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
11. How does PEO recognize communications activities for the PEAK program?
Activities count towards your continuing knowledge hours when they are learning sessions with technical knowledge that maintain or update your competence in engineering. Activities dealing with other professional development skills—such as communications, project management, scheduling, leadership, equity, business management—generally do not count towards your continuing knowledge hours.
However, PEO recognizes learning sessions with content on the “communication of engineering information” as continuing knowledge activities when those activities reinforce or supplement knowledge of how to appropriately communicate acts of professional engineering in a competent and professional manner. These activities would involve an understanding of the engineering disciplines involved, the responsibilities of professional engineers, an understanding of codes and standards, and knowledge of best practices in engineering activities, and an understanding of the requirements for carrying out acts of professional engineering as per PEO guidelines and the Professional Engineers Act for Ontario.
12. How does PEO recognize health-and-safety activities for the PEAK program?
Activities count towards your continuing knowledge hours when they are structured learning sessions with technical knowledge that maintain or update your competence in engineering. While staying knowledgeable about most health and safety protocols—like training or being trained to work safely at heights, follow the workplace hazardous materials information system or conduct tests and field work for engineering purposes—would not align with the PEAK program, some continuing knowledge activities that involve health and safety issues would.
PEO recognizes learning sessions with content on “health and safety issues” as continuing knowledge activities when those activities reinforce or supplement knowledge of how to appropriately develop and manage engineering health and safety issues in a competent and professional manner. These activities would involve developing health and safety protocols and involve an understanding of unsafe situations, the technical engineering knowledge related to those situations, the responsibilities of professional engineers, and the best practices in health and safety issues and engineering. These activities could include the time spent to research these protocols, develop them, and present them for training purposes.
13. What do providers of continuing knowledge activities need to know about the PEAK program?
Providers of continuing knowledge activities are offered the following suggestions regarding the advertising of their learning activities in relation to PEAK:
PEAK encourages PEO practitioners to engage in continuous learning in the areas of technical engineering knowledge, statutory and regulatory knowledge, and engineering professionalism and ethics, and acquired across any available and affordable learning format.
PEAK is a uniquely practitioner-driven program where practitioners decide whether a learning activity is adequate for their continuing competence needs as well as their reporting needs for PEAK. This involves the practitioner:
Self-identifying which activity content to pursue and which activity providers to seek out.
Completing the activities.
Reporting their completed activities to PEO through an online PEAK reporting form, and marking the true time they spent on the activities (1 hour spent is 1 hour marked).
PEAK assigns to practising practitioners a CPD recommendation of up to 30 hours towards continuing knowledge activities for each yearly licence period.
PEO does not endorse any provider of continuing knowledge activities; nor does PEO validate or accredit any continuing knowledge activity. However, providers may advertise their events as offering technical or regulatory knowledge that participating practitioners may consider for their continuing professional development (CPD) needs, at the practitioner’s discretion, depending on the rules for the CPD program they are completing. Also, providers may supply badges and certificates of attendance or completion but these are not required for PEAK. Having said that, providers should never suggest that PEO or PEAK has endorsed, accredited or evaluated any part of the learning activities being provided or advertisements for the learning activities.
1. What is the PEAK program?
The Practice Evaluation and Knowledge (PEAK) program is an initiative that was created by PEO—the provincial engineering regulator—with two parts: a data collector of practice details on licence holders, and a continuing professional development (CPD) reporting program.
The program applies to all PEO professional engineers and holders of limited licences (practising and non-practising alike, including retirees) as they pay their PEO licence fee annually since 2017.
2. What is the purpose of the PEAK program?
The PEAK program functions as another layer of protection of the public interest with respect to the practice of professional engineering in Ontario. PEAK achieves this purpose in the following ways:
PEAK applies to holders of a professional engineer or limited licence.
PEAK publishes program participation details for each licence holder, and these details are updated daily and reset yearly:
Completion status for each PEAK element- Practice evaluation questionnaire (for practising licence holders only).
- Ethics module.
- Continuing knowledge declaration (for practising licence holders only).
PEAK equips PEO with regulatory information to better serve as the provincial engineering regulator through the creation of evidence-based policies. Specifically, PEO learns which licence holders are actively engaged in the practice of professional engineering, how they perform their practice activities, and how they stay current and competent in their practice areas.
3. Who benefits from the PEAK program?
The PEAK program is designed to benefit the Ontario public. It operates as a platform for PEO and its licence holders to show their commitment to safeguarding the public interest. Quality assurances come by way of PEO publishing which licence holders are engaged with the regulator through their voluntary participation in the PEAK program, and publishing which practising licence holders engage in CPD each year to stay current and competent in their engineering practice areas and take the extra step to report the CPD to PEO.
PEAK allows licence holders to publicize the fact that they engage in CPD each year to stay current and competent in their engineering practice areas and take the extra step to report the CPD to PEO. PEAK also allows employers to publicize this fact about their employee engineers.
4. Is the PEAK program mandatory?
The PEAK program is a voluntary (optional) initiative by PEO—the provincial engineering regulator—that integrates data collection with continuing professional development (CPD) strategy. PEAK operates as an additional means by which PEO serves and protects the public interest with respect to the practice of professional engineering in Ontario.
PEAK is based on the voluntary participation of PEO licence holders who choose whether to complete the program at their professional discretion without impact to their ability to hold their PEO licence. At this time, licence holders do not have to complete the PEAK program as part of the annual licence fee payment process; but their PEAK completion statuses are published on PEO’s online directory of practitioners. Completion statuses are published for the current licence period, are updated daily, and reset every licence period. However, historical PEAK completions statuses for previous licence periods are not available to the public.
Subsequent to the March 2017 launch of the PEAK program, an update to Section 7.(1).27 of the Professional Engineers Act for Ontario articulates PEO's additional authority to make regulations governing the continuing education of licence holders and sanctions for non-compliance. However, at that time no changes existed regarding PEO's operational policies with respect to continuing education that make any part of the PEAK program mandatory or impose sanctions onto non-compliant licence holders.
Ontario is the lone Canadian jurisdiction where the regulator operates a voluntary CPD program for its engineers. Presently, Canadian engineering regulators now operate mandatory CPD programs across 12 of the 13 provinces and territories since the engineering regulator in British Columbia announced their mandatory program would take effect as of July 1, 2021.
A mandatory CPD program for Ontario engineers has been recommended in the 2019 verdict from the coroner's inquest into the death of Scott Johnson, the 2019 external report on PEO’s regulatory performance, the 2014 commissioner's report from the Elliot Lake inquiry and the 2013 report from the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) on CPD for Ontario engineers.
UPDATE (February 26, 2021) – PEAK continues to be optional for licence holders. However, PEO is moving forward with the creation of a mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) program for its licence holders as soon as any required legislative and operational tasks have been completed. This decision, which builds on the existing, voluntary CPD program, is consistent with PEO’s continuous improvement as a modern regulator.
Further details on this initiative, including timing, program elements and requirements will be provided as information become available.
5. How do I complete the PEAK program?
To access the PEAK program anytime, licence holders must log in to their PEO portal account and select the “PEAK” menu to start. Here, they could update their practice status, change other practice-related information and responses, complete the ethics module, and report their continuing knowledge hours for the year. Licence holders will see an overview chart summarizing the PEAK elements and infographic illustrating the timelines and due dates every year. Licence holder updates will be posted online one business day after licence holders complete their PEAK program elements because the PEO system is updated overnight. PEAK completion statuses are posted on the publicly-visible PEO directory of practitioners, updated daily, and reset every licence period.
Here is an infographic describing the yearly due dates and timelines for the three (3) elements in the program for the typical 12-month licence period:
Here is an infographic describing the two (2) routes available to licence holders through the PEAK program based on their practice status:
6. What is my Licence Status versus my Practising Status?
PEO “licence status” describes whether the individual holds PEO permission to engage in the practice of professional engineering in or for parties in Ontario, and this status will always be accompanied by any PEO-applied terms, conditions and limitations associated with that permission to practise.
PEO “practising status” describes the individual’s self-declaration to PEO whether they are actively engaged (even on a part-time basis) in the practice of professional engineering in or for parties in Ontario. The three options for practice status are Undeclared, Practising and Non-practising.
Refer to the PEO glossary of directory terms to learn more about licence status and practice status.
7. Am I in a practising or non-practising situation?
The Professional Engineers Act for Ontario describes a 3-part definition of the practice of professional engineering. The Act identifies nine actions in its description of professional engineering: managing professional engineering activities, or carrying out engineering activities such as the planning, designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising of professional engineering activities. Regulators in other jurisdictions have their own legislations and may define the practice of professional engineering differently.
You are a PEO licence holder in a “practising” situation in Ontario when you hold a “current” PEO licence, you are actively satisfying the 3-part definition for professional practice and your professional practice activities—including work, volunteer and pro bono projects—are carried out, or provided to parties, in Ontario. Licence holders who are temporarily unemployed and intend to practise as soon as they secure employment are in a practising situation.
You are a PEO licence holder in a “non-practising” situation in Ontario when you hold a “current” PEO licence, but you are not actively satisfying the 3-part definition for professional practice. In other words, you are not actively engaged in the practice of professional engineering in Ontario, and your professional practice activities—including work, volunteer and pro bono projects—are not carried out, or provided to parties, in Ontario. Situations where you would be non-practising include being retired (no part-time practice), on leave (including medical, parental, family responsibility, study), unemployed (and not intending to practise soon), employed in the engineering sector in a position where you do not actively practise engineering, or resident outside Ontario and not actively practising professional engineering for clients in Ontario. Also, you are automatically a non-practising PEO licence holder while you are registered into PEO’s fee remission program.
You could change your PEO practice status if your Ontario engineering activities require it. However, you cannot change your practice status while a PEO condition applies to your licence, like non-practising terms for fee remission registrants.
The enforcement advisory team at PEO is available to assist you to determine your practice status at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (416) 224-1100 and (800) 339-3716 at extension 1444. Topics would include questions or reporting on allowable job titles, questions or reporting on the practice of professional engineering, consent to use ‘engineer’ or ‘engineering’ in a business name, and Registrar’s certificates.