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The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada > News & Events > Communications Magazine > Vol. 36, No. 2, Spring 2010 > First OPEEPM Scholarship
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First OPEEPM Scholarship

The professional engineers employed by the province of Manitoba (OPEEPM group) donated $20,000 to the Institute’s Legacy Fund to create an annual scholarship for a first-year engineering student attending the University of Manitoba. This scholarship was established to honour the past presidents of OPEEPM who formed this union and received certification in 1975. The founding members of OPEEPM put their career advancement on the line to create this union for the betterment of all the engineers that followed them.

John Arthur (1989, 90, 91 & current president), Jon Stefanson (1985, 86), Neil Harden (1992, 93, 94), PIPSC President Gary Corbett, Orion Ng (laureate), Ron Britton, Associate Dean of Engineering, Mike Van Den Bosch (1981) and Barry Rowley (1977).

President Corbett presented the first scholarship to Orion Ng, the son of Tong Ng, a professional engineer in Winnipeg, who was an OPEEPM member until just a few months ago. Orion Ng is a top-notch student and has a history of active involvement in his community, at the St. Amant Centre and through his church. Orion leads by example and has a reputation for being able to handle any challenge that comes his way. The event was held and hosted by the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Engineering.

“PIPSC has raised the public awareness of OPEEPM and we are continuing to raise our profile within Government.” -John Arthur

Historical Facts

Laboratory

Guests were taken on a tour of the University’s new Engineering facilities which showcased the talent of their students and the modern learning tools made available to these young minds.

  • In the early 1970's the provincial engineers decided to form their own union after they were told by the government that they would not be recognized unless the union was certified.
  • Certification under the Labour Relations Act was obtained in 1975.
  • Prior to 1972 , the Provincial Labour Relations Act prohibited professionals from joining or forming unions. In 1972, the Act was changed to allow unions if a majority of the professional employee group wished to do so.
  • Manitoba Government Employees Association campaigned for the engineering group to join their bargaining unit.
  • The engineers of the day decided as a group that their professional and salary interests would be best served by an organization composed entirely and solely of professional engineers.
  • The first group of engineers put their reputation and advancement on the line to form the union.
  • In 1987 OPEEPM became part of PIPSC.
  • In 1993 there were 181 engineers, now 143 engineers.
  • Two strikes in 1985 and 2003.
  • On February 18, 2010 the name OPEEPM changed to the Manitoba Association of Government Engineers (MAGE).