Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario Defence Lawyers

Engineers, like many other professionals in Canada, must be adequately educated, licensed and regulated by the province in which they practice. Each province will regulate their professionals in their own way. Each province in Canada is responsible for regulating the professionals working within that province. Professional Engineers Ontario is the professional body with the power to license and regulate engineers and the practice of engineering in Ontario. Some of Professional Engineers Ontario’s main duties include establishing, maintaining, developing the standards of knowledge, skills and professional ethics required of its members and dealing with complaints made against its members.

The practice of engineering includes: any act of planning, designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising  that requires the application of engineering principles and concerns the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, public welfare, or the environment, or the managing of any such act.

As engineering is a controlled practice, only those who are registered with Professional Engineers Ontario are able to practice the profession and use the titles of ‘professional engineer’, ‘P.Eng’ or any other title that may lead the public to believe that one is an engineer licensed with the PEO.

Engineers in Ontario are regulated by the Professional Engineers Act, 1990 and the regulations made under it. Among other things, the Professional Engineers Act lays out the requirements for an issuance of license, the functions of the Complaints and Discipline Committees and the fiduciary relationship between the engineering corporation and the client.

Engineers in Ontario must also follow the relevant bylaws and Code of Ethics associated with the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, and Professional Engineers Ontario as an organization  itself must abide by the Statutory Powers Procedure Act (SPPA), 1990 and the Public Inquiries Act, 1990.

Legal Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What Constitutes Professional Misconduct?
Dealing with Disputes Regarding Fees
How Engineers Provide Services to the Public
How Can Engineers Advertise Services to the Public?
Obtaining a Certificate of Authorization
Are there Guidelines for Engineers’ Practice?

What Constitutes Professional Misconduct?

The definition of professional misconduct may be found in S.72 of Regulation 941 made under the Professional Engineers Act. Some acts that may give rise to a finding of professional misconduct include:

  • Failure to make reasonable provisions for the safeguarding of life, health or property of a person who may be affected by the engineer’s work
  • Failure to act, correct or report a situation that the engineer believes may endanger the safety or welfare of the public
  • Singing or sealing a final drawing, specification plan, document that the engineer did not prepare or check
  • Failure to comply with relevant statutes, regulations, codes, by-laws

Dealing with Disputes Regarding Fees

If there is a dispute regarding fees, the Fees Mediation Committee will serve as the body responsible for settling such disputes between engineers and their clients. The disputes can be settled through mediation or arbitration. Settling the matter with the Fees Mediation Committee is an alternative route to pursuing the matter in the courts.

How Engineers Provide Services to the Public

In Ontario, all professional engineers who are providing engineering services to the public must have a valid Certificate of Authorization. This certificate is distinguishable from a license that is issued to engineers to practice engineering in general and is obtained separately. In this context, ‘to the public’ includes for the benefit of an individual, corporation, government or any other body that is not the engineer’s employer.

In order  to provide services to the public, holders of a Certificate of Authorization, whether it be the engineer or corporation, must also have liability insurance in order to provide services to the public, unless:

  • They are part of the Indemnity Plan of the Ontario Association of Architects and their practice is restricted to professional activities that are covered under that plan
  • Their practices from rendering the services are substantially covered by other insurances that are not materially less than the minimum requirements as stipulated in S.74(1)
  • The insurance is for the purpose of pollution, aviation, nuclear or shipping hazards
  • They inform the person to whom services are being provided that they are not insured in accordance with the requirements of S.74(1) and are given written authority to provide services without such insurance BEFORE entering into the agreement.

How Can Engineers Advertise Services to the Public?

Engineers are permitted to advertise their services to the public. According to Section 75 of Ontario Regulation 941, members of Professional Engineers Ontario must advertise their services in a professional and dignified way, in a factual manner that is not exaggerated, and that which does not criticize another member or employer of a member, and without reference to or use of the professional seal they hold.

An advertisement may be considered to be inappropriate if:

  • It is exaggerated and claims a greater degree of responsibility for a project than is true
  • Does not give credit to individuals or firms that the engineer/ firm has partnered with to complete the project
  • Belittles another engineer/firm’s work
  • Fraudulent or dishonest

Obtaining a Certificate of Authorization

The fee for a Certificate of authorization is around $904 ($452 application fee and $452 annual fee) that is renewable annually for a fee of $452.  Details on how to apply for a Certificate of Authorization and the documents needed can be found in further detail on Professional Engineers Ontario website. The Certificate of Authorization will usually take around 3 weeks to be processed.

Are there Guidelines for Engineers’ Practice?

Professional Engineers Ontario offers various resources to help ensure that its members are able to provide professional and ethical services, and has a team to advise members on issues regarding their roles and responsibilities. This includes information regarding human rights in relation to engineering, the requirements for reviewing other engineer’s work, acting as an expert witness, design evaluation, issues regarding engineering and climate change and sustainable development. Resources can be found on PEO’s website.

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