National Engineering Month is coming to an end. This year, we had the opportunity to celebrate with numerous events where engineers gathered for enriching conversations, discussions, opportunities for growth and networking. To kick off the month, we organized The Future of the P.Eng. Licence event, where representatives from engineering regulators across the country discussed how they plan to modernize the engineering license and its regulatory schemes.
Our panelists included:
• Christian Bellini, P.Eng., Professional Engineers Ontario
• Heidi Yang, P.Eng., Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia
• Jay Nagendran, P.Eng., Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
• Mark Frayne, P.Eng., Ontario Society of Professional Engineers
The event was introduced by Jeanette Southwood, P.Eng., VP of Corporate Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at Engineers Canada, followed by OSPE’s CEO, Sandro Perruzza, and Dr. Farzad Rayegani, P.Eng., Senior Dean for Faculty of Applied Sciences & Technology, Humber College.
Our moderator, Steve Paikin, anchor of TVOs current affairs program, The Agenda, guided the evening allowing a collective discussion with valuable insight. Each province regulates the profession differently depending on provincial legislation, which is what made the discussion uniquely interesting.
The discussion navigated important topics like the differences in regulation and legislations within the country, diversity, and inclusion within the profession and how the regulator contributes to this, and if the public is aware of the importance of the engineering licence.
The role of regulator is to ensure the licence and the professional and ethical obligations that come with it are upheld to protect the public.”
Heidi Yang, P.Eng.
The engineering profession is the epitome of innovation, protecting the public with every service professional engineers provide. This bold industry is rapidly evolving to serve the everchanging world. Therefore, it is imperative that engineering keep current with new advancements, while ensuring the goal of public safety.
However, despite this need, we know that the current slow-to-change licensing of engineers doesn’t quite line up with the rapid advancement we’re seeing with emerging technologies. Licensing comes with a number of different challenges around education, legislation, and public perceptions. We also know that with engineering licensure, there a several key expectations:
- The public relies on the competence and ethics of professional engineers to keep them safe
- Professional engineers must regard their duty to public health, safety, and welfare as paramount
- Regulators protect the public by setting standards and holding practitioners accountable to those standards, and
- Engineers are entitled to be governed by practices that are transparent, objective, impartial, fair and timely.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of the disruptive change the global community has had to respond to. Engineers have been at the forefront of this response. Structural design, healthcare innovations, and accessibility changes are some examples of how engineers are responsible for the overall comfort and safety of the public. Modernized regulation that adapts to advancements is vital in continuing to keep the public safe.
This event provided valuable insight and possible directions different Canadian regulators can take to modernize. This is an important and continued conversation for OSPE and its members.
Read up on OSPE’s previous work advocating for regulatory reform in Ontario.