ACEC Communiqué -- May 1999
In this issue:
The Year in Review
Important Notice to all ACEC CD-ROM users!
A minor bug in the search function was uncovered by an astute member. A patch correcting the problem is available from the ACEC web site. Go to www.acec.ca, follow the home page link of your choice and click on the "Recent updates" link - there you will find a link to a ZIP file containing the patch and instructions, which you should save to disk.
The correction not only reveals all offices including branches on a province or city search, it also shows -- on ALL searches -- the city in which each office is located (an added feature!).
The Year in Review
Dear ACEC Members:
ACEC has embarked on a new fiscal exercise, with new and continuing challenges to address. In this first issue of Communiqué for 1999-2000, we offer a synopsis of the issues on our plate and some of the activities we undertook on your behalf. You can read about these and more in the 1999-2000 ACEC Annual Report, which will be mailed to all member firm offices following the 1999 National Convention being held later this week in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.
Timothy I. Page, President
- in conjunction with ENCON Insurance Managers, a Risk Management Guide was developed, available through ENCON
- ACEC effects the continuing supervision of the National Professional Liability Insurance Program, managed by ENCON on its behalf since 1970
- ongoing marketing of and participation in ENCON's Loss Control seminars, conducted on an annual basis in cities across Canada, helps members in improving performance and reducing PLI premiums
- promotion and distribution of the Engineering Services Management Guide and Glossary enhances the lines of communication between engineer and client
- cross-Canada seminars on Y2K preparedness for members culminated in the production of a free internet-based Y2K compendium and handbook
- promotion of ACEC's National Home and Auto Group Insurance Program, managed by GAN Canada, offers competitive rates to member firms (program promotion and accessibility subject to Provincial Association acceptance)
- a firm industry position vis-à-vis CCA/RAIC/CSC Document 14 ensures the absence of conflict of interest and best possible business relationships for engineering firms on design/build projects, and a separate document, produced by ACEC, defines the relationship between Owner and the Owner's Engineer in favour of best value for all parties concerned
- successful discussions have convinced PWGSC to accept QBS principles, and we are now working with them to improve the consultant selection process on federal projects, which has engendered a pilot project to use a "stepped approach" with respect to price - this, after having seen the life cycle costs associated with retaining services based on lowest price
- a review of ACEC Document 32, as well as CCDC Documents 3 (Cost Plus) and 4 (Civil Works), is bringing the language and stipulations up to current business practice standards
- ongoing lobbying of Department of National Defence will ensure that consultants are not asked to guarantee estimates of contaminated site materials
- a renewed Memorandum of Understanding with PWGSC has the Department committing to outsource 85% of non-core engineering services and agreeing that federal departments shouldn't compete with the private sector for engineering services
International Business Development:
- ACEC is lobbying to see the Overseas Employment Tax Credit extended to engineers working on international projects out of country for periods of less than six months
- Canadian engineering interests are represented on the international scene by ACEC's participation in FEPAC, the Pan-American Federation of Consultants, and FIDIC, where in particular Canada's industry shone at the 1998 FIDIC Congress in Edmonton, which ACEC hosted
- a survey of members on international trade barriers, conducted in preparation for the World Trade Organization's upcoming multilateral trade negotiations, will be the foundation of ACEC's position in talks focussing on global services trade
- ongoing work with CIDA is getting us closer to increasing both the transparency of CIDA's procurement process and the amount of its work on which engineers are eligible to bid
Industry Promotion and Communications:
- a national business survey of members was conducted for them to assess their individual position and performance relative to the industry, and for use in talks with all levels of government and other industry groups - 54% of ACEC's membership participated, representing 82% of member firm employees
- the annual Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards, staged as part of FIDIC '98, recognized Canadian engineering excellence and individual contributions to the industry while promoting the business of consulting engineering to clients, students, supporters, and last year, international peers
- the second Government Relations Day in Ottawa brought core industry issues to the attention of key federal decision makers, as did an ad campaign using survey data targeting federal workers, the lobbying industry and collateral industry groups
- regular contributions to Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine inform members, non members and clients alike of industry issues and activities
- continuous improvements to ACEC's presence on the internet are are evident in the weekly visit statistics which, over the past year, have increased from 100 to 250 to more than 7,000 - additional traffic is projected because of site enhancements and increased visibility
- technology is identifying a larger readership for ACEC's monthly Communiqué, currently standing at more than 1,400 email and 400 fax readers, which also appears in the current edition of the ACEC Membership Directory on CD-ROM, also improved through technological progress - these services are provided free of charge to members, foreign governments, Canadian Trade Commissioners, libraries, universities and client groups (it is also sold to non members)
Recent public statements in favour of a new national infrastructure program by Finance Minister Paul Martin and Treasury Board President Marcel Massé suggest that industry efforts have gained the attention of key players in Ottawa. These efforts need to be strengthened through representations by member firms to politicians at all government levels. ACEC will provide a draft letter and speaking notes to members for use in a grassroots summertime campaign to raise the awareness of all public officials to the need for infrastructure development and renewal in Canada. This also coincides with the timing of departmental preparations for pre-budget deliberations expected this Fall.
In the previous issue of Communiqué, ACEC informed you that small- and medium-sized firms could benefit from a federal tax credit when purchasing computer hardware and software in order to be Y2K compliant. Please be advised that the program - due to expire at the end of June - has been extended by the federal government to the end of October.