A communications meeting on soil, feed, and plant analysis for laboratory representatives was held at the Highlander Motor Hotel, Calgary, Alberta on June 28, 1977. It was organized by Don Laverty, Director, Soil and Feed Testing Laboratory, Alberta Agriculture, Edmonton. It was agreed to form an association named "Soil and Plant Analysis Laboratory Association". The Companies Branch of the Alberta Government indicated that this name was "not available". Later the members agreed to call it the "Western Enviro-Agricultural Laboratory Association (WEALA)". The Corporate Access Number is 50202064 (Alberta Consumer and Corporate Affairs). Date of incorporation: January 15, 1979. The founding member of WEALA are Jim Carson (Edmonton), Ray Grimson (Brooks), Yash Kalra (Edmonton), Don Laverty, M. Kerry Peters (Edmonton), and Al Rasmuson (Edmonton). A logo was designed in 1985 by Yash Kalra and Dennis Lee of the Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton. Ray Grimson of the Lakeside Research Ltd., Brooks was the first president of the association (1977-78).
A great amount of interest was shown by the participants for sample exchange. It was strongly felt that a common objective of the group was to produce good analytical results. Later a telephone survey showed that this was the primary impetus for most of the participants to join the group. Nineteen laboratories from Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan participated in the first check sample program coordinated by Yash P. Kalra in 1979. A report entitled "WEALA check sample program: A collaborative study" was published by Yash Kalra and M. Kerry Peters in March 1981. Since then several collaborative studies have been carried out by the association.
Initially two business meetings of WEALA were held annually, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. Generally, meetings were alternated between Edmonton and Calgary. At the September 28, 1984 meeting in Calgary, it was decided to hold workshops. The first workshop (the analysis of soil) was held in Lethbridge on February 18, 1985. The workshops have been held in Edmonton, Calgary, and Lethbridge. Recent workshops have been held at the Alberta Research Council, Edmonton and have been coordinated by Salim Abboud. The workshops have been done in association with other organizations as well, e.g., Alberta Water Analysts CommitteePast Presidents of WEALA