Canadian Consulting Engineer

Feature

Conversations: Licensing Reframed

Kim Allen, P.Eng. is the Chief Executive officer and Registrar of Professional Engineers Ontario. He was recently appointed CEO of Engineers Canada.


Kim Allen, P.Eng. is the Chief Executive officer and Registrar of Professional Engineers Ontario. He was recently appointed CEO of Engineers Canada.

Allen has been part of the Engineers Canada CEO Group that is helping to formulate a new Canadian Framework for Licensure, an initiative that is setting national standards for diverse areas of licensing. (The standards have to be accepted and enacted by the provincial and territorial licensing bodies before they come into effect.)

CCE spoke to Allen in July.

Q. What was the impetus behind

creating a new licensing framework?

Rather than just tackling one problem at a time, what we’re doing is asking how could we establish a new vision from a blank piece of paper, as it were. This way we can start to drive a new framework for licensing without having all the legacy concerns.

Q. A national framework that all the

provincial associations would agree to seems

a long way off – maybe 50 years from now?

That’s why we don’t have a rule that it has got to be “all in,” or “not in.” We’re saying, “Look, collectively – meaning all the associations and all the people who give input – will come up with the best ideas. We are designing what a licensure framework should look like. So if you as a provincial association have got the ability to implement it, why wouldn’t you?”

Q. As a result of endorsing one element of

the new licensure framework, is PEO now trying to implement changes to the rules for Certificates of Authorization, including identifying engineers’ specializations?

No. PEO’s changes regarding the Certificate of Authorization were under way before the framework was introduced.

From the public’s perspective, someone should be able to know that an engineer has, for example, capability in the structural area. Or if you are going to provide services on a brownfield site, they should know that you have some capability in the environmental area.

I think firms shouldn’t have any concerns because within a consulting firm they do specialize. Where we are going to get push-back is with an engineer who thinks he’s a jack-of-all-trades and can do everything.

Q. HOW DO THE STANDARDS FOR continuing Professional development affect engineers

who are more in management than

practising engineering?

If you are working as a manager, you should maintain your competence in being an effective engineering manager.

Look at me, for example. My professional development would be related to regulating the practice of professional engineering and governing licence holders. I have to understand engineering law, how discipline processes work, etc. I will have to maintain competence in those areas. I graduated in electrical engineering, [but] unless I decided to go back to practising in electrical engineering, taking courses to brush up on that field is going to be irrelevant.

If you picture that there are 75,000 people licensed by PEO, you realize that there will be 75,000 individual programs. The program isn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all.cce

See www.engineerscanada.ca/e/pj_cfl.cfm