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
What is the penalty for misuse of a seal?
Anyone who illegally uses an engineering seal may be found guilty of an offence under Section 40 of the Act and may be fined up to a maximum of $10,000 for a first offence, and $25,000 for any subsequent offence. Police may also lay fraud or forgery charges. These offences are usually carried out by non-engineers without the knowledge or consent of the engineer in question. This is why engineers should store their seal in a secure place.
I am moving out of Ontario and do not intend to maintain my PEO licence. Can I keep my seal?
The seal is the property of Professional Engineers Ontario and must be returned when one leaves the association.
Does sealing a document increase an engineer's civil liability?
According to lawyer William Black of McCarthy Tetrault, the "signing or sealing of documents by engineers ... has absolutely nothing to do with the question of liability for negligence. Engineers are liable because they prepared the drawings or because they supervised or approved them, and not because they signed or sealed them." Nevertheless, the seal is important because it implies a commitment to the standards of the profession and signifies to the public that a particular P.Eng. has accepted professional responsibility for the document. Should any errors be found, the engineer who seals the document is answerable to PEO, their client and any agency relying on them.
What is current PEO policy with respect to the sealing of electronic drawings? Can I scan a P.Eng. seal and signature and place it on an electronic drawing?
PEO policy on matters related to electronic documents is provided in the Guideline for the Use of a Professional Engineer’s Seal. Professional engineers are allowed to scan or otherwise create electronic facsimiles of their seals and signatures and apply these to electronic documents. Professional engineers who do so should consider use of appropriate security measures, since an electronic drawing with a seal and signature could be changed without the engineer's knowledge and a third party would still expect that the engineer is responsible for the entire content of the document.
How should I handle engineering drawings for which I'm responsible that include changes given to me by a third party not under my direction?
Known as " as-built drawings," these should not be sealed. Seals should be applied only in those cases where you or your delegate have visited the site, reviewed the project during construction, and have verified every change in detail. The changes must be clearly marked on the drawings and a note referencing the original sealed drawings should be attached. These documents are referred to as “record drawings” to distinguish them from “as-built drawings”. Record drawings verified in detail by the engineer and issued to a third party must be sealed.
What should be included in the seal?
The engineer's signature and the date the document was sealed, hand written within or beside the stamp, must always be included. Initials alone are not acceptable.
Can the seal be used in logos, advertising or on business cards?
No. PEO members are not permitted to use, or refer to, their professional seals in company logos, advertising or other promotional materials.
Can I use my PEO seal to seal Statutory Declarations and other legal documents?
Certain types of legal documents are required to be sealed. However, the professional engineer's seal is not appropriate for these purposes. Contracts and other legal business documents are sealed with a corporate seal if the business entity is a corporation. If not, signatures suffice. Professional seals are not to be used for this purpose. Certain documents, such as statutory declarations, must be sealed by a Commissioner for taking affidavits or a Notary Public in order to be valid. A Commissioner for taking affidavits is a person, such as a lawyer, MPP, municipal official or court official who is authorized to administer oaths or take affidavits. Notaries public are regulated by the Notaries Act. Persons, other than barristers and solicitors, wishing to be appointed as notaries must have their qualifications examined by a Superior Court judge. Only persons certified by a judge will be considered for the position and, if selected, are appointed by the Attorney General. Passport applications, birth certificate applications and other documents that identify professional engineers as suitable guarantors require only the guarantor's signature followed by the "P.Eng." designation.
What documents should not be sealed?
Draft or uncompleted documents and documents of a non-engineering nature (business correspondence, sales brochures, passport and birth certificate applications, etc.) should not be sealed. Generally, preliminary documents should be not be sealed. However in some cases, such as when a client wishes to proceed with a portion of the work before the final drawings have been completed, this may be necessary. An example would be where an owner wants to commence construction of a building's foundation and obtains a permit limited to this work. In such cases, the design engineer must be careful when sealing the foundation part of the work. The engineer should try to limit the extent to which their seal is to be relied upon, and the extent to which they take responsibility for the content of the work. One way to do this would be by marking the documents "preliminary" and/or "not for construction," to indicate that construction can't proceed without further written approval of the design engineer.
What kinds of documents are supposed to be sealed?
Any final documents of an engineering nature such as drawings, specifications, reports, studies, etc., should be sealed. Ideally, all final drawings within an engineering branch should be signed and sealed by the design engineer for that branch and the approving or supervising engineer, but if only one signature and seal is used, it should be that of the approving engineer. Final drawings that cross disciplines should be sealed by each engineer in charge of the respective branches and the approving one. Final specifications prepared by the approving engineer must be sealed on the cover of the bound document. Because of the risk of sealed originals being copied and distributed without the engineer's knowledge, seals should not be applied to original master documents, only to copies. Drawings provided solely for your employer's use within the employer's domain do not need to be sealed (though if the work involves the practice of professional engineering it would have to be done by a P.Eng. or under a P.Eng.'s supervision).