Ryan R. P. Maloney
SLS, P. Surv., B. Tech.
President’s Message to the Membership
Spring is in the air, the snow is disappearing rapidly, kids will be out of school for Easter break and farmers will be stirring dirt everywhere before we know it.
For the guys on the ground, spring means the end of winter clothing layers, ditches full of snow and chipping frozen ground. Spring time also brings on road bans which will further reduce the activity in the energy sector.
Presidential travel has given me the opportunity to attend two of the largest associations AGM’s and to see how they conduct their business.
In February I traveled to Huntsville, Ontario and stayed at the famous Deerhurst Resort. Deerhurst is located in the beautiful Muskoka region and during our visit Deerhurst was blanketed in several feet of snow that was kept crisp by -25 degree weather. The AOLS hosted an excellent meeting. They had record member attendance and ran an extremely efficient and on time meeting. Ontario has several ongoing issues that played a central role in their AGM. One of the most notable is the Survey Records Index which is a geographic index of which surveyors have worked where. This is important as the AOLS has a requirement for mandatory field note exchange between members, for a reasonable fee, prior to field work commencing. A surveyor must, prior to completing his/her survey look up the location in the SRI and contact the surveyors who worked their previously and request their notes. As “reasonable fee” is quite open to interpretation, you can imagine how this plays out between many members. Anecdotally I heard of fees being asked anywhere between $75 and $10,000. This has ultimately led to a Constitutional challenge being brought against the association by one of the members. The challenge is based on the fact that copyright law is a federal responsibility and yet the Association under provincial legislation is forcing this exchange. The challenge is definitely causing tension within the association as well as large legal fees in responding to this matter.
Another large issue revolves around the Ontario Digital Cadastral Corporation (ODCC). The ODCC is a surveyor-owned and managed corporation who’s goal it is to provide an online map based digital cadastre. This is a project that the association has been looking at for some time but they are now at the stage where they have to commit and produce or wind up the corp. as there are several possible competitors. The ODCC is soliciting investments from OLS’s of up to 1.5% equity/surveyor. Their business model is to have surveyors submit CAD files to the ODCC and in turn receive payment varying from $75 (reference plan) to $10/lot for a subdivision plan and then sell the various Cadastral Mapping products to consumers. Whether it is base mapping to municipalities, parcel dimension products to Municipal Assessors, etc.
Another issue discussed in Ontario as in many other jurisdictions is the problem with practitioners not charging sufficient prices for their surveys as this only leads to devaluing of the profession and the commoditization of the industry. The membership discussed RPR’s being done for $200 in urban centers where most surveyors have been charging $1500. I was questioned on our publishing of a suggested schedule of rates. I spoke to the topic and there seemed to be a fairly strong support amongst members at large but significant fear amongst council that the Competition Bureau would frown upon such a document existing. Ontario’s Council will be investigating this further.
I thoroughly enjoyed the AOLS AGM on an operational sense and also on a personal side. Meeting so many surveyors and having them interested in what we are doing in Saskatchewan gave me a great sense of pride in our association. I also had the pleasure of meeting John Goltz OLS, SLS #200(Retired). John approached me with questions about a grave and statue he had found in a local cemetery near Perth, Ontario. The grave was for an A. Kippen DLS who died in 1885, yet the headstone was a statue of a soldier. John was intrigued as to who this individual was. We proceeded to discuss the DLS Intelligence Corps, the Battle of Batoche and the death of A.W. Kippen DLS at Batoche during the Rebellion. I have since provided John with as much information I could find regarding Kippen and the Corps.
I enjoyed my travels with President Dasha Paige and her ability to always voice her opinion in any discussion and I look forward to the input and friendship of new president Travis Hartwick.
In March I was also fortunate to attend the ABCLS AGM in beautiful the Okanogan City of Penticton. The Penticton Lakeside Resort proved to offer serene lake views, ample meeting facilities and a good pub to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in.
The ABCLS has a full schedule of motions to discuss and ultimately approve. The bulk of the discussion was centered on bylaw revisions and also the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development, which was carried. The ABCLS has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ACLS to administer the CPD credit tracking and reporting system that the ACLS has in place. I feel that this is a direction that we should evaluate as we continue to see an increase in Labor Mobility candidates who are reporting CPD in multiple jurisdictions. The Association also elected the first female President, Bronwyn Denton and I look forward to Bronwyn’s involvement in the President Forum. The guest speaker for the AGM was Saskatchewan speed skater, Catriona Lemay Doan. She spoke about always pushing yourself in whatever you do to achieve your personal best. She also spoke on the topic of Women leaders which tied in nicely with Bronwyn’s appointment to President.
It is bitter sweet to end travels with President Steve Buzikievich and his wife Caroline as they have grown to be very good friends throughout this tour.
It seems like just yesterday that I became President of the SLSA but my time is rapidly coming to an end. It has been difficult to balance work, life and association business but I have learned so much. Steve B the outgoing ABCLS president told me at almost every AGM that he was so happy that I accepted this challenge at this early stage in my career and he only wished that he had done it 25 years earlier. I agree with his input and I feel very fortunate that I have been able to serve the association all while learning so much and expanding my knowledge of the survey profession across the country. I would continue to suggest that our young and new members get involved the business of the association, be it through committees, council, or any other role that needs filling.
I would like to end this column by highlighting the common challenges that are being faced across the country including recruitment/retention, demographics, undervaluation of services, public and government awareness, protection of the public and the expansion of the profession. Please consider each of these items as you conduct your business and reflect on how we can improve each and every one.
Thanks to my wife and family, all my coworkers and staff, council and Carla for their continued support and the work that goes into the efficient operation of our great association.
As always if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions please let me or the association office know.
Once again please remember to save June 10th to 12th for the 2015 SLSA AGM at the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa in Moose Jaw.
Thank You again for the opportunity to represent this great Province and your association.