An important exemption to the Professional Engineers Act in Ontario has been repealed by the provincial government.
Starting March 1 this year, anyone responsible for doing engineering work on production machinery or equipment must be licensed by Professional Engineers Ontario.
The change follows the repeal of Section 12(3)(a) of the Act. The current Act allows non-licensed people to do engineering work when it relates to production machinery or production processes in manufacturing — as long as the individual is the manufacturer's employee. Even now, however, a professional engineer still has to sign off on the safety of the new (or altered) machine or process due to requirements in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Michael Price, P.Eng., who is acting chief executive officer and registrar of PEO, said in an announcement: "Repealing the industrial exception brings professional engineering in again at the beginning of the production process development cycle, so that the requirements under the Professional Engineers Act support and complement the requirements and intent of the PSR [Prestart Health and Safety Reviews] process."
Barry Steinberg, P.Eng., chief executive officer of Consulting Engineers of Ontario, said that while the association has not taken an official position on the repeal of the industrial exception, "we do agree with any action taken to improve public safety."
Asked if the new rules would affect consulting engineering firms, Steinberg replies: "It is unlikely that the licensing of practitioners in the industrial sector will have an impact on the highly specialized services offered by CEO members. They are likely to welcome the opportunity to work with professionals who now have a fiduciary responsibility to the public."
To help manufacturers manage the transition, PEO is giving those companies that file a compliance plan with them by March 1, 2013 a year to meet the requirements. PEO is also waiving the licence application fee for eligible new graduates and newcomers to Canada who are named in their employer's compliance plan filed with PEO by March 1. The association is also going to be offering training, such as webinars.