What is a Professional Engineer?
The practice of professional engineering is defined in Section 1 of the Professional Engineers Act. Professional engineering is:
any act of planning, designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising (or the managing of any such act);
that requires the application of engineering principles; and
concerns the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment, or the managing of any such act.
If what you do meets all three of these tests, then you are practising professional engineering and must be licensed.
Professional Engineering in Canada
In Canada, the professional engineer (P.Eng.) designation represents the highest standards of engineering knowledge, experience and professionalism in the country.
Individuals may only call themselves a professional engineer, or a P.Eng., or use a similar title that may lead to the belief that they are qualified to practise professional engineering, if they possess a P.Eng. licence.
To become a P.Eng. in Canada, you must be licensed in the provinces/territories in which you are employed.
Obtaining a Licence in Ontario
To take responsibility for professional engineering work in Ontario, an individual must be licensed by PEO.
For more information on the P.Eng. licensing process, visit Become P.Eng. / Requirements for Licensure.
People or companies may only offer or provide engineering services to the public if they hold a Certificate of Authorization from PEO.
A limited licence is issued to an individual who, as a result of at least eight years of specialized experience, has developed competence in a certain area of professional engineering.
A temporary licence is issued on a project and discipline basis for a maximum period of twelve months from approval. However, only one Certificate of Authorization is required.
A provisional licence may be issued to a P.Eng. licence applicant who has satisfied all of PEO’s licensing requirements except for the minimum 12 months of verifiable and acceptable engineering experience in Canada, under the supervision of a professional engineer licensed in the province/territory in which the work was performed.
Value of Licensure
PEO's licensure process ensures licence holders’ engineering practices are technically competent, based on sound professional ethics and adhere to standards of practice that are the hallmark of professional engineering.
Those who become licensed indicate that they are committed to safeguarding the public while adhering to a Code of Ethics; that they're committed to engineering excellence; that they have the right skills, education and attitude; and that they're a responsible professional with proven problem solving abilities.
Path to Licensure
More than 200 engineering programs offered at 35 Canadian universities–nearly half of which are in Ontario–have met the demanding standards set by the profession and been accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB). Graduation from one of these nationally accredited programs means you have earned the academic qualifications required to apply for a licence as a P.Eng. with any of the 12 provincial and territorial engineering licensing bodies.
With graduation from a Canadian engineering program, comes a unique and memorable event: the Iron Ring ceremony. A tradition since 1925, the ring is worn on the little finger of the working hand to symbolize the pride engineers have in their profession and to remind them of their obligation to live by a high standard of professional conduct.
Although the iron ring represents an enormous achievement, it does not make the wearer an engineer. Graduation is just the first step to obtaining the licence and becoming a professional engineer.