Solomon Ko, LL.B., P.Eng., C.Eng., FEC
Candidate for Councillor-at-Large
PEO Council 2018
My Vision and Platform
Engineers are proud of the profession and its governing body and respected by the public
In addition to doing our own good job, we rely PEO as the governing body to deliver its mandate effectively to make our licence relevant. In addition to the tasks as listed below, I want to see PEO continues working closely with the other peer groups OSPE, OAA, Engineers Canada, other provincial regulators as well as Ontario Government to advance the engineering profession to serve the public and gain their trust.
Public are protected and seen to be protected through active communication and enforcement
Safety is a given in our society and sometimes people are taking for granted as we are doing the good job in protecting them. As the lawyers often say: “Justice should not only be done, but also seen to be done”. This should also apply to our profession. We need the public to recognize how we and PEO are protecting them.
One paramount task of PEO is to ensure that our licence is relevant to ensuring no professional engineering work performed by non P.Eng. That needs our enforcement activities enhanced. Over the years, as part of the Enforcement Committee, we did work on many initiatives to step up the enforcement activities. We have seen some improvement over the years; but a bit slow and not enough. So one of my task is to see how the Board prioritize the input/suggestions from so many committees and see if enforcement actions can be improved.
We need to let the public know our effort, telling them how we exercise our diligence to ensure engineering work is done properly by our competent members. I have seen improvement in the Engineering Dimensions that conveys more message and information; but this only reaches out to our members. More communication is required to the public at large, including working with newspapers to educate the public on what we are doing and dissipating the message that how we ensure that happens.
Effective governance that is fiscally responsible, relevant, transparent and inclusive
Fiscally responsible – PEO continue to be fiscally responsible to contain the cost and freeze membership fees at the current level; not to grow, because there are surpluses, into a white elephant and engage into initiatives that are not relevant and essential to the mandates of the profession.
Relevant – Only engineers can perform engineering work to make the PEO licence relevant. Enforcement is a very important part of operation in PEO and resources should be allocated for such a function with priorities.
Transparent – Whatever PEO and the Board do must be made known to all members who are part of the self-regulation for themselves. In reality check, how much do our members know about how PEO is governed and what our core values and strategic plans are? PEO has the obligation to engage members in the governance. More innovative communication approaches should be invented such as quiz in the web/Engineering Dimensions with prizes to attract them to read. Over the past, PEO has been doing a good job in publishing the information of the committees (Terms of Reference, Agenda, Minutes) on the PEO web; this should be continued. In addition, PEO should publish articles in the Dimension to tell the story of each committee to give members opportunity have a deeper understanding of the functioning of each committee
Inclusive – Members should all have input to what is done that affect the members themselves. They should be kept informed of what is going on. PEO Web and Dimensions have been doing a good job in publishing a lot of information. This can be further improved by introducing materials that are on the outside world that is related to our profession, such as how the other professions in Ontario are doing, their membership, their mandate and operation for us to compare ourselves with them to inspire us to do at par with them, if not better. PEO should also publish monthly newsletter/notice to members with a summary of what’s going on for those who are too busy to read all the details and devise scheme to allure members reading them with quiz and prizes. It is good to see that the Board is working on a succession plan, to engage members in an orderly manner to ensure quality and enthusiastic members to get on the Board. I believe similar plans should also be introduced to the committees and chapters, if the chapters do not already have succession plans for members to progress.
Young and new members, who are our future, are engaged in the governance
New members, after passing the PPE and licensed, will seldom have interest in PEO. They may not realize that PEO is a self regulated member organization that require member involvement in major issues, like setting standards, discipline and enforcement, accreditation, all related to the profession. Some might have interest, but getting into the Board and Committees is a daunting exercise. One needs experience and connection before they can get into them and may have to wait for a long time to line up on the waiting list to get into it.
These young and new members are our future. The early they can get involved and prepare for themselves, the better for the profession. I will propose a scheme to let them to sit in the council and committees as an observer to get a feel on what are being done in these forums. These would allow them to get in contact with committee members and councillors and will get in the governance indirectly. This will also arouse their interest on some of the governance issues and start working on them.
A scheme to enable new members to sit in the committees and even the Council as observers to have a better understanding of how these forums function and season them at the early stage to have interest on how the profession is governed.
2018-2020 Strategic Plan, highlights of actions
Protecting the Public Interest
- Refine the delivery of the PEAK program – PEO should review the program soon after one year implementation to see the relevancy and the meaningfulness of the data collected; what is the use of ethic review, should this be collected annually, how to differentiate the data between practising and non-practising. The scheme should be revisited and modified as appropriate
- Enforcement efforts – covered above.
- Public image –covered above.
- Engage chapters – Fully support the initiative using chapters as resources. This serves two purposes – to expand the local outreach and to educate members in the governance.
- Increase influence in profession matters – Covered above. In addition, a standing Work Group should be established to watch out for the emerging technology with dedicated staff support to ensure matters that will be under the arm of PEO to be dealt with at the early stage, to create and not just react to the future. This is in addition to the current Task force who is focusing on the two new disciplines – Communication Infrastructure Engineering and Nanotechnology & Molecular Engineering
Advancing PEO’s Mission
- Augment licence holder experience – Need to understand the background and process for this.
- Voluntary leadership framework – Watch out closely how the succession plan for the Council and committees rolling out and ensure potential capable members will be fit into the governance.
- Seamless transition from student to members – Continue the outreach activities to colleges and universities, with the Engineer Canada’s 30/30 initiatives in mind. Currently PEO has about 17% of members are female; so attaining 30% by 2030 should be a very reasonable target.
- Corporate culture – Support the consistent evaluation of core values for staff and volunteers.