Canadian Consulting Engineer

New guideline aims to harmonize rules for trainee engineers across Canada

The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers is hoping to establish some uniformity in how different provinces ha...

May 4, 2005   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers is hoping to establish some uniformity in how different provinces handle their requirements for engineers in training. At its annual general meeting in May, the CCPE’s board of directors will be asked to approve its new National Guideline for Engineering-in-Training Programs. At present there is much diversity in how different provincial licensing associations for engineers process individuals who are preparing to become licensed. Once someone graduates with an engineering degree from an approved university program, the story is far from over. The person has to acquire years of work experience and pass examinations before he or she can become licensed to practise as a professional engineer.However, not all the provincial associations have a formal structured program for such engineers in training. So, for example, while the association will require the trainee engineer ultimately to pass licensure examinations, in the preceding period they might not require the person to enroll in a training program, and may not stipulate how they must record their learning experience.In contrast other provincial engineering associations have strict rules requiring an applicant to enroll in a formal training program and prove themselves in specific areas such as design, management and communications.There isn’t even any uniformity in the titles given to these individuals across the country. In Ontario they are called Engineering Interns, in Quebec they are called Ingenieurs-stagiaires, in Alberta they’re called Members-in-Training. British Columbia and most of the smaller provinces use CCPE’s adopted term, “Engineers in Training.”Marie Carter, P.Eng., director for Professional and International Affairs with CCPE, says they decided not to recommend one title, thus leaving the different provinces free to continue with their own. However, CCPE is hoping all the provinces will adopt the framework program in the guideline, which — if passed at the board meeting next week — will be posted on their website. The guideline was developed with much consultation with stakeholders, Carter says. CCPE, working with the Canadian Engineers Qualifications Board, first consulted with the provincial associations and took the best practices from existing programs. Then they invited on-line feedback and received over 1,000 responses from students, engineers in training etc. They also held industry forums, inviting governments and others to participate in the formulation. CCPE believes that if there is more harmony among the requirements for engineers in training it will make it easier for them to move to different areas of the country. It will also, it is hoped, broaden these trainees’ understanding of what it means to be an engineer and the responsibilities that go along with the title.

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