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.
Ontario professional engineers are part of a community of more than 87,500 PEO licence and certificate holders committed to enhancing the quality of life, safety and well-being in the province.
As Ontario’s engineering regulator, PEO relies heavily on its volunteers. More than 1,000 professional engineers, engineering interns and non-engineers volunteer their time each year on behalf of the association through their participation.
PEO's mandate, as described in the Professional Engineers Act, is to ensure that the public is protected and that individuals and companies providing engineering services uphold a strict code of professional ethics and conduct.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
What is the practice of professional engineering?
The practice of professional engineering is defined in section 1 of the Professional Engineers Act and comprises three tests. Professional engineering is:
- any act of designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising, or the managing of any of these acts
- wherein the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment is concerned, and
- that requires the application of engineering principles.
If what you do meets all three tests, you are practising professional engineering and must be licensed by the association.
The definition applies to all situations where this particular combination of intellectual activity, societal protection and methodology exists regardless of whether the position is in industry, government or consulting.
What is Professional Engineers Ontario?
Professional Engineers Ontario, or PEO, is the regulatory body that licenses professional engineers in Ontario. PEO sets standards for and regulates the practice of professional engineering in the province.
Under the Professional Engineers Act, PEO has the mandate to serve and protect the public interest where the practice of engineering is concerned. PEO enforces compliance with the Act so that only those with a licence may practice engineering or advertise their engineering services. The association also disciplines engineers and companies that fail to maintain the profession’s standards.
Professional Engineers Ontario fulfills the same role the College of Physicians and Surgeons does for physicians and the Law Society of Upper Canada for lawyers.
What is the Engineering Intern Training (EIT) program?
The EIT program provides guidance and assistance to engineering graduates as they acquire the 48 months of acceptable engineering work experience, including annual reviews of experience to ensure that an applicant is “on the right track” for licensing.
Benefits of the EIT program include:
- the opportunity to receive detailed, confidential, annual; work experience reviews;
- eligibility to participate in PEO’s Mentorship Program;
- access to Engineering Dimensions, the association’s official journal;
- opportunities to attend EIT seminars at PEO’s office or through sponsoring chapters;
- the opportunity to join a PEO chapter, attend meetings and network with professional colleagues;
- email notices of events or items of interest pertaining to your development into a licensed engineer;
- access to the Licence Holders’ only section of PEO’s website and the opportunity to participate in online discussions with other PEO members through the Discussion Forum; and
- the opportunity to join the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers and participate in their member-only services, such as insurance and investment plans, and online Career Centre.
As well, becoming an EIT demonstrates to employers that an applicant is serious about being licensed as a professional engineer.
To enroll in the EIT program, you must be an applicant for licensure – meaning you have met the academic requirements of licensure (e.g. graduated from a CEAB-accredited program). You can apply as soon as you graduate by filling out an application for licensure form.
Financial Credit Program (FCP): Graduates of CEAB-Accredited engineering programs and international engineering graduates (IEGs) with a bachelor of engineering or applied science degree may be able to participate in PEO’s Financial Credit Program. Under the program, eligible participants can have the cost of their application fee credited towards payment of their registration and initial P.Eng. licence fees once they have been approved for a licence. CEAB-accredited graduates who apply within six months of their degree conferral and IEGs who apply within six months of their date of receiving permanent residence status in Canada are eligible for the program.
May I do engineering work while my application is being considered?
Yes. You may do engineering work, provided a licensed professional engineer takes responsibility for your work. In Ontario, it is illegal to use the title “professional engineer” or any variation thereof as an occupational or business title if you are not licensed by PEO.
What are some examples of inadequate pre-graduation experience?
Sales or marketing jobs where you do not apply theory and/or engineering principles might not meet PEO’s experience requirement. A data entry job or simple programming or database manipulation, where you use a software package designed by someone else might not qualify if your work does not include engineering analysis and design.
Providing technical support for a software company while studying to become a civil engineer would likely not qualify as pre-graduation experience as it is not in your field of study unless you prove through your post-grad experience that you are practising in a field that combines the two streams.
When do I submit my Pre-graduation Experience Record to PEO?
Submit your Pre-graduation Experience Record at the time you apply for your P.Eng. licence. Do not wait until then to fill out the form, however. Fill out the form as soon as you have ended your work placement, so you can get it signed by your employer (and can accurately recall what exactly you worked on).