We provide resources to assist our stakeholders in understanding our regulatory role and how we protect the public interest.
As part of its regulatory mandate, PEO establishes, maintains and develops: standards of knowledge and skill; standards of practice for the profession; standards of professional ethics; and promotes public awareness of its role. The following are resources to assist PEO stakeholders--licence holders, applicants, and the public--in understanding their roles and responsibilities and the regulator’s work protecting the public interest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a post-graduate degree such as a Master’s Degree count towards the practical experience requirement?
Completing of a post-graduate degree in engineering, in the same or reasonably similar discipline of engineering as your Bachelor’s, normally results in 12 months of credit towards the required 48 months of experience. You will not receive credit for studies in areas outside of engineering (e.g. business administration).
A post-graduate student may also get additional experience credit if the student works in conjunction with industry sponsorship, is directly supervised by a P.Eng. at the sponsoring company and the thesis research work has a distinct, and imminent practical application meeting PEO’s criteria. This work is not equivalent to industrial experience and is assessed separately.
The total experience credit cannot exceed the time spent to complete the post-graduate degree.
What about my pre-graduation experience?
PEO considers experience gained before graduation when assessing the quality of the required four years of satisfactory engineering experience.
PEO may allow for up to 12 months for pre-graduation experience toward the 48 months of minimum acceptable engineering experience requirement.
To be eligible, the pre-graduation experience must:
- be acceptable engineering experience, based on the five quality-based criteria;
- have been obtained after you have completed at least 50% of your courses; and
- be seen as a stepping stone to your professional development.
Each work-term must be documented and your supervisor must sign the documentation, which you will submit with your Application for Licence when you are ready to apply. PEO recognizes that pre-grad experience is not likely to be at the same level of intensity and responsibility as post-grad experience, therefore the acceptability feature is somewhat lighter than what is expected after graduation. However, PEO does expect to see that the pre-grad experience is a learning tool and will have aided in progressing the applicant’s understanding of the professional engineering working environment.
Does my work experience have to include all five quality-based criteria?
PEO does not expect that all of your jobs will provide experience in all five of the criteria. Your experience is taken as a whole and depends on the work you do. Sometimes, you may do work that satisfies only three categories, other times work that satisfies all five. There is one exception: as mentioned earlier, the most important of the criteria is “Application of Theory”. It clearly separates out the jobs that anyone can do from jobs that require the knowledge of someone who has studied engineering. Therefore, in all cases, you should be in a position to demonstrate that this was an integral part of your work. In considering the eligibility of experience for licensing, PEO must err on the side of caution, in the public interest. Therefore, work experience that is not clearly professional engineering-related might be given only partial credit or entirely excluded from consideration.
What kind of engineering work experience is required to obtain a P.Eng. licence?
PEO evaluates each applicant’s engineering experience against five, quality-based criteria:
Application of Theory - This is the most important criteria since it shows that the work you are doing could not be done by a person who had not studied engineering. It indicates that you are having an opportunity to use the engineering principles that you learned at university. To be considered for licensing, your experience must include meaningful participation in at least one aspect of the following applications of theory:
- design and synthesis
- testing methods
- implementation methods
- We expect that you can communicate to us which engineering principle you have used in any of the above areas and why it is applicable under the circumstances.
Practical Experience - Practical experience provides applicants with an appreciation of the fundamental roles of function, time, cost, reliability, reparability, safety and environmental impact in their work. Practical experience should include such aspects as:
- function of components as part of a larger system;
- opportunities to experience and understand the limitations of practical engineering and related human systems in achieving desired goals;
- opportunities to experience the significance of time in the engineering process;
- opportunities to acquire knowledge and understanding of codes, standards, regulations and laws that govern applicable engineering activities.
- ‘Opportunities’ mentioned above means that you have been given experience in these areas, not just observed or read manuals. Having an understanding of the codes and standards means that you know how and why they were developed and can explain this to us when asked.
Management of Engineering - Management of engineering projects includes supervising staff, managing projects, being exposed generally to an engineering business environment, and managing technology from a societal perspective. Acceptable management components involve:
- project control
- risk assessment
This criteria is one that is used to identify progress. Usually, new grads are given very little experience in this area; however, as they acquire more experience, they should be given more and more responsibilities in each component.
Communication Skills - An opportunity to develop communication skills is an important experience requirement. This applies to communication in all areas of the work environment, including communication with supervisors, co-workers, government regulators, clients and the general public. For an applicant’s experience in this area to be acceptable, the applicant should have regular opportunities to participate in:
- preparing written work;
- making oral reports or presentations;
- making presentations to the general public.
Social Implications of Engineering - The social implications of engineering are an important aspect of engineering practice. A professional engineering work environment is one that heightens an applicant’s awareness of any social consequences, both positive and negative, of an engineering activity. While not every project or activity will have direct or immediate social consequences, an applicant’s work experience should nevertheless, instill an awareness of the:
- value or benefits of engineering works to the public;
- relationship between engineering activity and the public at large;
- safeguards in place to protect employees and the public and to mitigate adverse impacts; and
- significant role of regulatory agencies in the practice of engineering.
Experience in this area should foster an awareness of an engineer’s professional responsibility to guard against conditions dangerous or threatening to life, limb, property, or the environment, and to call such conditions to the attention of those responsible. This is not limited to the immediate work environment but should extend to the end users of the engineering work.
Are there any exemptions?
You may be credited with 12 months of experience if you have a postgraduate engineering degree or degrees. Please note that this experience credit cannot replace the requirement for 12 months of engineering experience in a Canadian jurisdiction under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer.
When can I apply for my licence?
You do not have to wait to acquire your work experience before you apply for your licence. Application directly after graduation and registration in the association's Engineering Intern program (EIT) is the next phase in your transition from engineering student through to licensed professional. The EIT program provides annual reviews and guidance on the quality of experience you are receiving. Enrolment can also connect you with the engineering community through publications and Chapter membership.
For details on the EIT program, email email@example.com or call (416) 224-1100.
Do you need to be licensed to work in the field of engineering in Ontario?
As with medicine and law, you require a licence to do certain engineering work within the province of Ontario. However, not everyone working in engineering requires a licence. Whether you require a licence depends on the type of engineering work you are doing, and the level of responsibility you have. The ability to practise engineering in Ontario is regulated by the Ontario Professional Engineers Act and its regulations, which outline who requires a licence, how to obtain a licence, and when a licence may be revoked. The Act is administered by Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), a self-governing organization that grants licences to qualified individuals, disciplines licence holders who are found guilty of incompetence or misconduct, and enforces compliance with the licensing requirements of the Act. You require a licence if:
- Your work requires you to design, compose, evaluate, advise, report, direct or supervise; and
- The work will safeguard life, health, property or the public welfare; and
- The work requires the application of engineering principles.
You are not required to be licensed if, for example:
- Your work is strictly related to research, testing, or inspection; or
- There is no risk to life, health, property or the public welfare if your work is performed incorrectly; or
- The work is strictly scientific in nature.
There are also other exceptions to licensure in the Act:
- You do not need to be licensed to do professional engineering if a licensed Ontario professional engineer takes responsibility for your work.
- You do not need a licence to design tools and dies.
Any question regarding the need for a licence in a particular situation should be directed to PEO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After graduation, can I call myself an engineer?
No. Legally speaking, you are an engineering graduate, not an engineer. Only holders of a P.Eng. license are legally permitted to use the title “P.Eng.” or the term “engineer” in their job title, or to use any other term, title or description that may lead to the belief that they are authorized to practice professional engineering. An engineering education is the first step to earning your license and eventually having the right to call yourself an engineer, but you may only use the term “engineer” in your job title once you have P.Eng. licence.
What is “professional engineering”?
The practice of professional engineering is defined in section 1 of the Professional Engineers Act and comprises three tests. Professional engineering is:
- any act of designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising, or the managing of any of these acts
- wherein the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment is concerned, and
- that requires the application of engineering principles.
If what you do meets all three tests, you are practising professional engineering and must be licensed by the association.
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.
Why should I become a P.Eng.?
If you are going to be responsible for work that is defined as professional engineering according to the Professional Engineers Act, a P.Eng. licence may be required by law.
Becoming licensed gives you the right to use “P.Eng.” after your name and “engineer” in your job title. Under the Professional Engineers Act, you may only use “engineer” in your job title if you hold a P.Eng. licence.
The P.Eng. licence also demonstrates that you have met a rigorous educational standard, have through a demanding, hands-on internship process, and are obliged to adhere to a strict code of ethics that puts the public interest first. All of these are valued within the engineering working community and society at large, awarding you credibility and recognition.
Licensing also puts you within the professional membership community of the other 75,000 licensed professional engineers organized across the province in 36 PEO chapters.