPE works to ensure that engineers are not being undervalued or disregarded by government or the public, but our association is only as strong, credible and revered as our membership base is diverse and engaged.

Despite OSPE’s success in advocacy, particularly over the last couple of years, the number of Professional Engineers that are OSPE members has not changed much since the association’s inception.  As a result of the lack of growth in the Professional category, one of the key goals of OSPE’s Strategic Plan is to become the go-to organization for graduates and newcomers to Ontario, before they become Professional Engineers.

Path to Licensure

OSPE wants to attract more Internationally Educated Engineering Graduates, Engineering Interns, and all engineering-degree holders as members, some of whom are attempting to gain enough experience to eventually pursue licensure. OSPE connects these individuals – who all qualify as Associate Members – with mentorship, training and employment opportunities to help facilitate their professional experience requirements for licensure through PEO.

We provide access to Professional Practice Exam training programs and Continuing Professional Development programs that offer support with project management, leadership and communications skills that help new graduates prepare themselves for the expectations of industry.

But most importantly, OSPE has the opportunity to show these individuals early on why being active and engaged in advocacy for their future profession is critical.

The 30% Reality – OSPE’s Associate Members

Right now, we know that only 30% of engineering degree holders go on to pursue licensure through PEO. This is in part because some go on to work in positions that do not require a licence, and others decide to leave the profession entirely because, through no fault of their own, they are unable to get the engineering experience required to obtain their P.Eng. licence.

OSPE helps this group remain connected to the engineering community, and encourages and supports them so they can eventually go through the licensure process and become Professional Engineers.

Engineering degree holders who join OSPE and have yet to start the process towards obtaining their P.Eng. in Ontario and Interns who are registered in Professional Engineers Ontario’s Engineering Internship Training (EIT) Program fit into the Associate member category at OSPE. These members have met the admission criteria approved by the OSPE Board of Directors, which could include but are not limited to an individual that:

  • Holds a professional engineering licence in a Canadian jurisdiction other than Ontario; or
  • Is a graduate of a CEAB accredited program; holds an engineering degree from a university that has a CEAB accredited program; holds an engineering degree from a program offered in a country where a CCPE agreement applies; or where PEO and/or OSPE has recognized his/her educational credentials; or
  • Holds a temporary licence, a limited licence or a provisional licence issued under the PEO Act.

OSPE currently has more than 1,000 Associate members. They join OSPE because they want to remain connected to the engineering community and see value in the skills they acquired through their engineering degree. They often need help determining their career path and navigating the licensure process.

What OSPE Provides Associate Members

OSPE offers the following programs that support its Associate Members:

  • Engineering Employment Events (E3s) that provide access to top employers and training opportunities
  • Mentorship and networking opportunities with Professional Engineers who can provide advice on career planning and licensure
  • EIT Nights that offer information about the licensing process and OSPE support programs
  • Bridge Training Programs to help internationally educated engineering graduates integrate into Ontario’s labour market
  • Access to and discounts onEng. Designation courses and affordable Professional Practice Exam (PPE), Experience Record and PEO Technical Exam prep courses

OSPE’s Vision

OSPE is the only engineering association in the province that is mandated to serve the needs of the entire engineering community, including Professional Engineers, engineering graduates, interns and students. Our goal is to become the association of choice for all of these groups.

OSPE must continue to grow its membership in order to grow the profession’s influence in this province. That’s why we need new graduates and new comers to Ontario to become OSPE members. We want these individuals to remain connected to the engineering community until they are ready and able to go through the licensure process.

We want to show them the value of obtaining their P.Eng. licence and help them work their way towards a successful career in engineering. We want them to understand the importance of advocacy and why engineers must be involved in public policy.

And if in the end, their career path takes them into a different industry, or a job that does not require a P.Eng. licence, we want them to recognize and promote the problem solving and critical thinking skills that they gained through their engineering degree, and how they are applying those skills that still ultimately contribute to Ontario’s economy.

We also want to keep in touch with them so that if their career path changes and they get a job that is eligible to obtain a P.Eng. licence (i.e. manufacturing), we can encourage them to get licensed and provide support along the way.

We want them to talk about the value of their engineering background so that young people considering their options for post-secondary education will recognize an engineering degree as a great option.

Proposed Bylaw Changes

OSPE is focused on growing our membership by attracting individuals who are finishing school or arriving to Ontario and need support to integrate into the engineering profession. As such, OSPE’s Board Development and Strategic Planning Committee is proposing a change to OSPE’s bylaws so that Associate members can be eligible to serve on OSPE’s Board of Directors starting in 2018.

Having Associate members on OSPE’s Board would help ensure the organization is providing the right services to assist graduates and newcomers to Ontario in gaining engineering experience, obtaining their licence and enjoying successful careers in Ontario.

Currently, only Professional members – OSPE members that have their P.Eng. licence – can nominate a Director or serve as a Director on OSPE’s Board.

From a governance perspective, leveraging the experiences and opinions of these members will bring a diversity of viewpoints to the OSPE Board, and will help us assess our programs and offerings and ideally grow membership in this area.

What’s Next?

On March 20, 2017, all OSPE members in good standing were sent a Notice of Annual General Meeting and Bylaw Changes package, to which you can also refer for this information.

As with any bylaw change, this will be voted on by OSPE members only at the 2017 Annual General Meeting on Thursday, May 4 in Toronto.

If the bylaw changes are passed, Associate members would have full voting rights, including the right to nominate members for election to the Board. OSPE’s Board would continue to be composed of 12 voting Directors, and a minimum of seven of those Directors would be Professional Engineers, instead of all 12.

Support OSPE’s Future

OSPE must continue to grow its membership in order to grow the profession’s influence in this province. We must engage more directly with those in Ontario that struggle to enter the profession so we can provide them with adequate help and support, and show them the value of fully joining the profession by obtaining their P.Eng.  We hope you’ll be supportive of our efforts to fully engage with and support Ontario’s future engineers while helping them succeed.

If you have specific questions or concerns that you would like addressed in advance of or at OSPE’s Annual General Meeting, please contact us at info@ospe.on.ca.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Donald Town

    We can elect our board via electronic means, but have to be present (or appoint a proxy) at the General Meeting to vote on bylaw changes. This should be changed so that we do not have to travel to the annual meeting in order to register our vote.

    1. STAFF

      Hi Donald, thank you for your comment; we have passed along your recommendation. Unfortunately, at this time, voting on bylaw changes cannot be done online as our current bylaws state that voting can only be done in person or via proxy. The primary reason that we vote on bylaw changes and other motions in person is because there is generally a healthy exchange/debate on these motions at the AGM prior to the vote being called. If we allowed members to vote prior to this, there is no opportunity to hear all sides of the motion before casting their ballot. Of course, we hope to see you at the AGM or that you’re able to pass on your proxy to someone you know and trust to represent your views. Please feel free to reach out with any further questions.

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