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Engineering associations join forces to back PEO

Professional engineering associations from four provinces in Canada are rallying behind Professional Engineers Ontario over the "industrial exception" issue.


Professional engineering associations from four provinces in Canada are rallying behind Professional Engineers Ontario over the “industrial exception” issue.

In June the government of Ontario reversed its commitment to repeal the exception 12(3)(a) of the Professional Engineers Act which allows non-engineers to design equipment or machinery used to produce products for their employer.

The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA), the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of Manitoba (APEGM), the Association of Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick (APEGNB), and the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (NAPEG), have all written to Ontario’s Attorney General to voice concerns about the government’s decision to reverse course.

Despite its almost three-year legislative commitment to the repeal, which was approved in the legislature as part of the government’s Open for Business Act in October 2010, the government recently cancelled its September 1, 2013 effective date for the repeal and did not set a new effective date.

Kim Allen, MBA, P.Eng., chief executive officer of Engineers Canada, the federation of provincial/territorial engineering regulators, said: “Our members are speaking out because Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada that allows an unlicensed person without the supervision of a licensed practitioner to do an act that is within the practice of professional engineering and this shouldn’t be the case. … It is difficult to understand why it is acceptable for Ontario to have a lower standard than other provinces and territories when it comes to protecting its workers.”

Michael Price, MBA, P.Eng., acting chief executive officer and registrar of PEO said: “The Ontario government’s decision is extremely regrettable as repealing this narrow exception as scheduled would have improved worker safety in Ontario’s manufacturing sector. … According to the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada, Ontario’s manufacturing sector has the highest fatality rate in Canada and the highest accident rate of any business section in Ontario. Engineers are committed to public safety and professionally accountable by law for all acts of professional engineering, except in this narrow area. This is a significant missed opportunity to protect the public.”

In the coming weeks, PEO is to meet with ministers and MPPs to share their concerns.