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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Background
Who is being requested to complete the PEAK program?
When should I start the PEAK program?
What is the purpose of the PEAK program?

What are the elements of the PEAK program?
Does the Professional Engineers Act permit PEO to implement the PEAK program?
Is completion of the PEAK program recommended annually or over a multi-year period?
Does PEO provide support to members regarding the PEAK program?
Is the information I submit as part of the PEAK program be made publicly available?
What does PEO do with the data it collects from members?
How do I know whether I am considered to be a “practising” or “non-practising” licence holder?
What are the consequences of not completing the various components of the PEAK program?
How much does the program cost?
Does the PEAK program increase my licence fees?

Practice Evaluation Questionnaire
What is the purpose of the practice evaluation questionnaire?
How many questions are in the questionnaire?
How long will it take to complete the questionnaire?
My responsibilities and level of risk vary depending on the project or team. When there is more than one answer that applies to a member, how should I answer the question?
What time period should I consider when completing the questionnaire?
I have switched jobs in the last 12 months. How should I answer the questionnaire?
Who is the public for the purposes of the questionnaire?
Why do I need to describe my scope of practice?
I did not find an answer that pertains to my current situation. How should I answer the question?
What is the purpose of the hour tracker?

Online Ethics Module
Why do I need to complete the online ethics module?
How long does the ethics module take to complete?
How often do I have to complete the ethics module?
What subjects does the ethics module cover?
Who is asked to complete the ethics module?
Is the ethics module a test I need to prepare for?

Continuing Knowledge
What is an acceptable continuing knowledge activity?
How do I determine how many or what continuing knowledge activities I should complete?
Over what timeframe should I be completing my recommended number of continuing knowledge activity hours to report back to PEO?
Does PEO recognize online courses?
Does attending manufacturer’s workshops and training sessions on their new products or technologies count as continuing knowledge activities?
Does PEO accredit continuing knowledge activities courses to ensure they have value?
Does PEO provide guidance and specific examples on what types of courses or activities count towards continuing knowledge activities?
Does PEO assist licence holders who find the knowledge declaration challenging?
Does PEO accept continuing knowledge activities completed in another province or with another regulator?
Can continuing knowledge activities I already undertake to comply with requirements of a program from another provincial association, technical association, or my company count toward the PEAK program?


Background

Q: Who is being requested to complete the PEAK program?

A: All licence holders, including limited licence holders, are requested to complete the PEAK program annually.

Engineering Interns (EITs) are not asked to complete the PEAK program but should familiarize themselves with the program for when they are fully licensed. Temporary and Provisional licence holders are exempt from the PEAK program.

 

Q: When should I start the PEAK program?

A: No action is required until you receive your renewal notice. At that time, you should log in to your account in PEO’s member portal and click on the PEAK tab to begin the process

 

Q:   What is the purpose of the PEAK program?

A:  The PEAK program is an information gathering program that provides PEO with an accurate and up-to-date regulatory profile of its licence holders to help ensure it has sufficient information to effectively carry out its role as the regulator of the profession. The program also gauges the continuing knowledge activities of licence holders, and provides a recommended number of hours for each practising licence holder to annually maintain a level of knowledge and skill commensurate with safeguarding the public interest.

 

Q:   What are the elements of the PEAK program?

A:   The program consists of three elements: a practice evaluation questionnaire; an online ethics module; and a continuing knowledge declaration. Based on the results of the practice evaluation questionnaire, practising licence holders are also provided with a recommended amount of time to dedicate to continuing knowledge activities during the year. The maximum amount of time is 30 hours per year; however, in most cases, the actual recommendation is less. PEO’s online directory of practitioners shows the completion status of all elements of the program for each licence holder.

 

Q:   Does the Professional Engineers Act permit PEO to implement the PEAK program?

A:   The Act permits PEO to provide continuing education to licence holders; however, it currently does not allow PEO to make continuing professional education compulsory and does not provide PEO with the means to enforce compliance with a mandatory program. Generally, as a regulator, PEO is authorized to collect whatever information the association deems is necessary to carry out its public interest mandate.

 

Q:   Is completion of the PEAK program recommended annually or over a multi-year period?

A:   Licence holders are asked to complete the PEAK program annually. 

 

Q:   Does PEO provide support to members regarding the PEAK program?

A:   PEO provides resources for licence holders, including Frequently Asked Questions, a video overview, guidelines and information sessions.

 

Q:   Is the information I submit as part of the PEAK program made publicly available?

A:   PEO’s online directory of practitioners only makes publicly available the completion status of all elements of the program for each licence holder.

 

Q:   What does PEO do with the data it collects from members?

A:   The data collected from the practice evaluation questionnaire is used to update licence holder information such as current employer and contact information. It is also used for policy development purposes such as percentage of practising vs non-practising licence holders and to develop a more accurate and up-to-date regulatory profile of licence holders. This helps ensure PEO has sufficient information to effectively carry out its role as regulator of the profession.

 

Q:   How do I know whether I am considered to be a “practising” or “non-practising” licence holder?

A:   A person is considered to be practising professional engineering if he or she is carrying out any act of designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising, or the managing of any of these acts and those acts:

  1. involve the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment, and
  2. require the application of engineering principles.

The definition applies to all situations where this particular combination of intellectual activity, societal protection and methodology exists regardless of whether the position is in industry, government or consulting. A person does not have to be employed in a firm holding a Certificate of Authorization in order to be classified as practising. Nor does a person have to seal engineering documents.

A person is considered non-practising if he or she is licensed by Professional Engineers Ontario but is retired, unemployed, on leave, or employed in a position that does not involve carrying out any of the acts described in the “practising” definition. When on fee remission, a person cannot engage in any practice activity for any purpose whether paid or unpaid. Others who self-identified as non-practising retain full right of practice and can engage in any practice actively as long as it is done in full compliance with the Professional Engineers Act and its regulations.

 

Q:   What are the consequences of not completing the various components of the PEAK program?

A:   While completion of the PEAK program is not mandatory, should a licence holder refuse to complete any element of the program in the allotted time, this information will be publicly noted on PEO’s online directory of practitioners.

 

Q:   How much does the program cost?

A:    There is no cost for completing the PEAK program on-line documentation or the on-line ethics module. Cost of the continuing knowledge activities undertaken by individual licence holders depends on the type of activity chosen. PEO does not provide any continuing education course nor make any recommendations concerning the knowledge activities suitable for individual licence holders. Choosing these activities and the associated costs is the responsibility of the licence holders or their employers.

 

Q:   Does the PEAK program increase my licence fees?

A:    PEO does not anticipate that a fee increase would be required to implement the present version of the PEAK program. 

 

Practice Evaluation Questionnaire

Q:  What is the purpose of the practice evaluation questionnaire?

A:  Existing information on PEO licence holders, such as current employer and contact information, is significantly flawed and incomplete. To correct this, and to obtain additional data needed for policy development purposes, all licence holders are asked to verify their personal information in the Member Portal. The questionnaire is designed to ensure that PEO has sufficient and necessary information on its licence holders to effectively carry out its role as the regulator of the profession.

 

Q:   How many questions are in the questionnaire?

A:   The questionnaire has 20 questions.

 

Q:   How long does take to complete the questionnaire?

A:    It should take about 15-20 minutes to complete.

 

Q:   My responsibilities and level of risk vary depending on the project or team. When there is more than one answer that applies to a member, how should I answer the question?

A:   Choose the answer that poses the greatest risk. For all questions, the lowest risk is the first answer and the greatest risk is the last answer.

 

Q:   What time period should I consider when completing the questionnaire?

A:   The last 12 months.

 

Q:   I have switched jobs in the last 12 months. How should I answer the questionnaire?

A:   The questionnaire is intended to capture information regarding your current status so describe the practice environment for your current employment situation.

 

Q:  Who is the public for the purposes of the questionnaire?

A:  For the purposes of all regulatory directives regarding engineering practice, 'the public' is considered to be anyone other than the licence holder or his or her employer.

 

Q:   Why do I need to describe my scope of practice?

A:   PEO is collecting this information in order to obtain a clear picture of what its licence holders are doing. The association has been asked on numerous occasions, and for many purposes, if it has reliable data on the number of licence holders practising in specific fields of engineering. Unfortunately, this data is not available.

 

Q:  I did not find an answer that pertains to my current situation. How should I answer the question?

A:   Though PEO has tried to anticipate the potential answers to every question, it is quite possible that for some questions, no answer directly pertains to a licence holder’s current situation. If so, please choose the answer that is nearest to the answer you would prefer. If none is acceptable, choose the first answer (lowest risk). If you can, please notify PEO at peopeak@peo.on.ca providing the question and your preferred answer.

 

Q:   What is the purpose of the hour tracker?

A:   Through completion of the questionnaire, practising licence holders are provided with the recommended number of hours they should commit to continuing knowledge activities. PEO has decided that the maximum recommendation will be 30 hours. This will be reduced based on risk mitigation and quality assurance measures that are part of the licence holder’s practice environment. The tracker provides a dynamic metric of the effect of these measures on the recommended hours.

 

Online Ethics Module

Q:   Why do I need to complete the online ethics module?

A:   PEO licence holders, both practising and non-practising, need to complete the online ethics module to become reacquainted with their ethical obligations as described in the Professional Engineers Act and provide them with an understanding of how these obligations should be applied in real-life.

 

Q:   How long will the ethics module take to complete?

A:   The ethics module should take about 30 minutes to complete.

 

Q:   How often do I have to complete the ethics module?

A:   The ethics module must be completed annually. The content in the module will be changed annually to deal with different issues.

 

Q:   What subjects does the ethics module cover?

A:   The ethics module covers a variety of subjects including: the regulatory role of PEO; what licensure means; a review of legal and ethical obligations of licensure; how to identify and deal with ethical considerations in engineering practice; and professional misconduct.

 

Q:   Who is asked to complete the ethics module?

A:   All licence holders, including retired P.Engs and those who are not practising, are asked to complete the online ethics module to ensure that they are aware of their ethical obligations and how to govern themselves in compliance with the Professional Engineers Act and its regulation. Licence holders declaring non-practising status must understand what activities are foreclosed to them when they decide to adopt retired status.

 

Q: Is the ethics module a test I need to prepare for?

A: The ethics module is not a test and requires no study or preparation before completing it. It is an interactive video refresher to help both practising and non-practising licence holders get reacquainted with their ethical and professional obligations as described in the Professional Engineers Act (PEO’s regulatory role; legal and ethical obligations of licensure; professional misconduct; and a licence holder’s duty to report). You’ll also be reminded on how these obligations should be applied in real-life situations.

 

Continuing Knowledge

Q:   What is an acceptable continuing knowledge activity?

A:   Acceptable continuing knowledge activities fall into three broad categories: formal education, informal education and contribution to knowledge.

Formal education refers to any structured classroom-based learning provided by persons with expert knowledge of the subject matter. This includes college or university courses in technical subjects; courses for industrial sector certifications; training courses provided by manufacturers or suppliers; and similar activities. Courses must be completed in order to count towards the annual continuing knowledge requirement. Teaching or instructing such courses also counts.

Informal education refers to learning activities that take place outside the classroom. This includes self-study through reading of technical journals, books or manuals. It also includes attendance at conference technical sessions or trade-shows; or at standalone workshops or seminars. Structured discussions with peers such as mentoring sessions or study groups are also acceptable as long as the subject of the discussions is technical in nature.

Contributions to knowledge includes any activity that disseminates knowledge to other licence holders or establishes best practices for the profession. This includes the preparation and publication of papers on topics of interest to the engineering community; preparation and publication of articles in technical or trade journals or magazines; participation on committees developing codes and standards; participation on expert advisory panels; preparing and/or delivering a seminar or presentation to an audience of professional engineers, technologists, or related professions.

 

Q:   How do I determine how many or what continuing knowledge activities I should complete?

A:   A truly unique aspect of the PEAK program is that it allows professional engineers the opportunity to design their own knowledge plan to align with their area of practice and the available continuing knowledge opportunities. Under this self-directed initiative, each licence holder will:

  • complete the practice evaluation questionnaire to determine the recommended number of hours for annual supplemental knowledge (maximum of 30 hours annually);
  • determine his or her own needs, based on his or her own practice;
  • pursue opportunities that are most relevant to his or her practice; and
  • report what they have done to PEO.

 

Q:   Over what timeframe should I be completing my recommended number of continuing knowledge activity hours to report back to PEO?

A:     Practising licence holders are to asked to pursue continuing knowledge activities that occur during your licence period—from the date of your current licence renewal to shortly before your next renewal date the following year.

 

 

Q:   Does PEO recognize online courses?

A:   Yes. PEO is not concerned with how an individual learns but, rather, with what they learn. Any course that has content addressing at least one of the five core engineering competencies is acceptable. The core competencies are:

  • A – Apply engineering knowledge, methods and techniques
  • B – Use engineering tools, equipment or technology
  • C – Awareness of the risks and impacts of engineering work
  • D – Manage engineering activities
  • E – Communicate engineering information

 

Q:   Does attending manufacturer’s workshops and training sessions on their new products or technologies count as continuing knowledge activities?

A:   Yes, if the workshop training session deals with any of the core competencies given above.

 

Q:   Does PEO accredit continuing knowledge activities courses to ensure they have value?

A:   No. The value of a course depends on the needs of each licence holder. It is up to licence holders to develop a continuing knowledge plan of value to them.

 

Q:   Does PEO provide guidance and specific examples on what types of courses or activities count towards continuing knowledge activities?

A:   PEO provides resources for licence holders, including Frequently Asked Questions, guidelines, a video overview and information sessions.

 

Q:   Does PEO assist licence holders who find the knowledge declaration challenging?

A:   PEO provides resources to assist licence holders, including guidelines and information sessions.

 

Q:   Does PEO accept continuing knowledge activities completed in another province or with another regulator?

A:   Yes.

 

Q: Can continuing knowledge activities I already undertake to comply with requirements of a program from another provincial association, technical association, or my company count toward the PEAK program?

A: Yes, any continuing knowledge activity you undertake to comply with the program requirements of another provincial association (including OACETT), technical association or company will be accepted for the PEAK program.