NEWS BEYOND OUR BORDERS
Regulatory body for Quebec engineers placed under trusteeship
Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec - Quebec’s professional regulatory body for engineers, the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ), has had its powers of self-regulation revoked and has been placed under trusteeship of the provincial government.
Announced July 6, the move by Quebec’s provincial government follows a recommendation from the Office des Professions, the authority that oversees the province’s professional regulatory bodies. A press release issued by the Office states: “The Office believes that the effective delivery of activities of regulation of the profession and the financial stability of the OIQ are seriously affected, to the point of putting into question the capacity of the OIQ of carrying out its primary mission of public protection.”
The OIQ has faced a number of internal challenges and financial difficulties in recent years. In 2014, two experts, Pierre Pilote and Dr. Yves Lamontagne, were appointed by the Office des Professions to help the order address these issues. They presented their recommendations in January 2015. In a report submitted in June 2016, the OIQ outlined how it intended to implement the recommendations. These were dismissed by Quebec’s Justice Minister, Stéphanie Vallée, as “insufficient.” She said that infighting and financial difficulties had made the OIQ unable to fulfill its primary responsibility of protecting the public.
Three administrators have been named by the government to work with the OIQ board to achieve a solution for governance of the order: professional engineer Michel Pigeon, lawyer Johanne Brodeur and certified professional accountant François Renauld. The OIQ board of directors took office only recently.
New research into wood buildings
Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia - The National Building Code of Canada places strict height limits on combustible wood-frame buildings in Canada. Over time, the code has changed to accommodate new research, materials and technologies that improve the structural and life-safety performance of wood-frame buildings and building systems.
A number of new alternative solutions that permit increases from mid- to high-rise heights have been developed. For example, use of modern mass timber products such as glued laminated timber, cross-laminated timber and structural composite lumber has been identified as a viable approach to safely increase the height of wood buildings. Timber-based hybrid buildings have also been identified as viable structural forms. Hybrid buildings combine steel, reinforced concrete, and wood into structural components and systems.
The University of British Columbia has been a leader in promoting wood-only and timber–hybrid buildings. A number of recently constructed buildings at the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, including the 18-storey student residence being built this year, are examples. The university also leads in research into effective use of wood in mid- and high-rise buildings.
Trial for former engineer who inspected Elliot Lake mall
CBC News - The trial of Robert Wood is taking place in Ontario Superior Court in Sault Ste. Marie. He is accused of two counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm in connection with the Elliot Lake mall collapse in 2012. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Wood was the last person to examine Elliot Lake's Algo Centre Mall before a portion of its rooftop parking deck caved in on June 23, 2012. He also evaluated the structure in 2009.
Crown attorneys Marc Huneault and David Kirk will argue that the inspector's work contributed to the mall's collapse, which killed two women — Lucie Aylwin, 37, and Doloris Perizzolo, 74 — and severely injured another person.
The Crown attorneys will bring forward a long list of witnesses including a prospective buyer of the Algo Centre Mall, who alleges Wood warned it would cost $1.5 million to fix the structure's roof or it would cave in. Wood told a public inquiry that was launched into the disaster that he could barely recall any such conversation.
If convicted, Wood could face a life sentence.
Historic space mission to asteroid Bennu
Royal Ontario Museum - A team led by the Canadian Space Agency has a ticket to an asteroid. On September 8th, 2016, NASA launched the OSIRIS-REx probe from Cape Canaveral with the aim of a rendezvous with Bennu, a Near Earth Object (NEO) asteroid two years later. The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed, tell us about the origins of some of the building blocks of life, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.
Once in orbit with the asteroid, OSIRIS-REx will analyze the asteroid’s surface features over an extended period. Then, in a daring flight maneuver, the probe will touch down and scoop up a sample of Bennu’s terrain before flying away again. OSIRIS-REx will complete its mission by returning the sample to Earth for analysis. This will be the largest extraterrestrial sample return mission since the lunar Apollo missions.
This is the first time Canada will participate in an asteroid return space mission. The Canadian Space Agency is contributing the OSIRIS-REx laser altimeter (OLA) - a key payload for the entire mission. Previous experience on Canada’s Mars Phoenix Rover team has provided the foundation for OLA. The Royal Ontario Museum and the Universities of British Columbia, Calgary, Toronto and Winnipeg are collaborating on the project as well.
For its participation, Canada will receive 4 per cent of the retrieved sample from Bennu. This material will support homegrown planetary science research.
Arctic research vessel Sikuliag
Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia - BC firm AKAC Inc. has helped design research vessel Sikuliaq, an icebreaker designed for oceanographic research in Alaskan waters, with the possibility of seasonal operations in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. It is owned by the US National Science Foundation and operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
During the design, AKAC Inc. was the naval architect responsible for ensuring the vessel was capable of operating and conducting science missions in the Arctic ice. To meet its unique mission requirements, several unique design features were incorporated, including azimuth propulsion. AKAC Inc. prepared an ice operations manual for the vessel and conducted hands-on field training to help ensure the vessel is used to its maximum potential. Evan Martin, P.Eng., was in charge of ice trials conducted to provide training to the crew, and to develop and verify operational procedures for conducting science operations in sea ice.