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Old 02-28-2014, 10:42 AM   #1
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Reported Human Rights Violation Joining Engineering Association

With the thread last year about speaking Mandarin at McDonald's being a human rights issue I thought this article my friend sent me interesting. It involves an immigrant unable to get his professional license even though on paper has a lot of credentials, and claims his human rights are violated. He failed an engineering exam twice.

National Post editorial board: Human rights vs. engineering | National Post

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Yet a case decided this month by a Human Rights Tribunal in Alberta may be the most dangerous precedent of all. This is not a case involving a pastor or comedian, but an aspiring engineer. And the Tribunal Chair, a lawyer by the name of Moosa Jiwaji, has essentially decided that his own, personal and highly expansive interpretation of “human rights” must replace the normal professional standards applied to aspiring Canadian engineers.

The case involves Ladislav Mihaly, an immigrant from Czechoslovakia (as it then was) who has been engaged in a 15-year-long campaign to gain accreditation by Alberta’s Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists. Early on in the process, Mr. Mihaly was clearly informed that — like most other professionals who receive their schooling in foreign countries — he was required to complete a set of examinations that would serve to assess his baseline competence according to our (high) Canadian standards. This is necessary to preserve the integrity of the Canadian engineering profession. As David Lynch, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta testified in his capacity as an expert witness (we quote here from the summary contained in the tribunal decision):

“There is a high degree of variability in what other countries and institutions call an Engineer and in many countries the word Engineer means something different than in Canada. [Dean Lynch] stated that in Canada we have a layered system where we clearly distinguish between an engineering technology diploma and an engineering degree. In Canada we also distinguish among Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees. He said that in some countries there is no similar distinction and degrees merge together and it becomes difficult for regulating bodies to determine whether a degree from another country is comparable to a Bachelor’s degree in Canada. He provided the examples of China and India. He said in China there are approximately 600,000 graduates a year, but only a fraction of these graduates would be equivalent to our Bachelor’s degree.”
Mr. Mihaly took one of the tests once and failed it. He took it again, failed it again, and then another time didn’t bother showing up at all. After that, Mr. Mihaly spent a half decade sending various confusing letters to the Association offering obscure explanations as to why he should be exempted from the entire process. Mr. Mihaly claims that his experience as an immigrant in Canada has been a sad and sour one, and he certainly deserves sympathy on that basis. But the record assembled by Mr. Jiwaji in his decision suggests a human rights litigant who has become unhinged from the professional reality around him.

The qualifications of engineers are scrutinized closely because the lives of Canadians often depend on their competence. Mr. Mihaly himself claims expertise in petro-chemical engineering. Does Mr. Jiwaji have any familiarity with what happens when things go disastrously wrong with a pipeline or chemical processing plant?

What’s to stop human rights mandarins from deciding who gets to be a cardiologist or a pediatric oncologist?
Yet amazingly, Mr. Jiwaji found that the Association of Professional Engineers’ decision to uphold their standards in regard to Mr. Mihaly ran afoul of Alberta’s statutory prohibition against discrimination on the basis of “place of origin.” Not only did Mr. Jiwaji assign damages in the sum of $10,000 to Mr. Mihaly, he also set out a slew of other remedies, effectively turning the Association of Professional Engineers into one gigantic guidance counsellor whose mission is to tenderly usher the complainant into the profession. He even demanded that the Association “establish a committee” to help all the other Mihalys out there.

One can only be thankful that this absurd judgment will almost certainly be overturned on appeal. If it is left to stand, what’s to stop human rights mandarins from deciding who gets to be a cardiologist or a pediatric oncologist? Mr. Jiwaji has provided us with one of the strongest arguments to date for the wholesale abolition of human rights commissions.

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Old 02-28-2014, 11:34 AM   #2
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I think we are missing a lot of details with regards to Ladislav Mihaly and how Human Rights Tribunal came to their decisions. National Post only gave me 1 side to this story.
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Old 02-28-2014, 11:46 AM   #3
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High standards my butt. They just don't want foreigners talking there jobs.
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Old 02-28-2014, 11:58 AM   #4
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Engineering deals with a lot of numbers. If Mihali failed the exam, then he probably failed it due to his lack of knowledge, and not because he's an immigrant. His failings are on him, and he's trying to blame everyone else for things that are his responsibility, like studying for the exam, or actually being there for it.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:18 PM   #5
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failed 2 times and didn't show for the 3rd.

I wouldn't hire him at all.

he may be an engineer where he's from, but like the article said, those are different standards there.

would you want a lawyer from a ghetto eastern European country who took a 6 month course to be a "lawyer" representing you in a court case even though he failed his bar exam 3 times in canada...or would you rather have someone with degrees and works at a reputable firm that are well known to back you up.

this isn't a human rights issue, its a foreigner getting pissy because he cant land a job due to him not having the knowledge.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:26 PM   #6
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There are always 2 sides to the story, and in the absences of that, I wouldn't come to any quick conclusions here.

The undeniable fact is that this Mr. Mihaly failed the certification exam twice. On the surface, this probably suggests that Mihaly is either technically incompetent, so he failed the test, or his language skills is a barrier that prevented him from properly understanding and communicating in the language that will most likely be required in a (Canadian) work environment. Neither possibility is acceptable when people's lives are at risk.

On the other hand, a lot of these professional qualification exams are designed to ensure that the one being tested meets the baseline knowledge requirement as a fresh grad that came out of the Canadian education system. Even with these so-called specializations in the final years of university, the knowledge a fresh grad gains is still very much a broad-based, overview type of knowledge. You don't really build up your expertise in a specific field until you start working in the industry, and by then, a lot of the irrelevant breadth knowledge you studied back in first or second year has probably been forgotten. Effectively, a lot of these tests end up being a general, entry level type of exam testing field experts on stuff they learned years ago but haven't touched them since.

I acknowledge the need for Canadian professional associations to maintain a certain level of standard. But since I do not belong to any of these professional associations, I don't think I'd be in the position to draw where that line is.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:23 PM   #7
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unless i misread it, it sounds like he failed the 'law & ethics' exam which is a requirement for all engineers applying for designation. typically written after 4 years of qualified experience (it can be written sooner).
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Old 03-01-2014, 03:02 AM   #8
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unless i misread it, it sounds like he failed the 'law & ethics' exam which is a requirement for all engineers applying for designation. typically written after 4 years of qualified experience (it can be written sooner).
it is also necessary for PMP, PQS, A.Sc.T, architects, lawyers, doctors, etc. Basically any professional designation is going to have a Law and Ethics course or examination at some point (or it will be rolled into the designations exam).

On top of that any graduate from any bachelors program in Canada and the US will have had an ethics class at some point.

The article touches on this, but the last thing we need is professionals coming from other countries who do not know what they are doing signing off on projects and such here. I for one am happy knowing that we are stringent in making sure our engineers, doctors, and various other levels of professionals are capable.
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Old 03-01-2014, 02:07 PM   #9
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Engineering deals with a lot of numbers. If Mihali failed the exam, then he probably failed it due to his lack of knowledge, and not because he's an immigrant. His failings are on him, and he's trying to blame everyone else for things that are his responsibility, like studying for the exam, or actually being there for it.

Exactly... if he can't pass the simple exam than he is NOT qualified to be an engineer... I have been thru engineering in post secondary and got my diploma in technology and its not easy. I remember we started the 1st year with almost 200 ppl, in the 2nd semester had like 80 ppl left...

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it is also necessary for PMP, PQS, A.Sc.T, architects, lawyers, doctors, etc. Basically any professional designation is going to have a Law and Ethics course or examination at some point (or it will be rolled into the designations exam).

On top of that any graduate from any bachelors program in Canada and the US will have had an ethics class at some point.

The article touches on this, but the last thing we need is professionals coming from other countries who do not know what they are doing signing off on projects and such here. I for one am happy knowing that we are stringent in making sure our engineers, doctors, and various other levels of professionals are capable.


they even have this in the diploma program

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Old 03-01-2014, 02:23 PM   #10
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So he plays the immigrant card because he cant pass an exam..
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Old 03-02-2014, 03:44 PM   #11
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Some of my current instructors at school are immigrants to Canada and they were able to write the APEG exam and passed it. So it isn't an impossible task.

I don't see why this guy should get any sympathy. If you can't pass the exam, go home, study and try again. This isn't a human rights violation, he is just a lazy bastard.
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Old 03-02-2014, 03:51 PM   #12
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High standards my butt. They just don't want foreigners talking there jobs.
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Old 03-02-2014, 03:51 PM   #13
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He's getting a lot of court ordered support from APEGA now too due to this. From going to the human tribunal. I heard about this a couple weeks ago. At first I was put off that he got so much from his lack of effort or ability to pass the exams and get this special treatment.

Then I thought, might as well give him the benefit of the doubt so if anyone in the future pulls this card we can refer to this case.
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Old 03-02-2014, 04:14 PM   #14
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I for one am happy knowing that we are stringent in making sure our engineers, doctors, and various other levels of professionals are capable.
This.


Too bad we don't have more stringent rules for getting a drivers license.
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This.


Too bad we don't have more stringent rules for getting a drivers license.
most of Richmond would have to take the bus if we had stringent rules for getting a DL
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:10 PM   #16
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:55 PM   #17
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What a farce, yes technically they could be "discriminating" based on his place of origin because his place of origin (and place of education) has an effect on how well he was trained to operate at the level demanded by the designation he is trying to get.

I'm gonna remember this guys name, if he does manage to get his designation I'll be running away from any job site this guy has any influence on. On top of his obvious incompetence it sounds like he hasn't worked as an engineer (or whatever he is) in 15 years, like hell he still remembers what he's doing.

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He's getting a lot of court ordered support from APEGA now too due to this.
This right here confirms that this guy is NOT an engineer. There's no way he got through an engineering program if he expects them to hold his hand and help him along considering how harsh and unforgiving they can be.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:08 PM   #18
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This article lays it out even more clearly Chris Selley: Rights tribunal says immigrant who failed engineering exam three times was discriminated against | National Post

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It sounds like an all-too-common Canadian tale. In 1999, Czech immigrant Ladislav Mihaly sought accreditation from the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA). On account of where he got his two master’s degrees — the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, and the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague — APEGGA explained he needed to pass four exams in addition to the standard National Professional Practice Exam (NPPE). To date he has failed the NPPE three times.

It’s a clear and persistent problem: When we welcome immigrant professionals without fully assessing their skills or potential, everybody can wind up losing. Still. We obviously need professional standards for engineers. If Mr. Mihaly can’t or won’t meet them, there’s not much we can do about it. Right?

Ah, but this is Canada, and Mr. Mihaly has clearly been paying attention. So in 2008, he appealed to the Alberta Human Rights Commission that he was being discriminated against, illegally, on the basis of where he’s from. And on Feb. 6, in a bewildering decision, tribunal chairman Moosa Jiwaji agreed. Not only must APEGGA pay $10,000 in damages to Mr. Mihaly, he ordered, it must within three months “establish a committee … to specifically explore and investigate options to appropriately and individually assess [his] qualifications … with a view to correcting any perceived academic deficiencies.” Mr. Jiwaji suggests offering Mr. Mihaly “exemptions” from the NPPE or “the Fundamentals of Engineering exam” — hey, they’re only fundamentals — perhaps “combined with the implementation of a different method of assessment.” APEGGA is furthermore to “match Mr. Mihaly with a mentor,” provide “networking” opportunities and help him improve his English.

Mr. Mihaly’s argument goes like this: APEGGA deems some international engineering programs “substantially equivalent” to Canadian ones, and thus may exempt their graduates from examination requirements. Canada also has arrangements with various other countries that can result in exemptions. Unfortunately for Mr. Mihaly, his alma maters do not preside over such programs, and the Slovak and Czech Republics are not among those countries. Fortunately for Mr. Mihaly, having thrice failed the only accreditation exam he attempted, he has the nerve to argue he’s being punished for hailing from Czechoslovakia.

It’s nonsense. Firstly, APEGGA protested, the Alberta Human Rights Act bars discrimination against people according to their place of origin, not university degrees. And in any event, APEGGA argued, it didn’t judge Mr. Mihaly according to where he’s from but based on the university programs on his résumé. His résumé would have been treated exactly the same had he been from Russia or Poland or the moon.

Promisingly, Mr. Jiwaji cites in his decision an opinion of Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench that “‘place of origin’ cannot be stretched to include the place where the person received their PhD degree.” But then, alas, he decides he’s “more inclined” to favour some other opinions.

In Giggey v. York Region District School Board, an Ontario Human Rights tribunal supported a generous interpretation of “place of origin” (though it declined to force the board to enroll a child born Jan. 1 in Hong Kong as if he had been born Dec. 31 in York Region, despite the inherent time zone discrimination).

In Bitonti v. British Columbia (Ministry of Health), a British Columbia Human Rights tribunal “concluded that while ‘place of origin’ does not include place of medical training per se, its interpretation is broader than simply place of birth.”

And in Neiznnaski v. University of Toronto, an Ontario Board of Inquiry determined that while people are “ostensibly … discriminated against on the basis of their foreign credentials,” because people tend to go to school where they’re from, “the effect often is to exclude groups linked to their place of origin, race, colour or ethnic origin.”

Neat, eh? You don’t have to have been discriminated against illegally per se. Legal discrimination against people who share a protected characteristic can simply add up to illegal discrimination. The possibilities for future complaints are endless. Maclean’s ranks Manitoba’s universities way down the tables. Uncontroversially, a prospective employer will be more impressed with a degree from the University of Toronto than one from Brandon or Winnipeg. But maybe the cumulative effect of all those decisions is anti-Manitoba discrimination!

It’s all well and good to laugh. Unlike many of the poor schmoes human rights tribunals put through the wringer, the engineers have the money to defend themselves. APEGGA will appeal the ruling, and some superior court will hopefully blow it to smithereens. But these clay pigeons cost a lot of money. At the end of the day, legalities aside, Mr. Jiwaji wants to ensure the employment of an incompetent engineer under the banner of human rights. In the court of popular opinion, it’s not clear how long Canada’s current human rights apparatus can survive decision-making like that.

National Post
They want APEGGA to give exemptions to the fundamental professionalism exam? Are they for real? It also says APEGGA told him he needed to pass 4 other exams to be equivalent to Canadian standards, but seeing as nobody mentions him completing them I doubt he did.
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