In 2009, a group of Philippine-educated engineers formed an organization to represent the interests of Filipino-Canadianmembers of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of Manitoba (APEGM). APEGM is the professional licensing body for engineers and geoscientists in Manitoba. The group met with Council members of APEGM to seek a working relationship. Dr. Marolo Alfaro, PEng(civil engineering professor at the University of Manitoba) made a presentation explaining the formation of the group and expressing its intent. APEGM legal counsel recommended a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate on issues important to both organizations. In the beginning this sounded a straightforward MOU, butits approval ended up generating an extensive debate among Council members.In 2010, APEGM Council approvedthe formation of the Filipino Members Chapter. It is the only Chapter of APEGM with members from a specific ethnic group. It is also possible that it is the only ethnic Chapter of professional engineers and geoscientists in all provincial and territorial jurisdictions across Canada.
The Chapter has the following objectives:a) assist APEGM in matters of engineering and geoscience professions when and as authorized by APEGM Council; b) encourage and facilitate the study, discussion and exchange of ideas and information among the members on all questions of interest as engineers and geoscientists and as citizens; c) provide a forum for members to formally recognize the voluntary contributions of its members to APEGM and as citizens in the community; d) promote, undertake, and/or engage in such programs, functions, and activities that will contribute to the professional growth and career development of its members; e) establish a registry of Filipino-Canadian PEngs , PGeos, EITs and GITs within Manitoba; f) support the educational aspirations of future members by granting academic scholarships to deserving Philippine-educated engineering and geoscience professionals; and g) undertake and/or engage in community services or otherwise cooperate and/or collaborate with community service-oriented groups or entities in their programs, projects, and activities.
The Chapter membership has two categories: full and student members. A full member is any Filipino-Canadian who completed a baccalaureate degree in engineering or geoscience in the Philippines or any other province, territory, or any other country and is a registered Professional Engineer (PEng), Professional Geoscientist (PGeo) or Engineer-In-Training (EIT) or Geoscientist-in-Training (GIT) in Manitoba.A student member isany Filipino-Canadian who completed a baccalaureate degree in engineering or geoscience in the Philippines or any other province, territory, or any other country and is in the process of completing the academic requirements to become registered in Manitoba. The Chapter may create the category of lay associate forpersons who wish to be Chapter members and are not registered with APEGM. Student members and lay associates do not have voting privileges.
On August 11, 2011, the Constitution and By-laws of the Chapter was signed by APEGM President Bill Girling, PEng and Chapter President Ramon Cairo, PEng (Photo 1). The signing ceremonywas attended by APEGM Executive Director Grant Koropatnick, PEng and the rest ofChapter Executive Officers: Valentin Abella, PEng (VP-Communications), Roman Nepomuceno, PEng(VP-Finance), Marolo Alfaro, PhD, PEng (VP-Technical) and Councillors Rodolfo Soriano, PEng, Edwin Sapnu, PEng, Arnel Oberez, MSc, PEng(Photo 2). During the signing ceremony, Grant Koropatnick appreciated the patience and determination of Philippine-educated engineers and geoscientistsin satisfying all requirements forregistration. He expected Chapter members toencourageand guide Philippine-educated engineering and geoscience professionals who are seeking registrations. This is increasingly important because of the recent influx of Philippine immigrants in Manitoba; and APEGM has seen a rise in the number of Philippine-educated engineering professionals whoare still going through the assessment process. Engineering professionalsfrom Philippines applying for registration comprised one-third of the applicants. They are followed by India, China, and other countries. The Executive Officers of the Chapter promised to support and assist APEGM in matters of engineering and geoscience professions. The Chapter has already lined up several activities includingprofessional development seminars, mentorship programs, networking initiatives, professional and community services, cultural integration opportunities, and outreach programs.
The process to become a registered engineer or geoscientist in Manitoba consists of two assessments: 1) academic qualification, and 2) engineering work experience of 4 years minimum with at least 1 year in Canada. Internationally-educated engineering and geoscience professionals often have difficulty proving their academic credentials meet Manitoba standards. APEGM practices fair, transparent, objective, timely, and impartial assessment procedures. For engineering professionals, it offers two streams in satisfying academic qualification requirements. One is to challenge the assessed confirmatory exams given by APEGM. The other is to take equivalent courses at the University of Manitoba in lieu of the confirmatory exams. APEGM has ways to support those who have chosen to take courses. It has partnered with the University of Manitoba in a pioneering program known as Internationally-Educated Engineers Qualification (IEEQ) program. The program has now been adopted in most provincial and territorial jurisdictions in Canada. When foreign-educated professional with extensive engineering work experience abroad and are assigned 5 or fewer confirmatory exams, they may apply to the IEEQ program. There they will receive, in 12 to 24 months, a mixture of language, culture, and academic training coupled with co-op work experience. Upon completing the IEEQ program, graduates will be considered academically qualified by APEGM and able to undertake the next steps leading to registration. A step by step process for registration is given in the flowchart (see last page). For further information, please visit the APEGM website: www.apegm.mb.ca.