OACETT hosted its 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 27, bringing members together to discuss the past year’s business activities, elect the new Board of Directors, vote on relevant matters, and ask questions of the Association’s leaders.
This year, close to 250 members tuned in to hear about the great things their Association is doing behind the scenes for their best interest. This record number of participants proves that the AGM's new virtual format attracts more members across Ontario to engage with their Association.
With the AGM marking the transition in the OACETT presidency, the proceedings started with the traditional passing of the gavel between the outgoing and incoming presidents.
Before outgoing president Rosanna Baggs, C.E.T., rcji, CAPM, passed the gavel to incoming president Micheal Mooney, C.E.T., who would chair the meeting, she expressed her gratitude for serving OACETT as its president and assured members that she was leaving them in excellent hands with Mooney at the helm.
Mooney thanked Baggs and then acknowledged the past presidents in attendance. He also thanked special guests from Ontario colleges, the government, sister associations across Canada, and other affiliated associations for joining the critical meeting and for their continued support and collaboration.
He then turned it over to Baggs, who gave a year-in-review update. She began by telling members, "It was a pleasure to lead our great organization for the past two years," and then reflected on some of the Association's successes since May 2022. Here are some of the achievements Baggs highlighted:
The current strategic plan has been extended to 2024, allowing the Association to complete the critical work on its governance transition and transformation, which included the election of its new Board of Directors at the AGM. The changes in the governance model are paying off with increased engagement leading to 45 applications to fill regional seats and Young Professionals Committee representative and student representative roles on the new Board – a strikingly higher number of applications than in past years.
The other major innovation is the introduction of the following committees:
The Nominating Committee, Young Professionals Committee, and Human Resources Committee, which were in place before the governance transition, will remain.
Baggs explained “where our Administration, IETO and PAS boards were populated in the past by only Council members. Going forward, only the committee chairs will be members of the Board of Directors, and other committee members will be members at large.”
The call to serve on OACETT's committees occurred from April 3 – 17, resulting in a whopping 154 applications. The Nominating Committee will finalize its recommendations over the summer, except for Member Engagement and Services Committee, which was introduced at the AGM.
Over the past year, OACETT membership has held steady at just over 21,000. In 2022, the Association received 944 applications, 1166 reinstatements, and 518 associate members became certified.
Last year, IETO worked diligently to update the Professional Practice Exam and the Internationally Educated Professional Practice Exam, mainly to reflect OACETT's new governance model.
Also, the development of two new municipal infrastructure designations is underway, which were piloted with the Region of Peel early this year. Further pilots with small and medium-sized municipalities are in the works and are anticipated to begin in the coming months.
OACETT also has 70 members participating in a pilot of the Technology Stewardship Program, a joint program of MaRS research and the Engineering Change Lab. Technology Stewardship focuses on the ethics of technology and provides a reflective process and dialogue to explore the unintended consequences of technological advancements. The pilot wrapped up in June and will help to inform possible next steps with this program for OACETT membership.
The 2022 Salary Survey Report was released in January. The report revealed a quite obvious salary premium for certified technicians and engineering technologists versus their non-certified counterparts, demonstrating how much certification with OACETT pays off.
PAS provided members with varied and affordable CPD (continuing professional development) offerings, with 51 in-person or virtual sessions in 2022. These programs are designed to assist members with achieving their mandatory CPD requirements to remain certified.
Last year, OACETT returned to an annual in-person conference in Ottawa, which now takes place separately from the virtual AGM. It was a fabulous event and an excellent opportunity to reconnect with peers across the province.
Last fall, PAS held its second annual Internationally Educated Professional (IEP) event, with over 350 IEPs and staff from IEP organizations participating in live virtual conference sessions or checking out the sessions via videos after the event. The in-person component of the event also attracted many IEPs to connect with OACETT.
PAS also hosted member milestone events throughout the province, celebrating members who reached their 10, 25 and 50-year membership with OACETT. The event also provided ample opportunities to network, chat with members, and connect with college faculty members and special guests about the impact of OACETT and the commitment of members to their Association.
Nationally, Technology Professionals Canada has been actively working on the transition of the International Engineering Alliance (IEA) signatory status and developing a plan to move forward with its strategic priorities, with more emphasis on greater clarity and consistency in the requirements for certification across the country, in support of seamless labour mobility.
Technology Accreditation Canada also supports the IEA signatory transition, especially concerning the Sydney and Dublin Accords around the curriculum. Their 2022 Annual Report identified 163 accredited programs across Canada, 29 of which are from Ontario.
During the AGM, CEO Cheryl Farrow, CAE, MBA, reported on OACETT’s progress against the strategic plan, which has been extended to 2024, capturing the many advancements the Association has made towards its three priorities: Careers, Chapters and Communities.
Over the past year, alternative pathways to the Road Construction designations for Indigenous candidates were identified and tested. As noted earlier in this article, the Municipal Infrastructure designations — (Municipal Infrastructure Inspector (mii) and Municipal Infrastructure Contract Administrator (mica)— were piloted with the Region of Peel this spring. The program intends to enhance the quality and value of non-transportation-related municipal infrastructure investments. This program is modelled on the Road Construction Designation program.
A separate process for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition was introduced to transition military personnel into OACETT’s certifications.
In support of advancing OACETT members, the Association also updated the Professional Practice Exam and study guide and continued to offer regular CPD opportunities, some of which focused on the needs of job-seekers.
As a result of the second annual career event for Internationally Educated Professionals, which included an in-person component, more IEP agencies are coming on board as partners, working with OACETT to support IEPs through their career journeys.
On the Chapters front, the Association focused on ramping up OACETT leadership presence at the Chapter events, with a commitment to have either the president, president-elect, or the CEO at a minimum of 14-chapter meetings per year.
The governance “road show” helped to facilitate those visits. Still, leaders also made time to attend social events as the Association returned to in-person activities during the year.
OACETT staff continued to support hybrid and virtual meetings across the chapter network, and there was a lot of work leading up to the Annual Chapter Meetings this past spring.
In January, the first Chapter Forum was held, resulting in great idea sharing and many refinements and clarifications on how the chapters function and are funded. Emphasis is also placed on chapter succession planning and encouraging new leaders to come forward.
OACETT saw its most significant progress in Communities over the past year. The Association’s decision to commission Counsel Public Affairs, a government relations firm, has paid dividends, with their success in raising OACETT’s profile with the provincial government.
Since the fall of 2022, OACETT has been heavily involved in consultations with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on the update to the BCIN system. Also, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development has featured OACETT as part of their “Better Life” campaign, given our solid track record supporting IEPs in gaining a Canadian credential through OACETT’s certification processes. These activities led to Clarence Walters, C.Tech., representing OACETT as part of the Premier’s platform party as the Premier announced an increase in funding to bring more immigrants to Ontario through the sponsorship program.
Farrow was also invited to represent OACETT before the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs in April, further highlighting OACETT’s work with IEPs and encouraging the government to promote, particularly to parents, the equivalent value of university, college and skilled trade pathways to careers.
OACETT continues to deepen its relationship with companies and colleges. OACETT’s 360 Partnerships Program currently has 32 employers enrolled, which boosts their profile and increases engagement with OACETT members. OACETT continues to engage with the Boards of Trade within the province which is an additional route to generating awareness with employers.
In deepening its relationship with colleges, OACETT has secured a standing agenda spot at Heads of Technology meetings, and the management team is visiting at least eight colleges annually. So far, they have met with Confederation, Durham, Humber, Sault, St. Lawrence and Seneca. Over the summer, they’ve scheduled meetings with Cambrian, Conestoga, George Brown and Georgian. One of Registration and Professional Practice’s (formerly IETO) key deliverables this year is an asynchronous training program to help colleges more easily incorporate the PPE into relevant programming, giving students a leg up on achieving their certification post-graduation.