Corner Post
Quarterly Newsletter of the Saskatchewan
Land Surveyors

Councillor Corner Spring 2019



Calvin Bourassa

SLS, P. Surv., CLS


My first year as a Councillor is three quarters over and it has been a busy and informative year. We have dealt with issues of unauthorized practice, completed the P.Surv co-existence agreement, reviewed and revised the Committee Terms of Reference, moved forward with the creation of a SLSA museum, and many other items. Before being on Council I did not appreciate the amount of work our Council puts in to keeping the Association on track.


I was also appointed as the Council liaison to the Government Relations Committee and have been involved in some interesting meetings and review of legislation. I have enjoyed attending these meetings with the different departments of the Government and reviewing proposed changes to legislation and I hope to continue to be a part of this Committee when my time as a Councillor comes to an end.


When deciding what to write in this article, I did what I found out quite a few past Councillors have done, I reviewed past articles of the Corner Post. Reading through these past articles got me thinking of my own career in surveying and how I came to be a Land Surveyor.


My first recollections of surveying, although I did not refer to it as surveying, were as a Scout working on one of my requirements for my Chief Scouts Award. We were to prepare a map of a hike we were completing using our compasses and pacing, noting the location of features along the way. We called this orienteering at the time, but this first map I created started me on my path to surveying. My experience in orienteering continued when I started guiding canoe trips through northern Saskatchewan, using the 1:50000 topo maps and compasses to find our way through the thousands of lakes and islands, to get to the arranged pick up location at the correct day and time.


Upon finishing high school and deciding what to do next I wasn’t aware of surveying as a career, so I enrolled in Civil Engineering Technology at SIAST in Moose Jaw. The survey camp at the end of the first year was my first experience with survey equipment like transits, theodolites and levels and it really peaked my interest. I had already chosen my first work term employment with the City of North Battleford at the water and sewer treatment facilities so there weren’t a lot of survey opportunities in that first year, but there was one that I remember clearly. We had a very heavy rainstorm that summer and the runoff caused water and mud to flood into the water treatment plant. I paid very close attention to the surveyors who came out to re-grade the area to prevent this in the future and decided that surveying is what I wanted to do. When applying for work in my second work term I focussed on jobs that involved surveying and ended up working for PFRA in Melville. I spent that work term surveying rural water lines near Kamsack and Fort Qu’Appelle and thoroughly enjoyed the work.


I graduated from Civil Engineering Technology in 1993 and sent out resumes to every survey firm I could find. I got a job with Saskatchewan Property Management Corporation, Central Survey and Mapping Agency, and worked as a survey assistant under Joe Pilling, SLS. We surveyed the twinning of Highway 16 from North Battleford to Radisson, as well as the twinning of Highway 11 from Warman to Saskatoon. I learned a lot about legal surveys and the importance of getting things right, working under Joe Pilling, SLS. After a year this job came to an end and I found myself looking for work again. I found a job working for Wilf Peters, SLS, CLS, P.Surv. and have been fortunate to not have to look for a new job since.


I started working for Peters Surveys as a crew chief, drafting legal plans and mapping legal plans into what is now the Map Search on ISC. I gained a lot of experience during the next 10 years working with Wilf Peters, from taking sun shots to determine our azimuth while surveying the boundary of Prince Albert National Park, line cutting and surveying on Reserves and for mine exploration in the north, to subdivision and construction surveys. We also went through some big changes in technology during this time as well, both on the drafting and field side of the industry.


Sometime around 2005, Wilf encouraged me to become a Land Surveyor, the first step of which would be to complete CBEPS. I applied to CBEPS and was informed that I would get 1 credit from my Civil Engineering Diploma and would need to write the other 12 exams. I worked my way through these 12 exams over the next four years and received my certificate of completion in 2008, at which time I began articling to Wilf to become a SLS and also studying for the exams to become a CLS. It worked out that I passed the CLS exams first and became a CLS in 2009, and an SLS in 2010.


When Robert King, SLS, ALS, asked me to put my name forward to be on Council, I was excited about the opportunity and accepted. I was, however, nervous about the possibility of an election as I had been nominated for ACLS Council twice before and lost the election both times and I didn’t want to lose for a third time. I was greatly relieved and honoured when I officially became a Councillor at our AGM in Lloydminster.


I am looking forward to the future and the new challenges that it will bring as I continue to look for opportunities to learn and to be a part of our Association. I count myself as lucky to have found a career that I have enjoyed from my first experience with orienteering to now as a Land Surveyor.