File a Report
If you have concerns about either the work of an engineer, or suspect that a person or a company is practising engineering and may not be licensed, you can contact PEO's Enforcement hotline: 416-224-1100 Ext. 1444 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sections 39 and 40 of the Professional Engineers Act give PEO the authority to take enforcement action. Section 40(1) sets maximum fines for individuals and firms practising without the necessary licences (P.Eng., and/or C of A). These fines are $25,000 for a first offence and $50,000 for each subsequent offence. Section 40(2) authorizes fines of up to $10,000 for a first offence and $25,000 for each subsequent offence, for people who:
- use the title "professional engineer" or an abbreviation or variation as an occupational designation;
- use a term, title or description that will lead to the belief that the person may engage in the practice of professional engineering; or
- use a seal that will lead to the belief that the person is a professional engineer.
- Section 40(3) states similar requirements for those entities that do not have a C of A.
When a potential enforcement matter is brought to PEO's attention, staff investigates and takes appropriate action. PEO also takes proactive measures to address unlicensed activity. In the past this included checking listings in Yellow Page directories, and classified ads in major daily newspapers, to ensure that the use of “engineer” and “engineering” was compliant with the requirements under the Act.
With the advent of corporate websites, job posting websites and social media, proactive measures have been adapted accordingly:
Social media (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) – Review of individual and corporate profiles for use of “engineer” or “engineering” and description of services or activities that fall within the practice of professional engineering. When a noncompliant reference is found, PEO contacts the profile owner to request a correction.
Job boards (e.g., Indeed, Workopolis, Monster) – Review of postings for “engineer” positions to ensure that the title is appropriate for the job duties and indicate the requirement for a P.Eng. licence as applicable. PEO will contact the owners of noncompliant postings to inform them of correct use of title and when a licence is required for the position.
Commercial sites (e.g., Kijiji, Craig’s List) – Review of posted ads offering “engineering services” or services that fall within the practice of professional engineering. PEO will verify that the person or company holds a valid certificate of authorization, and contact any noncompliant advertiser to correct their posted ad.
Business names – Review of corporate announcements and searches of business name registrations for Ontario and Canadian corporations based in Ontario to ensure the use of “engineer” or “engineering” in the respective business name is authorized by PEO. Noncompliant entities are contacted by PEO to get a letter of permission or to amend their business name, and may have their business name registration challenged.
Software engineering and misleading certifications
Some software developers refer to themselves as "software engineers" and to their work as "software engineering", even though they have never studied engineering and are not licensed by PEO. PEO believes this is a problem because it misleads the public into thinking they are licensed and accountable to the regulator for the success and safety of their work.
PEO has taken action against the use of the term "engineer" by several software companies. PEO negotiated with Banyan Systems to revise its training materials to replace the term "Certified Banyan Engineer" with "CBE". PEO also requested that Microsoft Canada Inc., replace the terms "Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer" and "Microsoft Certified Professional Systems Engineer" with alternate terms that do not use the word "engineer", to avoid violating the Professional Engineers Act and trademark legislation.
On July 25, 2002 Microsoft Canada announced that they will continue to use the term 'engineer' as part of the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) designation.
For more information about software engineering and PEO licensure, please see “Licensing as a professional engineer: Answers to FAQs for software practitioners”
Contact us about Enforcement
Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
40 Sheppard Avenue West, Suite 101
Toronto, ON, M2N 6K9