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About Professional Engineering

EngineeringEngineering is the application of scientific principles to provide a practical, workable solution. Whether it is the design of a large building or a computer program, a chemical process in manufacturing or a piece of medical equipment professional engineers have the knowledge and know-how to make a project work. Professional engineers can be inventors, designers, planners, constructors, manufacturers, or managers. Regardless, all professional engineers are obliged by professional ethics to protect public health and safety.

What do Engineers Do?

Engineers work, literally, on anything under the sun - from aerospace to mining. Training in the classical disciplines of electrical, civil, mechanical, aeronautical, industrial, chemical and mining engineering prepares graduates who are able to:

  • identify and analyze problems;
  • devise innovative solutions;
  • plan for implementations;
  • manage implementation, and assure quality control.

Engineers can be found in private practice, in government and in any industry, at all levels, and in all kinds of jobs, from marketing to process control. The Appendix lists examples of the different types of work engineers complete every day.

When to Involve a Professional Engineer?

Since professional engineers have the skills to identify and analyze problems, it is preferable to involve them at the early stage ( i.e. planning) of the process. The engineer's experience will allow the early abandonment of impractical, expensive or environmentally destructive alternatives and thus provide focus to the remaining possibilities.


Quality Control in the Engineering Profession

To practice professional engineering in Canada, you must have a licence, just like doctors and lawyers do. Engineering in Ontario is a self-regulating profession under the Professional Engineers Act ( R.S.O. 1990, Chapter P.28). This legislation defines professional engineering to be: "any act of designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising wherein the safeguarding of life, health, property or the public welfare is concerned and that requires the application of engineering principles."

Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) is the body created to administer the Act in Ontario. The Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) ensures that all Canadian university engineering schools offer programs of the same high standard. Following graduation from a CEAB-accredited program and a minimum of two years' appropriate experience, a graduate engineer can apply for a licence from PEO. In addition to meeting these stringent academic and experience requirements, applicants must pass examinations on the ethical and legal aspects of engineering before PEO will consider awarding a licence.

Applicants from non- accredited universities may be required to successfully complete PEO technical exams before being granted a licence. In Ontario, only PEO-licensed professional engineers may use the designation P.Eng.

In Ontario, professional engineers who provide engineering services directly to the public must have a Certificate of Authorization. This certificate is issued to individuals or firms and requires at least three more years of relevant experience, beyond the two years required for a licence. Individuals and firms holding PEO Certificates of Authorization must adhere to the professional liability insurance regulations required by the Professional Engineers Act.

PEO prepares performance standards and guidelines as benchmarks for quality of service in the engineering profession. A listing of these publications is available from PEO.

To protect the public, PEO investigates all complaints brought to it about unlicensed, unprofessional, inadequate, or incompetent engineering services, and takes appropriate disciplinary action.

This stamp is your assurance that a licensed professional engineer is working for you.


Why Employ a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.)?

We have established that 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.


How to Engage a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.)

Engineers may be engaged as consultants or as employees.

PEO publishes a directory of those individuals or firms that hold a Certificate of Authorization and are therefore able to offer engineering services to the public.

PEO's Guideline for the Selection of a Professional Engineer 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. The PEO's Suggested Schedule of Fees lists representative prices for various engineering tasks.

When hiring an employee engineer, the employer may find PEO's annual salary surveys helpful. In addition to listing salaries by field of specialization, year of graduation and type of work, the surveys also give details about other forms of compensation and about benefits.

PEO's Employment Advisory Service runs a computerized job-matching service available to both engineers and employers of engineers. PEO also publishes an official journal, Engineering Dimensions. Advertising in this magazine reaches over 61,000 readers across Canada -- all of whom are licensed, experienced engineers.

For further information or to order publications, contact:

Publications Department PEO
25 Sheppard Avenue West, Suite 1000
Toronto, Ontario M2N 6S9
Telephone: (416) 224-1100 Facsimile: (416) 961-8168


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