The first law related to professional engineering in Ontario was created in 1922 and allowed for the creation of a voluntary association to oversee registration of engineers. The Act of 1922 was "open", meaning that membership in the association was not mandatory for those practising engineering.
In Ontario, regulation of engineering practice dates to 1937, when the Professional Engineers Act was amended and the engineering profession was "closed" to non-qualified individuals; that is, licensure was made mandatory for anyone practising professional engineering. The provincial government determined that it would be in the public interest to restrict the practice of engineering to those who were qualified, and the right to practise was "closed" to those not licensed by PEO as a result of the failures of bridges and buildings, which had been designed by unskilled individuals.
The Professional Engineers Act was amended in 1946, 1949, 1960, 1969, 1984, 2010 and 2017. Each amendment strengthened PEO's ability to regulate professional engineering practice, by, among others:
expanding the scope of professional engineering to encompass modern developments, including different classes of licensure; enabling PEO to pass regulations relating to a Code of Ethics, professional conduct, negligence and incompetence, and detailing sanctions for incompetence and professional misconduct; regulating engineering partnerships and corporations; recognizing the need to grant licences to practise in Ontario to those living outside the province; and
defining a formal complaints procedure.
Regulation 941/90 of the Act
Regulation 941 of the Professional Engineers Act, amended to O.Reg. 71/15, is a regulation made to provide additional details and guidance for implementation of the Act. For example, the Regulation prescribes the process to be followed when electing professional engineers to Council. With respect to professional practice, the Regulation prescribes a Code of Ethics, defines incompetence and professional misconduct, addresses the requirement for practitioners to report unsafe situations and unethical practices, and states that all licence holders shall have a seal and describes its use.
Regulation 260/08 of the Act
Regulation 260 of the Professional Engineers Act establishes performance standards for professional engineers, initially relating to general review of construction of a building as provided for in the building code and to demolition. It was expanded in 2014 to include standards for design of certain buildings, engineering evaluation reports under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, and environmental site assessments. It was further revised in 2016 to reference PEO’s Practice Standard for Review of Tower Cranes as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Professional Engineers Act
O. Reg. 941/90, made under the Professional Engineers Act
O. Reg. 260/08, made under the Professional Engineers Act
Changes to the Professional Engineers Act and Regulations
2017 - Professional Engineers Act Amended
On December 14, 2017, the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Bill 177) passed third reading in the legislature and received Royal Assent from the lieutenant governor. Schedule 34 of this act contains amendments to the Professional Engineers Act designed to improve public safety and transparency related to the practice of engineering in Ontario. These changes also address issues raised by the June 2012 Algo Centre Mall Collapse and the ensuing Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry.
2015 - Regulation 941 Amended
On April 2, 2015, long-awaited amendments to Regulation 941/90 of the Professional Engineers Act, intended to strengthen regulation of the profession by PEO, were filed by the Registrar of Regulations for Ontario. Several of these amendments became effective on their filing. Others will become effective on July 1, 2015, when corresponding pending amendments to the Professional Engineers Act will be proclaimed.
2012 - Additional Act Changes Proclaimed, Regulation 941 Amended
On August 15, 2012, some of the 2010 amendments to the Professional Engineers Act that were awaiting proclamation of an effective date by the Lieutenant Governor came into effect. In addition, a related change to Regulation 941 also became effective.
2010 - Professional Engineers Act Amended
On October 21, 2010, the Open for Business Act, 2010 passed third reading in the Ontario legislation. It received Royal Assent and was enacted on October 25. The act amends over 50 pieces of legislation, including the Professional Engineers Act. About two-thirds of the changes to PEO’s act were effective on October 25. The remainder will be effective on a future date when proclaimed by the lieutenant governor.
Also enacted on October 25 was the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010, which made two, amendments to the Professional Engineers Act, which will be effective on a future date when proclaimed by the lieutenant governor.