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
Why do I need a Certificate of Authorization if I am not sealing drawings?
The Professional Engineers Act stipulates that an entity requires a Certificate of Authorization if it is providing engineering services to the public. These services may not necessarily involve the production of drawings. Professional engineers may provide advice about technology, review construction, perform health and safety audits, give opinions about mineral properties, or provide expert testimony. Though none of these activities involve the preparation of drawings, each is an act of providing engineering services and, therefore, the entity requires a Certificate of Authorization. However, if you provide engineering services you should ask yourself this question: why are you not sealing documents that you provide to a client or other external body? Section 53 of the Professional Engineers Act governs the requirement for sealing of documents. You are required to seal all drawings and other documents provided as part of engineering services done for an external entity, regardless of whether or not there is other legislation (such as the Building Code Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, or Regulation for Industrial Facilities) that specifically requires a engineer's seal. In order words, any document of an engineering nature prepared for a client or as part of the work done for a client (this includes drawings for custom equipment) must be sealed.
I provide engineering services to other companies; not to the public? Do I need a Certificate of Authorization?
"Public" does not mean public institutions or society in general; it means an entity (business, individual, government, charity) that is at an "arm's-length" relationship to the engineer and could rightly be called a client. If an employer utilizes engineers to provide engineering services within the employer's domain only, then the employer does not need a Certificate of Authorization. If however, the employer (government, manufacturer, consulting firm or engineer working as a sole proprietor) provides engineering services outside the employer's domain (i.e. to the public) then the employer requires a C of A.
Why do I need a Certificate of Authorization if I already have my P.Eng. licence?
Section 12 (2) of the Professional Engineers Act stipulates that every entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation) that offers or provides professional engineering services to the public requires a Certificate of Authorization. While the licence entitles an individual to practice as a professional engineer, the Certificate is required to provide PEO with a means for governing the activities of entities. A sole proprietorship is a business entity and is distinct from the individual practitioner.
I’d like to go into business on my own. What do I need to do?
Any entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation) that offers or provides professional engineering services to the public must have a Certificate of Authorization. This requirement is stipulated in Section 12(2) of the Professional Engineers Act.
Does PEO have some type of affinity agreement for reduced premiums with insurance companies providing professional liability insurance?
PEO does not have any arrangement with insurance companies for these products. Visit Group Benefits for information about affinity programs offered through Engineers Canada and the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.
I am a Certificate of Authorization holder. The Professional Engineers Act gives me the option to forego insurance as long as I disclose to my clients that I have none. Does this eliminate my risk of being sued?
Do I need professional liability insurance?
The Professional Engineers Act requires a Certificate of Authorization (C of A) holder to either have professional liability insurance or agree to compulsory disclosure. This is an undertaking to provide each client with a letter stating that the holder does not have insurance. The Act does provide an exemption for engineering businesses that provide engineering services that may involve pollution, nuclear, aviation or shipping hazards. However these firms must have insurance or provide compulsory disclosure for services provided in other than these named areas of practice. Normally employee engineers working for Certificate of Authorization holders that have professional liability insurance are covered by the employer's policy. Engineers working for these firms, especially if they are named on the C of A as taking responsibility for the engineering activities, should review their exposure to liability with the firm’s insurer. If you work for a Certificate of Authorization holding firm that does not have professional liability coverage you should investigate how a lawsuit against the firm might affect you. Other employee engineers should check with their employer's insurance company to see if they are covered for professional negligence or errors and omissions.
How do I obtain a C of A?
The initial application fee for a Certificate of Authorization is $904 (application $452 + annual fee $452, inclusive of taxes). Upon approval the Certificate of Authorization is renewable annually for $452.
If you have any questions about C of A requirements or would like an application form, please contact us.
What are the consequences of offering engineering services without a C of A?
If you operate without a C of A, you are contravening the Professional Engineers Act. Such contravention may result in PEO enforcing the provisions of Section 40 of the Act against you, which can lead to fines of up to $25,000 for a first offence and up to $50,000 for any subsequent offence. In addition, a complaint may be pursued through the association's discipline process against licensed members who operate without a C of A (see Section 72(g) of Regulation 941). PEO has guidelines and publications dealing with areas of interest to C of A holders.
What are the requirements for a C of A?
Section 47(1) of the Regulation 941 made under the Professional Engineers Act requires that an applicant for a C of A designate a PEO licence holder who is an employee or partner in the firm to assume professional responsibility for the services provided. Generally, C of A holders are required to carry professional liability insurance as laid out in the regulations under the Professional Engineers Act. In the absence of insurance, they are required to disclose to each and every client that they do not hold liability insurance, and obtain the client's written acknowledgement of this disclosure.