Ontario reconsiders meaning of “Consulting Engineer”
Following a member survey and strategic planning last year, Consulting Engineers of Ontario is taking the bull by t...
Following a member survey and strategic planning last year, Consulting Engineers of Ontario is taking the bull by the horns. At its annual meeting on June 25 at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, three hours north of Toronto in Ontario, the association announced a number of initiatives. The initiatives were under way during outgoing Chair, Terry Hardy (of Ainley & Associates), and will continue under the new Chair, Geoff Pound, (of Mitchell Pound & Braddock), and CEO President, John Gamble.
Perhaps the most important CEO goal is a bid to make the title “Consulting Engineer” more meaningful and to have added value. Currently “Consulting Engineer” is a reserved title given under the authority of Professional Engineers of Ontario. But as several speakers at the annual meeting noted, the title is not well known or understood, especially by clients.
A task force chaired by Anne Poschmann (of Golder Associates) had put forward ideas that include making the term “Designated Consulting Engineer” a certified and registered title and one that would be linked to a declared area of practice. If there is enough favour among CEO members, it will approach Professional Engineers Ontario for their support for any regulatory changes. Other ideas on the table include increasing the required practical consulting experience from five to 10 years.
Another initiative that CEO has begun is to expand its Chapter structure in order to involve more firms from outside the Greater Toronto Area. At present there are five chapters — in London, Ottawa, Hamilton, Essex-Kent and Niagara. A task force under Norm Huggins (of CH2M Hill) is encouraging the establishment of new chapters in Northern Ontario, such as in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and North Bay.
CEO is also looking seriously at playing a larger role in continuing education and professional development. A report by DCI and Associates based on a survey of CEO members noted that there was strong support for continuing education programs. The report noted that professional engineers are falling behind other professions such as architects in this area. If the title Designated Consulting Engineer becomes linked to a declared area of practice, then continuing education could be an integral part of that program.
Incoming CEO Chair, Geoff Pound, P.Eng., said he would continue these initiatives during his term of office, and also proposed another change. He said, “Alarmingly, we are one of the few providers of services that rely on our clients to provide us with their agreements — allowing them to dictate the terms and conditions under which we offer our services.” He is proposing that CEO should develop a standard engineering agreement to be used by members.