Following the well publicized incident where two men shouted obscenities at CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt in Toronto, Professional Engineers Ontario was quick to jump into action.
The practice of yelling sexist comments at female reporters while they are on air is part of an international prankster trend. But on this occasion, a Toronto FC soccer event on Sunday, May 10, Hunt had enough and confronted the men for several minutes. The exchange went viral and soon one of the men was identified as an employee of Hydro One.
The trouble was he was identified as an engineer. “Toronto engineer fired after shouting profanities at female TV reporter,” ran one headline, for example, in CTV News Winnipeg.
According to the Globe and Mail, Shawn Simoes was listed on the Ontario Sunshine List (people making over $100,000 a year), as “an assistant network management engineer” at Hydro One. In other words he worked in information technology. Microsoft formerly referred to graduates of some of its programs as “engineers,” until legally prevented from doing so.
Professional Engineers Ontario was quick to respond to the loose use of the title and issued a statement on May 13: “Contrary to recent media reports, the man reported to have been fired from Hydro One for shouting obscenities at a television reporter is not a professional engineer. Shawn Simoes, the employee reportedly fired, is not licensed by Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) and, therefore, cannot legally be called an engineer. In Ontario, the titles “engineer” and “professional engineer” are restricted by law…. To confirm whether a person is licensed, the public may search PEO’s directory of licensed professional engineers at www.peo.on.ca.”
PEO’s statement stressed that ethical standards are imposed on its licensed professionals: “Engineers are required to maintain the profession’s high standards of professional practice and ethics… Harassment was added to Regulation 941 as a specific form of misconduct in 2000. Where licence holders are found guilty of professional misconduct, they may be subject to a range of penalties up to and including suspension or revocation of their licences to practise.”
Click here to read the PEO statement of May 13.