On Monday, May 8, members from across Ontario gathered virtually for OSPE’s 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM). This meeting provided a forum for OSPE’s members and leadership to celebrate the association’s successful 2022, recognize incoming and outgoing Board Directors, and conduct official Society business. Read a brief recap below or watch the full recording on YouTube.
The AGM opened with remarks from OSPE President and Chair Dr. Marilyn Powers, P.Eng. Dr. Powers offered a land acknowledgment for the evening’s proceedings and thanked OSPE’s Annual Partners and the 2022-2023 Board Directors. Following these introductory statements, the members voted to approve the minutes of the 2022 AGM.
Report from the Chair and CEO
OSPE CEO Sandro Perruzza then joined Dr. Powers to review the association’s highlights from the previous year. 2022 marked the introduction of OSPE’s new strategic plan, which outlines the society’s four pillars: equipping engineers to Lead, Grow, Care, and Prosper. Key accomplishments from 2022 included:
- Releasing leading research reports on Indoor Air Quality, Data Governance, and other current topics
- Delivering certificate programs and Eng. prep courses to hundreds of learners
- Hosting the 2023 Engineering Conference in Ottawa, OSPE’s first in-person conference since 2019
- Working with Women and Gender Equality Canada to explore how sustainable procurement policies can support employment opportunities for equity-seeking groups
- Welcoming over 800 job seekers to our Virtual Engineering Employment Events
- Engaging elected officials to ensure engineers have a spot at the decision-making table
- Publishing Ontario’s Engineering Community in Transition, a study exploring how different sectors of Ontario’s engineering community view the profession
A complete review of OSPE’s 2022 accomplishments is available in our 2022 Annual Report.
Report of the Nominations Committee
The next item of business was the report of OSPE’s 2023 Nominations Committee, delivered by Committee Chair Stephen Pepper, P.Eng. Stephen thanked all members who ran in the 2023 Board election, and announced that the following members were elected to three-year terms:
- David Carnegie, P.Eng.
- Mark Emmanuel, P.Eng.
- Meggen Janes, P.Eng.
- Caroline Wojtyla, P.Eng.
These four Board Directors commenced their terms immediately upon the conclusion of the AGM.
Report of the Treasurer
The Chair then invited OSPE Treasurer Nicholas Burgwin, P.Eng., to present OSPE’s 2022 financial statements. Nicholas delivered a summary of revenue and expenses from 2022, and members voted to appoint BDO Canada, LLP, as the Society’s auditors for 2023.
Following the Treasurer’s report, the Chair and CEO took questions from OSPE members. (The following questions and answers are edited for clarity and conciseness; for a complete account of questions and answers, consult the AGM video recording.)
What is OSPE doing to strengthen its relationship with PEO?
OSPE co-operates with PEO at the staff level, sharing information and resources that help us achieve our distinct mandates. Moving forward, we will hold a yearly Leadership Summit where leaders of both organizations will meet to discuss and resolve issues in an open forum and identify where we can work together.
What are OSPE’s plans to provide continuing professional development (CPD) for P.Eng. licence holders?
OSPE conducted an in-depth needs analysis in 2021, the findings of which form the basis of our future learning and development offerings, delivered through our Engineering Academy. We have partnered with industry experts to launch certificate programs, and will continue working with members to develop workshops and courses. Our goal is to make the Engineering Academy the go-to source of lifelong learning for Ontario’s engineers and engineering graduates. This is even more critical now that PEO has implemented mandatory CPD for engineers.
What can OSPE do to further lobby and inform industry and government bodies on the instrumental role engineers hold in climate change mitigation?
In early 2023, OSPE formed a Climate Crisis Task Force, focused on supporting sustainable infrastructure solutions and green initiatives in Ontario’s long-term energy plan. This group operates according to a clear advocacy plan which outlines the stakeholders they must reach to achieve their goals.
What is OSPE doing to advocate for the value of the P.Eng. licence and exclusive rights to practice, such as engineers taking accountability with other qualified professionals for carbon calculations?
OSPE exists to protect the interests of engineers, graduates, interns, and students. Without a strong regulator focused on protecting the public, the perception of Ontario’s engineering community is jeopardized. OSPE has long advocated for changes at PEO, and we welcome PEO’s plan to implement the recommendations from their 2019 external performance review. Proper implementation of this plan will see PEO professionalize its practices based on right-touch regulation principles. Throughout this process, OSPE will continue urging PEO Council to focus on regulation.
How many OSPE members are there?
We currently have approximately 10,000 members.
Does OSPE have mobility agreements with other provincial professional engineering associations?
Mobility agreements are established between licensing bodies, not member organizations. PEO currently has mobility agreements in place with other provincial licensing bodies.
Do we have a recent survey / statistics of unemployed and employed professional engineers in Ontario?
We work closely with Canadian census data to generate as full a picture as possible of employment rates for Ontario’s engineering graduates.
What percentage of professional engineers are members of OSPE, and what action is being taken to strengthen OSPE and increase its membership?
About 43% of members are professional engineers. We are continually working to enhance the value of membership; for example, by expanding our CPD offerings. OSPE is also working to grow our membership base; for example, by encouraging companies that hire professional engineers (including banks and other large corporations) to provide memberships for the engineers on their staff.
Is there anything that OSPE might consider to assist in educating and potentially promoting limited licensees?
The limited licence is expected to grow following the recent FARPACTA changes at PEO. OSPE will continue supporting engineering graduates on the path to licensure, and will work with PEO to promote the limited licence to those who qualify.
Are OSPE’s professional development courses free to OSPE members, or do members need to pay a fee?
OSPE offers a number of webinars and learning opportunities to members at no additional cost. Other offerings (for example, our Digital Transformation certificate program) have a fee attached. This fee includes a significant discount available exclusively to members.
Can you share additional examples of how we have worked with political decision makers to influence public policy?
Recent examples of our advocacy work include the following:
- We collaborate with fellow associations (such as Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario and Ontario Association of Architects) to share our expertise and support their advocacy efforts.
- We have been lobbying government partners to implement a Qualifications-Based Selection framework for procurement of engineering services.
- We are currently meeting with public agencies (including National Defence, Federal Ministry of Transportation, City of Toronto, and City of Ottawa) to educate them on the value of sustainable procurement.
- Our Energy Task Force has worked closely with government leaders to help implement a net-zero energy system by 2050. The province of Ontario recently implemented the ultra-low overnight pricing model that OSPE first recommended six years ago.
National Engineering Month – University Student Challenge
Following member questions, the Chair announced the winners of the 2023 University Student Challenge. This annual challenge, sponsored by OSPE, takes place every March during National Engineering Month. Teams of up to five engineering students from across Ontario work together to host public outreach events in their communities.
The 2023 results were announced as follows:
University of Ottawa (Team Lead: Leah Kristufek)
University of Ottawa (Team Lead: Didem Cicek Simsek)
McMaster University (Team Leads: Olivia Wiper, Joseph D’Angelo, Jonathan Sukhu, Abdul Basith Siddiqui, Oluwadayomi Kehinde)
Acknowledging Outgoing Board Directors
The Chair formally thanked the following outgoing board directors for their service to OSPE:
- Réjeanne Aimey, P.Eng.
- Nick Burgwin, P.Eng.
- Mark Frayne, P.Eng.
Welcoming Stephanie Holko
As the last item of business, Dr. Powers introduced OSPE’s Vice Chair and incoming President and Chair, Stephanie Holko, P.Eng. Vice Chair Holko thanked Dr. Powers for her leadership over the past year.
2023-2024 OSPE Executive Committee
Following the conclusion of the AGM, the 2023-2024 Board of Directors held their inaugural meeting and elected the following members to the Executive Committee:
- President and Chair – Stephanie Holko, P.Eng.
- Vice Chair – David Carnegie, P.Eng.
- Treasurer – Stephen Pepper, P.Eng.
- Secretary – Meggen Janes, P.Eng.
- Past Chair – Dr. Marilyn Powers, P.Eng.