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Working with a Professional Engineer

Why employ a professional engineer?
How to engage with a professional engineer
How to verify if someone is a professional engineer

Why employ a professional engineer?

Professional engineers are:

  • well educated, especially in applied sciences;
  • tested by their peers before they are licensed;
  • required to have at least five years of experience after graduation (a total of at least nine years of education and experience) before providing services directly to the public;
  • policed by their peers;
  • prepared to apply the best, up-to-date technology in an environmentally sustainable and cost-effective way to benefit society's evolving needs;
  • responsible for safeguarding life, health and public welfare; and
  • qualified to design and supervise the creation of many things today's society needs at work, rest and play.

Certain work must be completed or approved by a professional engineer, for example, engineering drawings, which require sign-off.

Ultimate responsibility for engineering work requires a professional engineer. While research, testing and drawing may be delegated to others, only the professional engineer can take responsibility for engineering work that affects public health and safety.

Professional engineers are qualified practitioners who can help you:

  • turn your ideas and concepts into successful working projects/products/services;
  • reduce your costs and save money;
  • protect the environment and public safety;
  • maximize productivity and opportunities; and
  • overcome or minimize limitations.

They can help you to incorporate your ideas into something of real value in the real world.

How to engage a professional engineer

Engineers may be engaged as consultants or as employees.

PEO's Guideline for the Selection of Engineering Services offers selection processes that can be used when choosing a professional engineer. The term "Consultant," or "Consulting Engineer," applied in connection with providing professional engineering services, requires that the person using the term be authorized to do so by PEO. 

When hiring an engineer, the employer may find the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) National Engineering Compensation Survey helpful. The survey assists employers with the development of effective compensation plans for their professional engineering employees and is continually updated to reflect trends in pay administration.

The March/April 2001 issue of Engineering Dimensions was also devoted to this subject.

How to verify if someone is a professional engineer

Verify if someone is a licence holder by searching our directories of practitioners.

If you have concerns about either the work of an engineer, or suspect that a person or a company is practicing engineering and may not be licensed, you can contact PEO's Enforcement hotline at: 416-840-1444 or 800-339-3716 ext. 1444 or enforcement@peo.on.ca