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Offering Services to the Public

In Ontario, professional engineers who provide engineering services directly to the public must have a Certificate of Authorization. This certificate is issued to individuals or firms and the professional engineers on the certificate require at least five years of relevant experience after the conferral of the engineering degree or the completion of an equivalent engineering education. Individuals and firms holding PEO Certificates of Authorization must adhere to the professional liability insurance regulations required by the Professional Engineers Act.

The term "providing professional engineering services to the public" is used in conjunction with two specific regulatory issues mentioned in the Professional Engineers Act: the sealing of engineering documents and the need for a Certificate of Authorization. A P.Eng. is providing professional engineering services when s/he undertakes any of the activities considered to be within the practice of professional engineering for the benefit of an employer or 'the public'. For the purposes of all regulatory directives regarding engineering practice 'the public' is considered to be anyone other than him/herself or the professional engineer's employer. Therefore, a P.Eng. is providing professional engineering services to the public when the work is done for the benefit of an individual, corporation, government or other entity that is not the engineer's employer.

In addition to the licensing of individuals to practise engineering, O. Reg. 941/90 provides for the conferring of the designation of consulting engineer on professional engineers who fulfill the required qualifications. Only those individuals and firms authorized by PEO to use the designation may call themselves consulting engineers.

A practitioner does not need to be a consulting engineer to engage in an engineering business. A certification of authorization is required for any business, including a sole practitioner, that provides or offers engineering services to the public [see Section 12(2)].

The association controls the use of the term consulting engineer by individual practitioners (section 56, O. Reg. 941) and the use of consulting engineers (or a variation thereof) by engineering firms (section 68, O. Reg. 941/90). To use either term, the practitioner or firm must obtain permission from PEO Council.