We provide resources to assist our stakeholders in understanding our regulatory role and how we protect the public interest.
As part of its regulatory mandate, PEO establishes, maintains and develops: standards of knowledge and skill; standards of practice for the profession; standards of professional ethics; and promotes public awareness of its role. The following are resources to assist PEO stakeholders--licence holders, applicants, and the public--in understanding their roles and responsibilities and the regulator’s work protecting the public interest.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when PEO receives a complaint involving engineering work?
PEO has the power to discipline professional engineers found guilty of professional misconduct. The association can also take action against unlicensed individuals who illegally describe themselves as engineers. Similarly, the association can prosecute companies or entities that illegally offer or provide engineering services to the public. PEO may hold a hearing, which works much like a court case: PEO is the prosecutor; the engineer is the defendant; the PEO Discipline Committee is judge and jury. If the Discipline Committee finds the engineer guilty, it imposes a penalty. The penalty might involve revocation or suspension of the license, payment of a fine and/or publishing of the licensee’s name in PEO’s official journal. Publishing of the licensee’s name is mandatory if the license is revoked or suspended.
I’ve been asked to do a review of another engineer's work. What are my obligations to that engineer?
Obligations of one engineer to another are described in the Code of Ethics, Section 77 of Regulation 941. Peer review is covered in subsection 77(7) (ii) which states that a practitioner shall "not accept an engagement to review the work of another practitioner for the same employer except with the knowledge of the other practitioner or except where the connection of the other practitioner with the work has been terminated". In other words, if the P. Eng. who did the work is still involved with the project, the reviewing engineer must inform the first engineer that his or her work is being reviewed. It is best to do this in writing. For more information, please see the guideline: Professional Engineers Reviewing Work Prepared by Another Professional Engineer.
I've just left a consulting firm that has downsized and changed owners. Should I keep any drawings and other documents and for how long? And what are my obligations to previous clients?
If you were not an owner of the consulting firm then you do not need to keep drawings or other documents. In fact, you should return those you do have to the firm or ask their permission if you want to keep some documents. Generally, since you were an employee, you do not have any contractual obligations to previous clients. For instance, you do not need to answer questions about ongoing or past projects. You can provide assistance if you wish and if it is compatible with legal and ethical obligations to your past employer. Your professional obligations to the client, however, continue even after leaving employment.
Does the iron ring make me an engineer?
No. Upon graduation, you may call yourself an engineering graduate, not an engineer.
The iron ring is associated with the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer and is administered to engineering students upon graduation at an Obligation Ceremony. PEO does not have any affiliation with the iron ring. You can find out more about the iron ring and how to obtain one by visiting www.ironring.ca.
What is the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE)?
The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) is a member-interest advocacy body whose mandate is to advance the professional and economic interests of professional engineers in Ontario, and to look after non-regulatory matters for the profession. OSPE was created as a legal entity in April 2000 with the support of PEO and the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, the arm of government with the responsibility for regulating engineering in this province.
OSPE seeks to:
- advance the professional and economic interests of professional engineers;
- raise awareness of the role of professional engineers;
- enhance the profession’s image;
- and act as a strong voice on behalf of professional engineers in Ontario.
You can find our more about OSPE on their website.
How can I be sure that someone is a professional engineer?
You can search for all licence holders, holders of the certificate of authorization and consulting engineers using PEO's directory.
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: 416-224-9528 ext.1444 or 1-800-339-3716 ext. 1444.
How do I engage a professional engineer (P.Eng.)?
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 employee engineer, the employer may find the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) Employer Salary Survey helpful. In addition to listing salaries by field of specialization, year of graduation and type of work, the surveys also provide details about other forms of compensation and about benefits.
The March/April 2001 issue of Engineering Dimensions was also devoted to this subject.
Why employ a professional engineer (P.Eng.)?
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.
Do you need to be licensed to work in the field of engineering in Ontario?
As with medicine and law, you require a licence to do certain engineering work within the province of Ontario. However, not everyone working in engineering requires a licence. Whether you require a licence depends on the type of engineering work you are doing, and the level of responsibility you have. The ability to practise engineering in Ontario is regulated by the Ontario Professional Engineers Act and its regulations, which outline who requires a licence, how to obtain a licence, and when a licence may be revoked. The Act is administered by Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), a self-governing organization that grants licences to qualified individuals, disciplines licence holders who are found guilty of incompetence or misconduct, and enforces compliance with the licensing requirements of the Act. You require a licence if:
- Your work requires you to design, compose, evaluate, advise, report, direct or supervise and
- The work will safeguard life, health, property or the public welfare and
- The work requires the application of engineering principles.
You are not required to be licensed if, for example:
Your work is strictly related to research, testing, or inspection; or
- There is no risk to life, health, property or the public welfare if your work is performed incorrectly; or
- The work is strictly scientific in nature.
- There are also other exceptions to licensure in the Act:
You do not need to be licensed to do professional engineering if a licensed Ontario professional engineer takes responsibility for your work.
You do not need a licence to design tools and dies.
Any question regarding the need for a licence in a particular situation should be directed to PEO at email@example.com.
Who can practice professional engineering?
In most situations only a professional engineer can practice professional engineering in Ontario. According to the Act "professional engineer" means a person who is granted a licence or a temporary licence by Professional Engineers Ontario. PEO can also issue a limited licence to an individual who, as a result of 10 or more years of specialized experience, has developed competence in a clearly defined area of professional engineering. Holders of limited licences are able to practice only within a narrowly defined area of professional engineering. Unlicenced individuals, such as technologists and technicians, are able to do any of the tasks normally reserved for professional engineers only if they are working under the supervision of a P.Eng.