Canadian Consulting Engineer
PEO goes to court over building code testsEngineering
Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) has turned to the courts to sort out issues related to the contentious new reg...
Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) has turned to the courts to sort out issues related to the contentious new regulations related to the Ontario Building Code.
Since January 1, anyone doing design or reviewing design for building permits in Ontario has to become qualified and certified with the government by passing examinations to show their knowledge of the building code The professional licensing association views these government tests as unnecessary and as an encroachment upon the engineering profession’s right to govern itself.
On March 20, PEO filed a Notice of Application for Judicial Review with Divisional Court. PEO asserts: “As the regulator of professional engineering in the province, PEO felt it had no other option than to take this action to maintain the integrity of its exclusive jurisdiction over regulation of engineering under the Professional Engineers Act.” PEO argues that the new requirements: “duplicate, contradict and otherwise interfere with the important statutory role of PEO to license, discipline and regulate its members.”
Accordingly, the PEO Council, including its 12 government appointees, unanimously agreed on March 3 to ask the court to interpret the application of the new rules.
PEO has been in discussions with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing of Ontario for two years to the try and obtain an exemption for its licensed members.
Meanwhile architects in the province have agreed to run a parallel testing and certification program to the government’s.
PEO argues that there is no need for engineers to demonstrate their proficiency in the building code since PEO is already responsible for their compliance with applicable codes and standards. It says there has never been any evidence produced to indicate that the existing system has failed to protect the public over matters related to the Ontario Building Code.
PEO does, however, support the testing of unlicensed designers.
The new Ontario rules were filed in July 2003, as Ontario Regulation 305/03 under the Building Code Statute Law Amendment Act of 2002. During the negotiating phases over the past few years, the rules were also commonly referred to by the term “Bill 124.”
For earlier articles on this subject in Canadian Consulting Engineer, see for example, Comment, Print Edition, “Ontario tests patience of building engineers,” print edition, January-February 2006; “A Testing Time,” interview with John Gamble, President of Consulting Engineers of Ontario, print edition, March-April 2006.