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Monthly Archives: May 2016

 

MOVING FROM ‘ME’ TO ‘WE’

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As the richest person in the world, Bill Gates is, of course, also the richest resident of Washington. He stepped down from full-time work at Microsoft to become more invested at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the years, he has built a reputation as a serious thinker about the world’s problems and has steered the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to tackle issues like improving health care and the use of vaccines in developing countries. Together, Bill & Melinda Gates have given away more than $29 billion in their lifetime. 

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REID HOFFMAN

A FOUNDER OF LINKEDIN

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reid_Hoffman

ISRAEL’S LEADERSHIP

 

Israel’s key resource is Intellectual Capital in state of the art scientific, education and medical innovation.

 

It leads in a cultural lifestyle which originates almost 4000 years ago.

 

It is not difficult to understand the basis of anti – semetic disdain –  pure envy.

EMPHASIS ON EDUCATION IS ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS THE JEWISH NATION HAS SURVIVED

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WHY THE JEWS ARE SO EDUCATED

 DARON ACEMOGLU AND JAMES ROBINSON

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Historically, Jews have typically been more educated than the average population of the countries in which they have lived. They have also tended to be concentrated in urban areas and in a number of skilled occupations. In joint work with Tarek Hassan, we showed that this was the case for Soviet Jews, and argued that one of the many negative legacies of the Holocaust in Russia has been to create a hole in the social structure of areas where the fraction of Jews was high and fell under Nazi control during World War II. We showed that these places are now economically and politically more backward, a gap that seems to have opened up even further after the collapse of communism.

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But why have Jews been so educated throughout history? A clever argument was offered by the great economist Simon Kuznets in his Economic Structure of US Jewry. Jews, being a minority, Kuznets argued, chose to concentrate in a few industries and occupations in order to be able to maintain their cohesion and group identity separate from the majority. Because the industries and occupations in which they chose to specialize were in cities and were human capital intensive, this shaped their location and education choices.

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Max Weber also wrote a book, Ancient Judaism, where he suggested that Jews voluntarily segregated from the rest of the population.

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Perhaps more common and more plausible is the idea that Jews were often barred from agricultural occupations, and this pushed them into urban occupations and also encouraged them to invest in human capital that would give them the flexibility to choose urban occupations (often despite discrimination even in towns).

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Yet another view would be a more cultural one: perhaps Jews are more educated because their religion requires them to be educated. In fact, (male) Jews are expected to read the Torah and teach it to their children (sons). Philo of Alexandria articulated one version of this in the 1st century A.D. (quoted in Eliezer Ebner, Elementary Education in Ancient Israel, page 12):

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Since the Jews esteem their laws as divine revelations, and are instructed in the knowledge of them from their earliest youth, they bear the image of the law in their souls.

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So perhaps it is the Jewish culture that has made them more educated and as a consequence, more successful.

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These questions are taken up in Maristella Botticini and Zvi Eckstein’s intriguing new book, The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History (itself following up on their 2005 Journal of Economic History article on the same topic). Botticini and Eckstein first show that common explanations don’t hold much water. For a long time, Jews were not segregated occupationally and were farmers just like the rest of the population in the areas they lived. This continued essentially until the 7th century. So Kuznets’s thesis is unlikely to be the right explanation. They also point out that during this transition, taking place within Arabic and Muslim lands, there were no legal restrictions on Jewish economic activity, and Jews could choose any occupation and own land (in contrast, there were such restrictions within the Roman Empire, but the Jews did not make the occupational transition during that time). In sum, the Jewish educational advantage is unlikely to be a consequence of direct regulations either.

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Instead, Botticini and Eckstein document that the greater education of Jews is indeed related to the tradition of reading and teaching the Torah. Sounds cultural, doesn’t it?

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But here’s the catch. If this was just a cultural practice, with its roots in Jewish religion, we would expect it to have originated at the same time as Judaism. But it hasn’t.

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Botticini and Eckstein document that Jews were not more educated before 1st century A.D. and most probably before 7th century A.D. Rather, as Solo Baron’s classic A Social and Religious History of the Jews also argues, the change in Jewish educational practices and institutions came out of an internal conflict about the control of Jewish society between two groups, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

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Before the destruction of the Second Temple, the sect of Sadducees controlled Jewish society, largely through their dominance of religious and social roles therein. The Sadducees were the high priests, were responsible for the Temple, and in charge of religious learning. They justified their dominance by accepting only the Written Torah and the Hellenistic culture, and restricting access to educational institutions to a very small segment of the Jewish society. Their role was challenged by the Pharisees, who countered the Sadducees’ approach by advocating the study of both the Written and Oral Torah by all Jews, thus in some sense democratizing education and undercutting Sadducee domination. They effectively pitted the common people against the more aristocratic Sadducees.

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The balance of power in Jewish society shifted with the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. by the Romans in response to the Jewish revolt, led by the Sadducees. The Pharisees did not participate in the revolt, and used this window of opportunity to wrest power from the Sadducees, who seem to disappear from the record thereafter. The Pharisees started the process of fundamental educational reform along the lines they had advocated before. It is possible that this was also a move to permanently shift power to themselves, as democratizing educational institutions would undercut the foundation of the power of the Sadducees. Traditions such as reading and teaching the Torah to one’s sons and supporting primary schools for Jewish communities and synagogues as learning institutions developed after this period, and spread more widely in the 6th and 7th centuries. Notably, this happened in part while Jewish society was still mostly agricultural.

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These events illustrate that even religious practices, the clearest form of cultural factors, cannot be studied and understood in isolation of the political struggles over these practices and without an investigation of why certain groups advocate them and succeed in implementing them. We’ll see in the next post that the same is true even for the more basic teachings of religions.

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REF:

http://whynationsfail.com/blog/2012/9/3/why-the-jews-are-so-educated.html

 September 3, 2012

 

ENGINEERING DIMEMSIONS

PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS ONTARIO

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WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SELF – REGULATING PROFESSION

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PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINE

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May 2016 George Comrie, P.Eng., FEC President’s Message

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Previously in this column I have written in defence of our unique Canadian model of professional self-regulation (Engineering Dimensions, July/August 2004, p. 3). In spite of a chorus of voices telling us that professional “guilds” are dying or dead, I remain convinced that the system we have here–of which PEO is a good example–represents the best value proposition for both the profession and the public it serves. And I would consider dilution or loss of our self-regulatory status to be a severe blow to the engineering profession. So that we can remain focused on what we need to do to preserve and strengthen that status, it may be useful to remind ourselves from time to time how this concept is supposed to work, and what it means (and doesn’t mean) for organizations like PEO and for their members/licensees.

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Let me begin by noting that professional self-regulation did not come about through the now-typical “downloading” of responsibilities from higher levels of government to lower ones. As former PEO President Peter DeVita, P.Eng., FEC, points out in his book A Search for Advocacy–Creating the Canadian Engineering Profession (www.g7books.com/search4.html), our forerunners at the beginning of the 20th century sought and secured from government the privilege of self-regulation. What they obtained in the various provincial statutes like Ontario’s Professional Engineers Act was essentially a contract with the public in which the profession secured the right to govern and regulate itself in exchange for committing to put the public interest first–ahead of any individual or collective self-interest (Engineering Dimensions, September/October 2004, p. 3). The contract was a win-win for both parties: the professionals gained status and substantial control over their own destiny as a profession, and the public gained assurances that competent professionals would be protecting their interests. When one considers the overall quality and reliability of engineering across all sectors in Canada in comparison to many other jurisdictions, I think it is fair to conclude that our profession has lived up to its part of the bargain substantively.

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Note that the profession and its members are not precluded from having any self-interest–just from putting that self-interest ahead of the public interest. The public will be best served by a strong, independent profession with a clear, self-regulatory mandate and exclusive rights to practise. And the fact that professional bodies like PEO operate at arm’s length of government means they are free to advocate for sound public policy within their spheres of expertise, even if their advice ends up at odds with government policy. However, to avoid any perception of conflict of interest, many professional regulators like PEO have created separate, independently governed organizations–in our case, the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE)–to advocate for the economic and professional self-interests of their members. Even then, the two professional organizations are not precluded from collaborating on activities in which there is no inherent conflict of interest, such as informing the public of the importance of the engineering profession to their economic prosperity, safety and quality of life.

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Professional self-regulation does not mean that individual members of the profession are free to decide when and how to regulate their own individual practices. Our contract with the public requires the profession to maintain an organization (PEO) that establishes and enforces consistent standards of admission, practice and professional conduct for the profession. Individual members of the profession are expected both to contribute (their time and expertise) to the establishment of those standards, and to adhere to them in their day-to-day work. So while members of the profession have the democratic right to participate in its governance and leadership, they are subject to its regulation in their practice, for the collective good of the profession and the public. They can also be expected to report to their regulatory body information on their scopes of professional practice, and on measures they are taking to maintain their currency and competence, and to mitigate risks to the public inherent in their practice. Such data is essential for the profession to maintain public confidence that it is, in fact, regulating itself in the public interest.

 

A former council colleague used to say that PEO is in the competence assurance business. Given the diversity of engineering practice, it may be difficult for anyone other than an individual practitioner to accurately determine his or her competence in a given situation. That is why professionals are expected to limit their practices to those areas for which they are properly prepared by education and experience. And that is why elements of good character, such as honesty, integrity, responsibility and judgment, are so important to professional practice. But that does not alleviate the requirement for the professional regulator to set standards of knowledge and skill for practitioners, as well as work product standards for various professional activities, and to assess practitioners and their work against them. Public confidence may require regulators to do more than just discipline those practitioners who are the subjects of legitimate complaints. Another crucial aspect of the contract between the profession and the public is that of exclusive rights to practise. It is widely believed that the percentage of professional engineers who require their licence to practise to earn their living is low (perhaps 30 per cent) compared to other senior professions, such as law and medicine. To make matters worse, the percentage of those with engineering education who are licensed to practise is also low (less than 50 per cent). The simple reason for this is a licence to practise professional engineering is not required–or not believed to be required–for much of the work that graduate engineers do. And while it is accepted that many graduate engineers enter or advance to careers where their work falls outside the definition of the practice of professional engineering in the Professional Engineers Act (section 1–Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1990), it is clear that much activity that falls within the definition is being performed with impunity by unlicensed individuals.

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This situation is highly undesirable from the perspectives of both the profession and the public. As originally drafted, the act precluded anyone without a licence from performing engineering work unless a licensed professional engineer assumed responsibility for that work. Unfortunately, this exclusivity was undermined in the 1984 revision of the act by what has come to be referred to as the industrial exception at section 12(3)(a), which permits those doing professional engineering in relation to machinery or equipment in their employers’ manufacturing facilities to be unlicensed. The current Ontario government agreed in 2010 to repeal the offending section of the act, but has since reneged on that commitment.

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The problem of the industrial exception is compounded by the fact that there is a prevalent belief in many industries that all their engineers are exempt from the requirement to be licensed. This leads to the untenable situation in which unlicensed and licensed co-workers are working side by side on the same engineering tasks that fall outside the exception. This constitutes a violation of the act, but PEO’s ability to enforce against this illegal practice is hampered by the difficulty of discovering, investigating and prosecuting such infractions. Further complicating the problem is the fact that much engineering work product is being imported from offshore and used in Canadian jurisdictions without the involvement of a licensed Canadian engineer. Relatively few scopes of engineering practice are subject to demand-side legislation that requires the signature and seal of a professional engineer before the engineering work product can be used.

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Our Canadian model of self-regulating professions is predicated on the regulated professionals having exclusive rights to practise in all areas where there is a public interest inherent in the work. I believe it is critical to the ability of our profession to regulate in the public interest that this untenable situation be corrected through a combination of elimination of the industrial exception, expansion of demand-side legislation to additional scopes of practice, and expansion of enforcement powers.

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As members of this self-regulating profession, we must be prepared–and I believe we are prepared–to uphold our end of the deal and do what it takes to maintain the public’s confidence in our self-regulation. The Ontario government must be prepared to do the same. I, therefore, call on them to uphold their part of the bargain.

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A PERSONAL NOTE:

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It is time for the Engineering profession to outline the roles of Professional Engineers in our society.

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Their professional discipline and commitment to solving complex issues in the interest of society’s well being is not generally understood.

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By nature engineers do not engage in self promotion.

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GREAT ENGINEERS

A Personal View

Dan Zwicker

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It’s probably important to mention here, that what I mean when I say

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‘great engineer’, might be different from what you mean.

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I mean Applied Scientists who build useful solutions to solve real human and societal problems.

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3    DESCRIPTIONS OF THE PERSONALITY OF ENGINEERS

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1 – “Intellectual”

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Intellectuals are intelligent, independent and determined.

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They are high-achievers, driven not only to acquire but also to master large amounts of information.

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They are self-sufficient, logical and value reason.

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While Intellectuals have a desire to know everything, they also tend to question anything.

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Their keen interest in investigation and questioning make them great researchers and inventors.

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2 – Wikipedia

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The work of engineers forms the link between scientific discoveries and

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their subsequent applications to human needs and quality of life. In short,

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engineers are versatile minds who create links between science, technology, and society.

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ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineer

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3 – Wikipedia

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An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with

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applying scientific knowledge, mathematics, and ingenuity to develop

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solutions for technical, societal and commercial problems. Engineers

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design materials, structures, and systems while considering the

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limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost.[1][2] The

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word engineer is derived from the Latin words ingeniare (“to contrive,

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devise”) and ingenium (“cleverness”).[3][4]

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The work of engineers forms the link between scientific discoveries and their subsequent applications to human needs and quality of life.[1]

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Engineers develop new technological solutions. During the engineering design process, the responsibilities of the engineer may include defining problems, conducting and narrowing research, analyzing criteria, finding and analyzing solutions, and making decisions. Much of an engineer’s time is spent on researching, locating, applying, and transferring information.[5] Indeed, research suggests engineers spend 56% of their time engaged in various information behaviours, including 14% actively searching for information.[6]

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Engineers must weigh different design choices on their merits and choose the solution that best matches the requirements. Their crucial and unique task is to identify, understand, and interpret the constraints on a design in order to produce a successful result.

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Engineers apply techniques of engineering analysis in testing, production, or maintenance. Analytical engineers may supervise production in factories and elsewhere, determine the causes of a process failure, and test output to maintain quality. They also estimate the time and cost required to complete projects. Supervisory engineers are responsible for major components or entire projects. Engineering analysis involves the application of scientific analytic principles and processes to reveal the properties and state of the system, device or mechanism under study. Engineering analysis proceeds by separating the engineering design into the mechanisms of operation or failure, analyzing or estimating each component of the operation or failure mechanism in isolation, and re-combining the components. They may analyze risk.[7][8][9][10]

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Many engineers use computers to produce and analyze designs, to simulate and test how a machine, structure, or system operates, to generate specifications for parts, to monitor the quality of products, and to control the efficiency of processes.

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Most engineers specialize in one or more engineering disciplines.[1] Numerous specialties are recognized by professional societies, and each of the major branches of engineering has numerous subdivisions. Civil engineering, for example, includes structural and transportation engineering, and materials engineering includes ceramic, metallurgical, and polymer engineering. Engineers also may specialize in one industry, such as motor vehicles, or in one type of technology, such as turbines or semiconductor materials.[1]

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Several recent studies have investigated how engineers spend their time; that is, the work tasks they perform and how their time is distributed among these. Research[6][11] suggests that there are several key themes present in engineers’ work: (1) technical work (i.e., the application of science to product development); (2) social work (i.e., interactive communication between people); (3) computer-based work; (4) information behaviours. Amongst other more detailed findings, a recent work sampling study[11] found that engineers spend 62.92% of their time engaged in technical work, 40.37% in social work, and 49.66% in computer-based work. Furthermore, there was considerable overlap between these different types of work, with engineers spending 24.96% of their time engaged in technical and social work, 37.97% in technical and non-social, 15.42% in non-technical and social, and 21.66% in non-technical and non-social.

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Engineering is also an information intensive field, with research finding that engineers spend 55.8% of their time engaged in various different information behaviours, including 14.2% actively seeking information from other people (7.8%) and information repositories such as documents and databases (6.4%).[6]

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The time engineers spend engaged in such activities is also reflected in the competencies required in engineering roles. In addition to engineers’ core technical competence, research has also demonstrated the critical nature of their personal attributes, project management skills, and cognitive abilities to success in the role.[12]

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Engineers have obligations to the public, their clients, employers and the profession. Many engineering societies have established codes of practice and codes of ethics to guide members and inform the public at large. Each engineering discipline and professional society maintains a code of ethics, which the members pledge to uphold. Depending on their specializations, engineers may also be governed by specific statute, whistleblowing, product liability laws, and often the principles of business ethics.[13][14][15]

Some graduates of engineering programs in North America may be recognized by the Iron Ring or Engineer’s Ring, a ring made of iron or stainless steel that is worn on the little finger of the dominant hand. This tradition began in 1925 in Canada with The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, where the ring serves as a symbol and reminder of the engineer’s obligations to the engineering profession. In 1972, the practice was adopted by several colleges in the United States including members of the Order of the Engineer.

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Most engineering programs involve a concentration of study in an engineering specialty, along with courses in both mathematics and the physical and life sciences. Many programs also include courses in general engineering and applied accounting. A design course, often accompanied by a computer or laboratory class or both, is part of the curriculum of most programs. Often, general courses not directly related to engineering, such as those in the social sciences or humanities, also are required.

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Accreditation is the process by which engineering program are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. The Washington Accord serves as an international accreditation agreement for academic engineering degrees, recognizing the substantial equivalency in the standards set by many major national engineering bodies. In the United States, post-secondary degree programs in engineering are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

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In many countries, engineering tasks such as the design of bridges, electric power plants, industrial equipment, machine design and chemical plants, must be approved by a licensed professional engineer.

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Most commonly titled Professional Engineer is a license to practice and is indicated with the use of post-nominal letters; PE or P.Eng.

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These are common in North America, as is European Engineer (Eur Ing) in Europe. The practice of engineering in the UK is not a regulated profession but the control of the titles of Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Incorporated Engineer (IEng) is regulated. These titles are protected by law and are subject to strict requirements defined by the Engineering Council UK. The title CEng is in use in much of the Commonwealth.

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Many semi-skilled trades and engineering technicians in the UK call themselves engineers. A growing movement in the UK is to legally protect the title ‘Engineer’ so that only professional engineers can use it; a DirectGov petition[16] has been started to further this cause.

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In the United States, licensure is generally attainable through combination of education, pre-examination (Fundamentals of Engineering exam), examination (Professional Engineering Exam),[17] and engineering experience (typically in the area of 5+ years). Each state tests and licenses Professional Engineers. Currently most states do not license by specific engineering discipline, but rather provide generalized licensure, and trust engineers to use professional judgement regarding their individual competencies; this is the favoured approach of the professional societies. Despite this, however, at least one of the examinations required by most states is actually focused on a particular discipline; candidates for licensure typically choose the category of examination which comes closest to their respective expertise

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In Canada, the profession in each province is governed by its own engineering association. For instance, in the Province of British Columbia an engineering graduate with four or more years of post graduate experience in an engineering-related field and passing exams in ethics and law will need to be registered by the Association for Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (APEGBC)[18] in order to become a Professional Engineer and be granted the professional designation of P.Eng allowing one to practice engineering.

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In Continental Europe, Latin America, Turkey and elsewhere the title is limited by law to people with an engineering degree and the use of the title by others is illegal. In Italy, the title is limited to people who both hold an engineering degree and have passed a professional qualification examination (Esame di Stato). In Portugal, professional engineer titles and accredited engineering degrees are regulated and certified by the Ordem dos Engenheiros. In the Czech Republic, the title “engineer” (Ing.) is given to people with a (masters) degree in chemistry, technology or economics for historical and traditional reasons. In Greece, the academic title of “Diploma Engineer” is awarded after completion of the five-year engineering study course and the title of “Certified Engineer” is awarded after completion of the four-year course of engineering studies at a Technological Educational Institute (TEI).

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The perception and definition of engineer varies across countries and continents. British school children in the 1950s were brought up with stirring tales of “the Victorian Engineers”, chief amongst whom were the Brunels, the Stephensons, Telford and their contemporaries. In the UK, “engineering” was more recently perceived as an industry sector consisting of employers and employees loosely termed “engineers” who included the semi-skilled trades. However, the 21st-century view, especially amongst the more educated members of society, is to reserve the term Engineer to describe a university-educated practitioner of ingenuity represented by the Chartered (or Incorporated) Engineer. However, a large proportion of the UK public still sees Engineers as semi skilled tradespeople with a high school education.

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In the US and Canada, engineering is a regulated profession whose practice and practitioners are licensed and governed by law.

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A 2002 study by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers revealed that engineers are the third most respected professionals behind doctors and pharmacists.[19]

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In the Indian subcontinent, Russia, Middle East, Africa, and China, engineering is one of the most sought after undergraduate courses, inviting thousands of applicants to show their ability in highly competitive entrance examinations.

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In Egypt, the educational system makes engineering the second-most-respected profession in the country (after medicine); engineering colleges at Egyptian universities require extremely high marks on the General Certificate of Secondary Education (Arabic: الثانوية العامة al-Thānawiyyah al-`Āmmah)—on the order of 97 or 98%—and are thus considered (along with the colleges of medicine, natural science, and pharmacy) to be among the “pinnacle colleges” (كليات القمة kullīyāt al-qimmah).

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In the Philippines and Filipino communities overseas, engineers who are either Filipino or not, especially those who also profess other jobs at the same time, are addressed and introduced as Engineer, rather than Sir/Madam in speech or Mr./Mrs./Ms. (G./Gng./Bb. in Filipino) before surnames. That word is used either in itself or before the given name or surname.

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French “Ingénieur” title

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It is sometimes told by urban legends that in France, the “Ingénieur” title refers only to membership of the French executive elite and has no relation to technological skills. This is false, engineer is the title of someone who succeeded in engineers schools. There are many different kind of engineer schools in France like in other countries. Some engineer schools are more famous than others. Examples of French famous engineer schools are Polytechnique, Supelec, Institut national des sciences appliquées, Institut Mines-Télécom, Ecole nationale supérieure d’arts et métiers, École Centrale Paris. Polytechnique and ENSAM have their roots in the French revolution and some of their alumni become famous either as scientists (Henri Poincaré), CEO of international companies (Bernard Arnault) or as politicians ‘Valéry Giscard d’Estaing).

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Polytechnique is even different of other engineer schools as education lasts 6 years instead of 5, with the last year being of specialization in one specific technique. It is also a military school. Most schools of higher education that were created during the French revolution, have a special status in French people mind. They helped to make the transition from a mostly agricultural country of late 18th century to the industrial state that France was in the 19th century. A great part of 19th century France’s richness was created by engineers coming from Polytechnique or Ecole des mines. This was also the case after the WWII, when France had to be rebuilt.

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Before the “réforme René Haby” in the 70′, it was very difficult to become a French engineer (hence the term “faire les Grandes Écoles” in language of older people), nowadays after the Haby reform and a string of further reforms Modernization plans of French universities it is much more common to access those schools and the French elite comes more from École nationale d’administration for managers or politicians and École normale supérieure for scientists. Engineers are less highlighted in current French economy as industry provides less than a quarter of the GDP.

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In companies and other organizations, there is sometimes a tendency to undervalue people with advanced technological and scientific skills compared to celebrities, fashion practitioners, entertainers and managers. In his book The Mythical Man-Month,[20] Fred Brooks Jr says that managers think of senior people as “too valuable” for technical tasks, and that management jobs carry higher prestige. He tells how some laboratories, such as Bell Labs, abolish all job titles to overcome this problem: a professional employee is a “member of the technical staff.” IBM maintain a dual ladder of advancement; the corresponding managerial and engineering or scientific rungs are equivalent. Brooks recommends that structures need to be changed; the boss must give a great deal of attention to keeping his managers and his technical people as interchangeable as their talents allow.

 

 

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ENGINEERING DIMEMSIONS

PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS ONTARIO

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What it means to be a self-regulating profession

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May 2016 George Comrie, P.Eng., FEC President’s Message

.

Previously in this column I have written in defence of our unique Canadian model of professional self-regulation (Engineering Dimensions, July/August 2004, p. 3). In spite of a chorus of voices telling us that professional “guilds” are dying or dead, I remain convinced that the system we have here–of which PEO is a good example–represents the best value proposition for both the profession and the public it serves. And I would consider dilution or loss of our self-regulatory status to be a severe blow to the engineering profession. So that we can remain focused on what we need to do to preserve and strengthen that status, it may be useful to remind ourselves from time to time how this concept is supposed to work, and what it means (and doesn’t mean) for organizations like PEO and for their members/licensees.

.

Let me begin by noting that professional self-regulation did not come about through the now-typical “downloading” of responsibilities from higher levels of government to lower ones. As former PEO President Peter DeVita, P.Eng., FEC, points out in his book A Search for Advocacy–Creating the Canadian Engineering Profession (www.g7books.com/search4.html), our forerunners at the beginning of the 20th century sought and secured from government the privilege of self-regulation. What they obtained in the various provincial statutes like Ontario’s Professional Engineers Act was essentially a contract with the public in which the profession secured the right to govern and regulate itself in exchange for committing to put the public interest first–ahead of any individual or collective self-interest (Engineering Dimensions, September/October 2004, p. 3). The contract was a win-win for both parties: the professionals gained status and substantial control over their own destiny as a profession, and the public gained assurances that competent professionals would be protecting their interests. When one considers the overall quality and reliability of engineering across all sectors in Canada in comparison to many other jurisdictions, I think it is fair to conclude that our profession has lived up to its part of the bargain substantively.

.

Note that the profession and its members are not precluded from having any self-interest–just from putting that self-interest ahead of the public interest. The public will be best served by a strong, independent profession with a clear, self-regulatory mandate and exclusive rights to practise. And the fact that professional bodies like PEO operate at arm’s length of government means they are free to advocate for sound public policy within their spheres of expertise, even if their advice ends up at odds with government policy. However, to avoid any perception of conflict of interest, many professional regulators like PEO have created separate, independently governed organizations–in our case, the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE)–to advocate for the economic and professional self-interests of their members. Even then, the two professional organizations are not precluded from collaborating on activities in which there is no inherent conflict of interest, such as informing the public of the importance of the engineering profession to their economic prosperity, safety and quality of life.

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Professional self-regulation does not mean that individual members of the profession are free to decide when and how to regulate their own individual practices. Our contract with the public requires the profession to maintain an organization (PEO) that establishes and enforces consistent standards of admission, practice and professional conduct for the profession. Individual members of the profession are expected both to contribute (their time and expertise) to the establishment of those standards, and to adhere to them in their day-to-day work. So while members of the profession have the democratic right to participate in its governance and leadership, they are subject to its regulation in their practice, for the collective good of the profession and the public. They can also be expected to report to their regulatory body information on their scopes of professional practice, and on measures they are taking to maintain their currency and competence, and to mitigate risks to the public inherent in their practice. Such data is essential for the profession to maintain public confidence that it is, in fact, regulating itself in the public interest.

 

A former council colleague used to say that PEO is in the competence assurance business. Given the diversity of engineering practice, it may be difficult for anyone other than an individual practitioner to accurately determine his or her competence in a given situation. That is why professionals are expected to limit their practices to those areas for which they are properly prepared by education and experience. And that is why elements of good character, such as honesty, integrity, responsibility and judgment, are so important to professional practice. But that does not alleviate the requirement for the professional regulator to set standards of knowledge and skill for practitioners, as well as work product standards for various professional activities, and to assess practitioners and their work against them. Public confidence may require regulators to do more than just discipline those practitioners who are the subjects of legitimate complaints. Another crucial aspect of the contract between the profession and the public is that of exclusive rights to practise. It is widely believed that the percentage of professional engineers who require their licence to practise to earn their living is low (perhaps 30 per cent) compared to other senior professions, such as law and medicine. To make matters worse, the percentage of those with engineering education who are licensed to practise is also low (less than 50 per cent). The simple reason for this is a licence to practise professional engineering is not required–or not believed to be required–for much of the work that graduate engineers do. And while it is accepted that many graduate engineers enter or advance to careers where their work falls outside the definition of the practice of professional engineering in the Professional Engineers Act (section 1–Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1990), it is clear that much activity that falls within the definition is being performed with impunity by unlicensed individuals.

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This situation is highly undesirable from the perspectives of both the profession and the public. As originally drafted, the act precluded anyone without a licence from performing engineering work unless a licensed professional engineer assumed responsibility for that work. Unfortunately, this exclusivity was undermined in the 1984 revision of the act by what has come to be referred to as the industrial exception at section 12(3)(a), which permits those doing professional engineering in relation to machinery or equipment in their employers’ manufacturing facilities to be unlicensed. The current Ontario government agreed in 2010 to repeal the offending section of the act, but has since reneged on that commitment.

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The problem of the industrial exception is compounded by the fact that there is a prevalent belief in many industries that all their engineers are exempt from the requirement to be licensed. This leads to the untenable situation in which unlicensed and licensed co-workers are working side by side on the same engineering tasks that fall outside the exception. This constitutes a violation of the act, but PEO’s ability to enforce against this illegal practice is hampered by the difficulty of discovering, investigating and prosecuting such infractions. Further complicating the problem is the fact that much engineering work product is being imported from offshore and used in Canadian jurisdictions without the involvement of a licensed Canadian engineer. Relatively few scopes of engineering practice are subject to demand-side legislation that requires the signature and seal of a professional engineer before the engineering work product can be used.

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Our Canadian model of self-regulating professions is predicated on the regulated professionals having exclusive rights to practise in all areas where there is a public interest inherent in the work. I believe it is critical to the ability of our profession to regulate in the public interest that this untenable situation be corrected through a combination of elimination of the industrial exception, expansion of demand-side legislation to additional scopes of practice, and expansion of enforcement powers.

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As members of this self-regulating profession, we must be prepared–and I believe we are prepared–to uphold our end of the deal and do what it takes to maintain the public’s confidence in our self-regulation. The Ontario government must be prepared to do the same. I, therefore, call on them to uphold their part of the bargain.

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A PERSONAL NOTE

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The role of Professional Engineers is not generally understood in our society.

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Professional Engineers as a group do not seek nor require public recognition.

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Their role is both simple and complex.

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They transform complex scientific and mathematical theory into Applied Science – i.e. it’s use for the benefit of society.

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To compete with other nations, specifically China, we must understand and appreciate their role, their character and their unique contribution to each of our lives daily from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep.

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Dan Zwicker, P.Eng.

Toronto

Canada.

 

 

 

DAN ZWICKER
`Raising the Bar`

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What We Do’

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http://beyondrisk.weebly.com/

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Capital Risk Management
Lifetime Sustainable Income
Strategic Wealth Management

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Specialists in Advanced Life Insurance Applications and
Lifetime Sustainable Retirement Planning Solutions

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New clients are accepted by referral only

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‘Raising The Bar’ – Slightly Out of Reach

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Bus: 416-726-2427
Email: danzwicker@rogers.com
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/danzwicker

 

Daniel H. Zwicker, Principal,
B.Sc. (Hons.) P.Eng. CFP CLU CH.F.C. CFSB
Professional Engineers Ontario
Certified Financial Planner
Chartered Life Underwriter
Chartered Financial Consultant
Chartered Financial Services Broker

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First Financial Consulting Group
4261 Highway Seven Suite 238
Markham , Ontario L3R 9W6

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BLOGS

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Daniel H. Zwicker, CFP Blog: http://www.dzwicker.blogspot.com
FFCG Blog: http://www.dan-zwicker.blogspot.com
Beyond Risk Blog: http://www.beyondrisk.blogspot.com

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What We Do’

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http://beyondrisk.weebly.com/
Capital Risk Management
Lifetime Sustainable Income
Strategic Wealth Management

.

Specialists in Advanced Life Insurance Applications and
Lifetime Sustainable Retirement Planning Solutions

.

New clients are accepted by referral only

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Professional Engineers Ontario

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Professional Engineers Ontario, PEO, is the self-regulatory body that governs Ontario’s 73,000 professional engineers, and sets standards for and regulates engineering practice in the province. It has a statutory mandate under the Professional Engineers Act of Ontario to protect the public interest where engineering is concerned.

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It was created in 1922[2] and is mandated to educating its members to latest developments and maintaining a Code of Ethics that puts the public interest first.

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Licensed professional engineers can be identified by the P.Eng. after their names.

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PEO consists of 37 chapters,[3] each representing a different geographic area in Ontario.

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PEO is governed by a Council of 29 (17 elected by the licence holders and 12 appointed by the provincial government).

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Financial Practitioner Designations

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CFP – Certified Financial Planner

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The Certified Financial Planner designation is an internationally recognized standard for financial planning. It is granted by the Financial Planners Standards Council (FPSC). An advisor with a CFP may help you with personal financial planning and offer advice on investment products and strategies.

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Financial planners with a CFP designation will often earn the CLU designation title to demonstrate their expertise in the areas of life insurance and estate planning to existing and potential clients. Having additional knowledge in these areas gives financial planners a competitive edge over other planners with fewer credentials.

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CLU – Chartered Life Underwriter

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For more than 80 years, the CLU designation has been widely recognized as a mark of excellence in the industry. The Chartered Life Underwriter is a professional financial advisor specializing in developing effective solutions for individuals, business owners and professionals in the areas of income replacement, risk management, estate planning, and wealth transfer.

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What is a ‘Chartered Life Underwriter – CLU’

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A chartered life underwriter (CLU) is a professional designation for individuals who wish to specialize in life insurance and estate planning. Individuals must complete five core courses and three elective courses, and successfully pass all eight two-hour, 100-question examinations in order to receive the designation.

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CH.F.C. – Chartered Financial Consultant

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A Chartered Financial Consultant is a financial advisor with advanced knowledge in wealth accumulation and retirement planning. An advisor with a CH.F.C. is an expert in retirement planning and capital accumulation strategies.

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CFSB – Chartered Financial Services Broker

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The CFSB Designation is granted by the Independent Financial Brokers of Canada.

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Code of Ethics of The Independent Financial Brokers of Canada

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Code of Ethics & Statement of Principles

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This Code of Ethics applies to all financial transactions, without regard to the product category, the type of intermediary, or the means by which the purchase of a product or service is transacted. If any principle or practice is inconsistent with a provision of an applicable law or regulation, the applicable law or regulation will take precedence.

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1. Interests of Client

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It is paramount that a broker shall place the interest of his/her client ahead of all other interests.

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2. Needs of Client

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Before giving advice or making recommendations, a broker shall make a diligent effort to learn the client’s needs, objectives and circumstances, and to then offer products or services to fulfill them. A broker must not recommend the replacement of any insurance policy, or any investment or purchase of a financial product unless he/she believes that such a replacement, investment or purchase is in the best interest of the client.

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3. Legitimacy of Client and Transaction

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A broker shall collect enough information about the client and the proposed transaction to reasonably determine the identity of the client and that the transaction is lawful. The broker must not act on behalf of a client when there are reasonable grounds to believe that the transaction is of an unlawful nature. A broker must not knowingly submit information on an application for any financial product or service to a company that is inaccurate or misleading.

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4. Professionalism of Broker

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A broker should possess an appropriate level of knowledge relating to his/her particular business and meet high standards of professional ethics, including acting with honesty, integrity, fairness, due diligence and skill. Continuing education should be pursued as a means of keeping skill and knowledge levels current and at all times meet any regulatory requirements. A broker must ensure that his/her financial records are properly maintained and follow sound business practices. A broker must ensure that all financial obligations are met and meet all regulatory requirements for professional liability insurance, trust accounts, deposits, or other fiduciary measures.

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5. Disclosure of Broker Information

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A broker must not misrepresent his/her education, qualifications, or experience, and should inform the client of the business licenses and registrations held, as well as the business name(s) of firm(s) under which he or she is licensed to operate. He/she should ensure that all references to his/her business activities, services, and products are clear, descriptive, and not misleading.

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6. Disclosure of Financial Products Information

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When recommending a transaction to a client, a broker must disclose all relevant facts, considerations, costs and risks necessary for an informed decision which are reasonably available to the broker. This disclosure should be in writing, and a written receipt obtained from the client. A broker may not be misleading as to the terms, costs, benefits, or risks of any proposed course of action. In addition to clearly describing the product or service for the client, the broker must disclose important assumptions underlying any illustrations or examples that have been provided to the client, as well as the fact that actual results may differ significantly from those shown. The broker should avoid using examples or illustrations which he or she knows, or ought to know, are based on unusual results or a period that generated much better than normally anticipated performance. A broker must deliver all policies, amendments, and other documents, in a timely manner and must advise the client, in writing, if an issued policy or product is materially different from the policy applied for or product purchased.

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7. Confidentiality

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A broker will protect the privacy and confidentiality of client personal information. Client information relating to any insurance policies, products purchased, or investments held, may not be disclosed to any individual or company without express written permission of the client.

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8. Conflicts of Interest

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A broker must disclose to a prospective buyer of financial products all conflicts or potential conflicts of interest associated with any recommendations and transactions, and the client should then be given the opportunity to halt the transaction, to seek additional professional advice, or complete the transaction.

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9. Behaviour

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A broker must act in good faith at all times, and meet high standards of professional ethics, including acting with honesty, integrity, fairness, due diligence, and skill. He/she may not engage in behaviour that is likely to be detrimental to the public professional image of IFB, the financial services industry, or other financial professionals. A broker must deal directly with all formal and informal complaints or disputes, or refer them to the appropriate person or process, in a timely and forthright manner. Complaints, or incidents which may give rise to a claim, must be reported to the errors and omissions insurer as soon as a broker has knowledge of them.

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10. Independence

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An IFB voting member must maintain his/her independence within IFB membership requirements.

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Statement of Principles of Independent Financial Brokers of Canada

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Independent Financial Brokers of Canada is an Association created to represent licensed professional financial brokers and to provide a forum for them to develop opinions, recommendations and programs, and to preserve choice in the delivery of financial products and services for consumers and brokers within this marketplace. These are our core principles:

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1. IFB supports a neutral law controlling differing systems of distribution, excluding none.

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2. IFB seeks a regime in which participants of all financial distribution systems are licensed and subject to appropriate regulatory controls.

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3. IFB affirms that its members are able to undertake any other occupation, when necessary, within the requirements of the licenses held.

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4. Within the limits allowed by law, IFB members are required to maintain an arm’s length relationship with all financial product providers with whom they are contracted.

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5. IFB supports ongoing education for all licensees, and in particular, expects its members to be thoroughly proficient, trained and knowledgeable in the financial products and services they provide to consumers.

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6. IFB believes that all financial brokers in Canada should be subject to a code of conduct, and in particular, expects its members to adhere to IFB’s Code of Ethics.

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7. IFB supports the promotion and preservation of the common and specific interests of Association members as a professional body, with full support for the principle of freedom in their business operations.
IFB seeks to foster a co-operative relationship with the public, the federal and provincial authorities and all other organizations associated with the provision of financial products and financial planning, in order to contribute to the successful development and continuation of high professional standards within the financial services industry in Canada, and to further consumer financial literacy and consumer protection.

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ONLINE REFERENCES:

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http://www.advocis.ca/ (Advocis),
http://www.iafe.ca/ (The Institute for Advanced Financial Education)
http://www.cfp-ca.org/ (Financial Planners Standards Council)
http://www.ifbc.ca/ (Independent Financial Brokers of Canada) http://www.peo.on.ca/ (Professional Engineers Ontario)
https://beyondrisk.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/684/

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BLOGS:

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FFCG BLOG: http://dan-zwicker.blogspot.ca/
CFP BLOG: http://dzwicker.blogspot.ca/
BEYOND RISK BLOG: http://beyondrisk.blogspot.ca/

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LINKEDIN

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http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6197693&trk=hb_tab_pro_top

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CONTACT DETAILS:

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http://dzwicker.blogspot.ca/2011/10/contact.html

By Bruce E. Levine / AlterNet
March 18, 2012

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A preoccupation with money is nothing new in our culture, but have Americans become even more “money-centric,” and does this deaden us, making us incapable of resisting injustices?
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A money-centric society is one in which money is at the center of virtually all thoughts, decisions and activities. While capitalism certainly gives rise to money-centrism, any society in which individuals have little know-how and lack supportive community—and are thus totally dependent on money for their survival—will create a money-centric society. Such a society coerces even the non-greedy to focus on money at the expense of damn near everything else in order to survive.
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Have We Become More Money-Centric?
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Sociologist Robert Putnam reported in Bowling Alone (2000) that when American adults were asked in 1975 to identify the elements of “the good life,” 38 percent chose “a lot of money,” compared to 63 percent who chose “a lot of money” in 1996. Since then, from my experience, this focus on money has only increased. Both greed and fear make one more money-centric, and in recent years, it has become more socially acceptable to be greedy and increasingly commonplace to be financially insecure.
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When I began my clinical psychology private practice nearly three decades ago, my clients who worked for major Cincinnati corporations such as Procter and Gamble felt secure in their employment, but that security began disappearing two decades ago. Nowadays, nearly everybody, even teachers and postal workers, lacks job security. Today, I see money worries, more than anything else, triggering panic attacks, depression, and alcohol abuse. Money discussions have even come to dominate family counseling sessions, where high school students increasingly talk about their fear of becoming financial losers, and parents fear their children will ruin their lives by accumulating student-loan debt while pursuing fields where there are few decent-paying jobs. Between my clients and my own money preoccupations, the dead shit of money routinely deadens me, especially when I lose my sense of humor about it.
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It is difficult to maintain a sense of humor about all of this, so for most of us, having a stash of money feels increasingly important—and money accumulation has increasingly become the center of our lives.
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In 1900, only 1 percent of Americans was in the stock market; by 1950, this had increased to only 4 percent; but by 2000, more than 50 percent of Americans were in the stock market. While some of these people merely have pensions that own shares on their behalf, many Americans have in fact chosen to invest in the stock market. How many of those people are investing their money in companies whose products they believe in? Almost none.
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For those Americans not in the stock market and who are living from paycheck to paycheck or on public assistance, they also are assured by the state that it is quite okay to gamble where the odds are more stacked against them than in the stock market. Many state governments not only offer lotteries but advertise them heavily on television, radio, billboards, and with mass mailing coupons—and this today is socially acceptable.
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Younger generations are increasingly told they won’t have job security in their working years or Social Security later on. So, while many young people would rather be gaining life experiences, they feel pressure early on to accumulate a large pile of cash.
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When Did Greed Become Respectable?
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Money has always been a big deal in America, but through much of history, the money-centrism of the greedy has not had the social acceptability that it has recently gained. For the non-elite, greed was seen as the practice of villains such as Charles Dickens’ money-obsessed Scrooge, a psychologically and spiritually sick man in need of conversion. As late as 1936, a sitting president of the United States running for reelection knew that that it was quite popular to blast the greedy, selfish elite:
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We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred. I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.
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That was Franklin D. Roosevelt on Oct. 31, 1936. Contrast FDR’s speech with President Barack Obama’s response in an interview excerpted by Bloomberg Businessweek and the Wall Street Journal in February 2010. When asked about Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s $9 million bonus and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s $17 million bonus,
Obama responded:

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First of all, I know both those guys. They’re very savvy businessmen. And I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That’s part of the free market system. I do think that the compensation packages that we’ve seen over the last decade at least have not matched up always to performance…Listen, $17 million is an extraordinary amount of money. Of course, there are some baseball players who are making more than that who don’t get to the World Series either.
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How did greed come to be so respectable? What Paul of Tarsus, in the first century after the death of Jesus, was to the dissemination and legitimization of Christianity, Ayn Rand, in the last half of the 20th century, was to the dissemination and legitimization of money-centrism and greed. Rand ends her novel Atlas Shrugged with this image of its hero John Galt: “He raised his hand and over the desolate earth he traced in space the sign of the dollar.” Rand exhorted her followers to believe in what she called “radical capitalism,” and she lived—and even died—in radical money-centrism. At Rand’s funeral, in accordance with her specified arrangements, a six-foot floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign was placed near her casket.
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Money-centrism, of course, has been caused by many other forces and perpetuated by many other people.
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How Money-Centrism Deadens Us and Makes Us Incapable of Resistance
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When one cares only about money, one neglects everything else necessary to build and maintain self-respect. Neglecting other aspects of our humanity results in destroying our integrity, and integrity is necessary for strength. And when one is willing to do whatever it takes to make money, one assumes others are acting similarly, which destroys trust and makes it impossible to create the solidarity necessary to successfully challenge illegitimate authorities.
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Money-centrism is especially malevolent when it attacks societal forces that are potentially liberating. Much has been written about how spiritual revolts (such as those begun by Jesus and other rebels) eventually morph into organized religions, which are then driven by money and used by the elite as an “opiate of the masses.” The elite in religious hierarchies have routinely commercialized spirituality, and by so doing have reduced the power of spirituality as a potent force to take down the ruling elite.
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But spirituality is not the only potentially rebellious force that has been destroyed by money-centrism. Commercializing any powerful idea, belief or emotion deadens its power. Even the rebellion of folk/protest music and rock-and-roll has been increasingly commercialized, resulting in a dissipation of actual rebellious energy.
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In 1998, Bob Dylan and his son Jakob were paid $1 million to play for 15,000 employees of the Silicon Valley semiconductor company Applied Materials, and that’s not the only “corporate gig” on Dylan’s résumé. Next time you hear Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” how energizing will that be for you? And for quite some time, the aim of many rock-and-roll bands has been to exploit and commercialize the idea of rebellion. So, it should surprise no one that the Rolling Stones do corporate gigs, including one a decade ago in which they took in $2 million to entertain Pepsi bottlers in Hawaii.
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Equally widespread and probably even more responsible for dissipating rebellious energy is when songs of perceived rebellious artists are used as background music in commercials used to propagandize listeners into associating their rebellious urges with consumer products. Dylan’s “Times They Are a-Changin’” has been used by accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand and by the Bank of Montreal; and the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” has been used by Microsoft. Of course it is unfair to pick on only Dylan and the Rolling Stones, but it’s simply too depressing for me to go through the entire list.
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To defeat the elite, the rest of us need energy. Rebellion is a powerful idea, but when rebellion is used merely to attract an audience for financial profit, the idea itself becomes less powerful.
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So, whether it is spirituality, folk/protest music, or rock-and-roll, when rebellious energy is commercialized, that energy dissipates.
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Spirituality, music, theater, cinema, and other arts can be revolutionary forces, but the gross commercialization of these has deadened their capacity to energize rebellion. So now damn near everything—not just organized religion—has become an “opiate of the masses.”
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In a radically capitalist society that worships “one market under God” (as Thomas Frank called it), we are all forced to be somewhat money-centric in order to survive. No shame here. But since money is not alive, to the extent that we become radically money-centric and money is at the center of all of our thoughts, decisions, and activities, we are dead and incapable of any resistance to injustices.
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TIME TO RAISE THE PROFESSIONAL BAR
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https://beyondrisk.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/advocis-leads-in-professional-practice-by-raising-the-regulatory-bar-for-financial-advisors/