As part of the Ford government’s red tape reductions that aim to streamline processes and achieve regulatory modernization, the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers has been in discussion with the Ministry of the Attorney General to submit recommendations for changes to the Professional Engineers Act.
As a result of this advocacy initiative, OSPE has reinstated its Professional Engineers Act Working Group under Board member Jerome James, P.Eng. as Chair, and President Mark Frayne, P.Eng. as one of several Working Group members, among other veteran engineers and OSPE members.
Purpose of the Professional Engineers Act Working Group
The Professional Engineers Act Working Group will report to the OSPE Board of Directors and will be responsible for consulting with engineers and others to determine the provisions of the Professional Engineers Act that should be updated so that PEO can cease non-regulatory functions and make the necessary governance and operational changes as outlined in its External Regulatory Review and with the recently released Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination Report.
Background on the Professional Engineers Act
The Professional Engineers Act was last revised in 2017 to take into account some of the recommendations from the Elliot Lake Inquiry. While matters such as fees and other changes have been made through regulation, other issues like the definition of the practice of engineering, mandatory continuing professional development, right to title versus right to practice and specialization have not been adequately addressed in more than 20 years. Ontario remains the only jurisdiction in Canada not to have implemented a mandatory CPD program, and Engineers Canada has been put on notice that Canada will be excluded by the International Engineering Alliance unless Ontario implements a CPD program and a quality assurance program within the next few years.
PEO is currently undergoing a governance review and changes, based on recommendations from the External Regulatory Review report conducted by the Professional Standards Authority in 2019. Similarly, PEO’s Chief Legal Council conducted a review of all PEO’s activities and identified a number that are, although permitted under the Act, not appropriate for a regulator to perform. As a result, PEO Council is implementing a number of structural and regulatory changes to its governance structure and operations.
The Attorney General of Ontario, the Honourable Doug Downey, has indicated that he is willing to make further revisions to the Professional Engineers Act to enact the governance changes at PEO, as well as to reinforce PEO’s regulatory mandate.
This Working Group will be studying these issues and others to formulate a proposal as to how the Act can be revised and what legislative changes will be necessary to remove any reference to non-regulatory activities within PEO.
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