ACEC COMMUNIQUÉ - MAY / JUNE 1998


NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

ACEC Web Site Re-engineered!

«www.acec.ca» is your new cyber-repository of industry and association news!

The new look and structure reflects comments and suggestions received over the past year from visitors who took the time to drop ACEC a line. Members can now download, among others, ACEC position papers, committee lists and order forms to use at their convenience. As a value-added service, ACEC provides FREE links to members' email or web site addresses -- contact Dan Matko at memserv@acec.ca to sign up or visit the "Members" area on the ACEC site for further details.

The site will be more dynamic, with frequent updates and new features added as required. Members are encouraged to visit the site and bookmark it for regular infusions of Association and industry business, whether domestic or international!


Dave Broadfoot Headlines 1998 Awards!

For the first time ever the Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards will be held away from Ottawa and in conjunction with FIDIC '98. Headlining this evening of world-class entertainment is Canada's own Sargeant Renfrew of the Mounties: Dave Broadfoot!

Edmonton's Winspear Theatre is the venue for the event, held in the company of industry peers from around the world. If you have not put your name next to tickets for this event, visit the new ACEC web site to download your order form.

Only a very limited number of Canadian firms have registered for FIDIC '98 and as hosts we should ensure a strong representation of Canadian firms from across Canada. If you have not had an opportunity to consider registering for FIDIC '98, again, visit the ACEC web site or contact Clara Higgerty at 1-800-565-0569 or events@acec.ca to sign up.


New Industry Publication

The Association of Consulting Engineers of Quebec (AICQ) developed a guide and glossary to the practice of management of engineering projects. Its initial purpose was to inform Hydro-Qu‚bec about project delivery methods as well as provide them with a glossary of engineering and project management terms common to the industry.

The success of the document in terms of acceptance and in defining negotiations with Hydro-Qu‚bec clearly demonstrated a need. As a result, the document was expanded to respond to the needs of the consulting engineering industry as well as their clients. ACEC has had the document translated and adapted into English, and will offers it for sale to members and non-members by September. Contact Corinne Ng at the ACEC National Office for details.


GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

MERX

Transition from the Open Bidding System to MERX, now operated by Cebra, has raised concerns vis-à-vis the efficiency of the electronic system for posting federal government opportunities. Thanks to ACEC members sharing their frustration and their findings, ACEC sent a letter to PWGSC pointing out specific problems encountered by users of the system and made several recommendations, including that:

PWGSC advised ACEC that they had discussed the recommendations with Cebra and were in the process of making the suggested improvements to the system. In the meantime, those using the system should be aware that even very slight spelling differences change substantially the result of the search:


Tax Credits

In March, ACEC presented Treasury Board President Marcel Massé with three positions papers, one of which addressed the support of export services through corporate and personal income tax reductions for services provided outside Canada. ACEC continues its search of foreign government initiatives that support exports and will be preparing a brief in view of the federal government budget consultations in the Fall.

A report on business taxation, ordered by the Minister of Finance, supports our argument that service industries are taxed more highly than other sectors of the Canadian economy (+6%) and in comparison to similar sectors in the U.S. and U.K. However, the report also recommends that the lifetime capital gains exemption for shares of Canadian-controlled private corporations be replaced by a new retirement savings measure.

ACEC is concerned with the latter and is monitoring the issue. If you have information on comparable tax systems and/or issues to raise, please contact Anne-Marie Schneider.


No SOQs for two federal projects

PWGSC informed ACEC that two federal projects will not be procured according to the usual selection process, but rather directly through RFPs.

The first involves the reconfiguration of 3 floors of the Joseph Sheppard Building in North York, Ontario. Professional fees are in the range of $400K. The second consists of the Government of Canada building to be built in Iqaluit; professional fees are estimated at $1M.

In both cases, time was the factor behind the removal of the pre-qualification stage. As PWGSC explained, there are very few firms with experience in the North and sensitivity to the Inuit culture, which limits the number of firms submitting proposals. However, ACEC is concerned with the potentially high number of firms that may prepare full proposals for the Ontario project and has advised PWGSC of this.

ACEC asked PWGSC to report on the number of RFPs received and the time involved in their evaluation. PWGSC is also reviewing the timeframes required by NAFTA as they relate to single- and two-stage proposals.

Comments should be addressed to Anne-Marie Schneider at amschneider@acec.ca .