In Ontario, the Professional Engineers Act defines that the practice of a professional engineer is such that it encompasses three (3) distinct areas: “any act of planning, designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising;” “the application of engineering principles;” and having concern for “the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment”. The act also sets out that a professional engineer is one who is licensed to hold such a position.
Professional engineers are governed by Professional Engineers Ontario (“PEO”), an association responsible for the licensing and regulation of engineers – it propagates the interests of the public whilst making sure that all engineers adhere to a code of ethics. The code encompasses a professional engineer’s duty to the public, the profession, employers, colleagues, and themselves. The PEO gains its mandate via the Professional Engineers Act, which specifically makes licensing a mandatory requirement, effectively closing the profession.
The PEO is self-regulated; a council of elected members of the profession runs it. The PEO protects the public by setting a standard of quality via the licensing requirements, disciplining members of the profession, investigating complaints, resolving disputes, and publishing practice guidelines. In terms of discipline the risks for professional engineers include: revocation of license, suspension of license, fines, limiting the compass of work, instituting conditions for future practice, re-examining/re-licensing, and to take any other action as allowable under the Professional Engineers Act.
If you are an engineer facing a disciplinary proceeding or have been terminated from your employment due to alleged professional misconduct we urge you to give us a call to discuss your matter immediately. In addition to saving your license, you may be entitled to damages from your former employer.