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What is a Professional Engineer?

The practice of professional engineering is defined in Section 1 of the Professional Engineers Act. Professional engineering is:

  1. any act of planning, designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising (or the managing of any such act);
  2. that requires the application of engineering principles; and
  3. 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 by the association.

Professional engineers work to guarantee the public's safety and promote its interest where engineering matters are concerned. They must also ensure that provincial laws adequately and properly serve and protect the public, and participate in the establishment and maintenance of engineering standards while adhering to a code of ethics.

Like medical and legal professionals, professional engineers are licensed to be accountable to the public for their work. Their duty is to safeguard life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment where engineering is concerned. Professional engineers subscribe to a strict code of ethics and practice standards. The practice of the profession is regulated by Professional Engineers Ontario.

In Canada, the title "professional engineer" is restricted by law. In Ontario, only those individuals who have demonstrated that they possess the necessary qualifications and have been licensed by PEO can use the title, which is often abbreviated as "P.Eng."