The PEAK program follows these six guiding principles as a quality assurance mechanism to reduce licence holders’ risks to the public associated with their provision of professional engineering services. The CPD program:
- Must be necessary to improve the regulation of the practice of professional engineering.
- Requirements must be relevant for practice.
- Must be pragmatic.
- Must recognize diversity of practitioners’ needs and resources.
- Requirements must be scalable and proportional to risk to the public.
- Must be effective.
The PEAK program includes three elements that apply to licence holders every year based on their practice status:
Practising licence holders: All three elements apply—the practice evaluation, ethics module and continuing knowledge declaration.
Non-practising licence holders: Only two elements apply—the practice evaluation and the ethics module.
The practice evaluation element is the first step in the PEAK program and a key step since the program accommodates licence holders differently based on their practice status. Here, licence holders are asked to self-declare their current practice status as “practising” or “non-practising.” A licence holder is “practising” when they are engaged in the practice of professional engineering.
Practising licence holders are then asked to complete a practice evaluation questionnaire on their engineering practice. The questionnaire is structured like an informal practice review and gauges the public risks and mitigation measures associated with the licence holders’ practice activities. Upon completing the questionnaire, licence holders are assigned personalized recommendations for a minimum number of hours for continuing knowledge activities to be completed during the 12-month licence period. Continuing knowledge activities must have learning content of a technical engineering nature that helps practising licence holders maintain or enhance their competence to practise professional engineering.
Non-practising licence holders are then asked to complete a non-practising survey on their non-practising circumstances and their expectations for a return to a practising status. Non-practising licence holders who return to practice should immediately update their practice status declaration and complete the PEAK program as a practising licence holder for that licence period.
The ethics module element is an interactive, online refresher designed to reacquaint PEO licence holders—practising and non-practising alike—with the statutory professional and ethical obligations associated with their professional practice activities, as described in Ontario’s Professional Engineers Act and its accompanying regulations.
The ethics modules present a variety of ethical and regulatory topics that include: the regulatory role of PEO; the professional responsibilities of the licence holder; the legal and ethical obligations of licensure; professional misconduct; conflict of interest; duty to report; the duties of non-practising licence holders; and use of the professional engineer’s seal. The module reminds licence holders how to apply these obligations to real-life situations. The module is not a test and does not require any preparation or study before completing it.
All licence holders are encouraged to complete one module for each 12-month licence period.
Continuing knowledge declaration
The continuing knowledge declaration element is the reporting component. Here, practising licence holders are asked to report their continuing knowledge development to PEO using a simple online form. Non-practising licence holders are exempt from this element of the PEAK program.
Continuing knowledge activities must have learning content of a technical engineering nature that helps practising licence holders maintain or enhance their competence to practise professional engineering. Practising licence holders will create their own learning plans.
PEAK describes three learning categories for continuing knowledge activities: formal education, informal education and contributions to knowledge. When licence holders submit their continuing knowledge reports, PEO asks them to indicate the category associated with the continuing knowledge activity being reported.
- The "formal education" category describes learning that involves the licence holder acquiring engineering knowledge. Here, the licence holder must be evaluated and pass requirements to confirm the practitioner’s understanding of the content. Examples include attending courses and certification programs.
- The "informal education" category describes learning that involves the licence holder acquiring engineering knowledge, but not evaluated to confirm understanding of the content. Examples include conducting self-directed study; reviewing technical documents; being mentored on technical knowledge; and attending presentations/seminars/webinars, workshops and technical engineering tours.
- The "contributions to knowledge" category describes learning that involves the licence holder disseminating and sharing technical engineering knowledge to the engineering community. Examples include developing engineering best practices for employers, regulators and technical bodies; presenting technical engineering content and best practices; and publishing technical engineering information in university publications, technical journals and engineering-related media.
PEO asks licence holders to report the time spent on continuing knowledge activities in 15-minute increments on their continuing knowledge declaration forms.
Licence holders who already complete learning activities for other programs—by employers, other regulators or technical associations—that align with the PEO description for continuing knowledge activities could consider reporting those learning activities for the PEAK program.
Important dates and timelines
Below is an infographic describing the yearly due dates and timelines for the three elements in the PEAK program for the typical 12-month licence period.
Every year, the practice evaluation element is due at the start of the licence period. Licence holders can start the element as early as the day when the licence fee notice is distributed to them for the licence period (60 days prior to the start of the licence period) and complete it by the day before the next licence fee renewal notice is distributed (61 days prior to the start of the next licence period).
Every year, the ethics module element is due at the start of the licence period. Licence holders can start the element as early as the day when the licence fee notice is distributed to them for the licence period (60 days prior to the start of the licence period) and complete it by the day before the next licence fee renewal notice is distributed (61 days prior to the start of the next licence period).
Every year, the continuing knowledge declaration element is due at the end of the licence period. Licence holders can start the element as early as the first day of the licence period, and no end date applies.