Valuing Newcomers

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In Canada, the P.Eng. designation represents the highest standards of engineering knowledge, experience and professionalism. It tells employers that you are committed to engineering excellence; that you have the right skills, education and attitude; and that you’re a responsible professional with proven problem solving abilities. To practise professional engineering in Canada, you must obtain the P.Eng. licence in the provincial/territorial jurisdiction in which you are employed. In Ontario, only those individuals who have demonstrated that they possess the necessary qualifications and have been licensed by Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) can call themselves professional engineers, take responsibility for professional engineering work and use the P.Eng. title.

A leader among regulators in Canada, PEO has worked hard for many years to enable newcomers to better use the skills, education, and experience they bring with them. Since 2000, applicants from over 1000 institutions world-wide have been granted licences by PEO. One-third of the association’s 75,000 licence holders were educated outside of Canada.

To help ensure that newcomers arrive in Ontario with full knowledge of our licensing requirements and a head start,PEO enables prospective immigrants to begin the process from outside Canada, before they finalize their immigration plans, and to continue the process when they arrive. Its website includes information on licensing requirements, application procedures and downloadable application forms.

To help international engineering graduates obtain experience for licensure, PEO created the provisional licence in 2003 for applicants who have met all the requirements for licensing as professional engineers except the required 12 months work experience under a Canadian professional engineer. A provisional licence tells potential employers that the holder is qualified academically and has demonstrated knowledge of the profession’s high professional practice and ethics standards.

In 2007, PEO introduced the Engineering Intern Financial Credit Program (FCP) to remove potential economic hurdles to licensure application for engineering graduates and newcomers to Canada. Under the program, international engineering graduates and Canadian university graduates may be eligible to apply for a licence at no cost and be enrolled in the first year of PEO’s Engineering Intern (EIT) Program. Full details on the program are available at

“While a professional engineer licence is not required for engineering employment in Ontario when a professional engineer supervises and is responsible for the work, most employers want to know if a prospective employee would be eligible to become a professional engineer,” says PEO President J. David Adams, P.Eng., MBA, FEC. “Our process provides a front-end assessment of credentials and through the EIT program applicants and their employers are guided to complete the remaining requirements for licensure.”

In 2010, at PEO’s request, the provincial government eliminated the requirement to be a citizen or to have the status of a permanent resident of Canada to obtain a P.Eng. licence, provisional licence or limited licence. Now, qualified applicants may arrive in Canada with many of the licensing requirements already met so they can enter the engineering workforce sooner.

For more information on obtaining a licence to practise professional engineering in Ontario, visit

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