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LICENSING PROCESS ADAPTS TO NEW REALITIES by jsq13914

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									                                                                              Registrar or
                                                                         applicant may seek
                                                                           a determination                                       Licensing
                                                                     regarding academics and/or                                     Issue
                                                                      experience from statutory
                                                                              committees
                                                                             (ARC & ERC)




                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                    Ye
                                                                                                        Has the
                                                Assessment
        Application                                                                                application met
                                               of application
        for a licence                                                                                all licensing
                                                                                                    requirements?




                                                                                                                        No
                                                                                                                        No
                                                                                                                                 Registra
                                                                                                                                 Notice of

                                LICENSING                                                                                        to Refuse
                                                                                                                                      Lice




                                PROCESS ADAPTS
The increase in appli-
cations for licensing from
international engineering
                                TO NEW REALITIES
graduates is a reality for            t its simplest, the admissions process    she will be registered under practices
Canada’s engineering reg-       A     for would-be engineers in Ontario is
                                relatively straightforward and well-defined.
                                                                                that are fair, objective, impartial and
                                                                                transparent. The applicant is obliged to
ulators. In addition to             Any applicant who wishes to become          provide all requested information and
                                licensed completes a standard application       to discuss anything else that might be
measuring applicants’ aca-      form and submits the requested infor-           relevant to the applicant’s ability to prac-
demic preparation against       mation to the regulator for review.             tise competently and responsibly as a
                                    To become a licensed professional engi-     licensed professional.
the Canadian standard,          neer in Ontario, an applicant must:                 Section 9 of PEO’s licence application
assessors are giving more       • be a Canadian citizen or have perma-
                                    nent resident status;
                                                                                includes 12 questions designed to elicit
                                                                                information about an applicant’s past con-
weight to experience fac-       • be at least 18 years of age;                  duct. This exercise is intended to enable
                                • fulfill all academic requirements;            PEO to determine whether an applicant is
tors. Proving consistency       • fulfill all experience requirements; and      of good character, since section 14(2) of
and fairness to applicants      • be of good character.                         the Professional Engineers Act (PEA) allows
                                                                                the regulator to refuse to issue a licence
from ever more diverse              The application, and the process it         where the Registrar is of the opinion upon
backgrounds has become          triggers, assumes both rights and obli-
                                gations on the part of each applicant.
                                                                                reasonable and probable grounds that an
                                                                                applicant’s past conduct affords grounds
the latest challenge for PEO.   PEO assures the applicant that he or            for the belief that the applicant will not

56   ENGINEERING DIMENSIONS                                                                                   MARCH/APRIL 2007
g decision:                                                                                         Licensing decision:




                                       O
 licence                                                                                               Issue licence



                                     TE
                                   AT
                                 OM
                               TR
                             AS
                            M



                                                                           Registration
                         EL




                                                                             hearing                                         Applicant or PEO
                       HA




                                                                                                                          may appeal the licensing
                                                                        Statutory Tribunal
                     IC




                                                                                                                           decision to Divisional
                                                                          (Registration
                    M




                                                                                                                                   Court
                BY




                                                                           Committee)
                                                                 s
                                                               Ye




r issues a                                      Applicant
f Proposal                                  requests a hearing?
e to Issue
ence
                    practise engi-
                                                                 No
                                                                 No




                 neering with honesty                                                                                         decision
             and integrity. A negative                                                                                     or an adminis-
          answer to any of the 12 “good                                                                                 trative decision. A
          character” questions will not neces-                                                                      licensing decision means
          sarily lead to a refusal to issue a licence,                 Licensing decision:                      the applicant has met all require-
          but it may lead to follow-up inquiries about                     No licence                        ments and will be issued a licence. An
          suitability to practise.                                                                           administrative decision means not all
              The crucial step in the overall admis-                                                         requirements have been fulfilled. In this
          sions process is PEO’s determination of                                                            instance, PEO informs the applicant and
          whether the applicant has, in fact, met all of                                                     indicates what steps are needed to over-
          the licensing requirements spelled out in                                                          come any deficiencies.
          the Act, Ontario Regulation 941 and PEO’s                                                              In cases where an applicant has not
          licensing policies. If there is any doubt about                                                    met the licensing requirements, the Reg-
          an applicant fully meeting the academic or        derived within a Canadian jurisdiction, a        istrar issues a Notice of Proposal to
          experience requirements, the application          condition often cited as an obstacle to inter-   Refuse to Issue a Licence (NOP). Appli-
          goes to PEO’s Academic Requirements               national engineering graduates looking for       cants who receive an NOP have 30 days
          Committee (ARC) or its Experience                 the Ontario P.Eng.                               to request a hearing before PEO’s Reg-
          Requirements Committee (ERC) for expert              The weighing of an applicant’s cre-           istration Committee. A hearing before
          review by a group of engineering peers.           dentials by a group of peers is one of the       a panel of the Registration Committee
              The academic requirements for licens-         mainstays of self-regulation and a cor-          allows applicants an additional oppor-
          ing are graduation from an engineering            nerstone in the regulator’s effort to treat      tunity to demonstrate compliance with
          program accredited by the Canadian Engi-          each application as unique. The ERC,             the licensing requirements set out in the
          neering Accreditation Board, or equivalent        for example, numbers as many as 140              PEA and Regulation, and/or to seek
          engineering education. The experience             volunteer members skilled in evaluating          exemption from one or more of the
          requirements are 48 months of verifiable          and appreciating the range and com-              requirements. The committee can
          experience that demonstrates exposure to all      plexity of engineering practical experience.     instruct the Registrar to issue a licence to
          of the five experience criteria: application of                                                    the applicant, or it can direct the Regis-
          theory; practical experience; management of       Decision required                                trar to carry out the proposal to refuse a
          engineering; communication skills; and            Once an applicant’s academic and expe-           licence. An example of a “first instance”
          social implications of engineering. At least      rience assessments are complete, the             tribunal, the committee has ultimate
          12 months of this requirement must be             Registrar must make either a licensing           responsibility for licensing decisions.

          MARCH/APRIL 2007                                                                                            ENGINEERING DIMENSIONS          57
    The Registration Committee was created       immigrants with an interest in pursuing         License all who qualify
as part of major changes to the PEA in           engineering careers in Ontario to begin the     Yet, despite PEO’s attempts to reach out
1984, initially to hear cases where the Reg-     licensing process prior to their arrival, and   to prospective engineering immigrants,
istrar proposed to refuse a licence based on     advertised this fact to immigration officers    many still arrive in Canada with little or
past character issues. Since then, the PEA       at Canadian consultants worldwide.              no understanding of the Canadian
has been amended such that decisions of the          The legislative changes occasioned by       licensing regime.
Academic Requirements and Experience             the ACDE report were finalized in Febru-            “What compounds the problem is
Requirements committees are no longer            ary 2003 by amendments to the PEA and           that there are certain criteria that are
final and binding, so that the Registration      Regulation. Among them was the intro-           used for engineers immigrating to
Committee can also deal with these issues.       duction of a new provisional licence, which     Canada, and these criteria are not nec-
    If the Registrar or the applicant is dis-    not only helped applicants remain focused       essarily in sync with the available job
satisfied with a Registration Committee          on the path to full licensing, but also pro-    opportunities or in sync with giving
licensing decision, either party has the         vided prospective employers with a visible      them a licence,” says Ravi Gupta,
right to appeal the decision to the Divi-        statement that a prospective employee had       P.Eng., the chair of the ERC. “The dis-
sional Court of Ontario.                         met all the requirements for licensing except   connect grows, so people come here
    Besides fulfilling PEO’s academic and        the 12 months of Canadian experience. At        having immigrated to Canada, and they
experience requirements, licence appli-          the same time, public protection remained       settle predominantly in Ontario, and
cants must write and pass a Professional         undiminished, since provisional licence hold-   they come with the sense that ‘we’ve
Practice Exam (PPE) that tests their             ers must work under the supervision of              been cleared through immigration,
knowledge of engineering law, ethics and         professional engineers, who take “There so clearly there must be a lot of
professional practice.                           responsibility for their work.                              opportunities, including licens-
                                                     In announcing these                 are certain            ing possibilities,’ and those
Changes ongoing                                  changes, PEO Registrar criteria that are used hopes are somewhat
In spite of the time-honoured approaches         Kim Allen, P.Eng., for engineers immigrating shattered. So that’s an
used in its licensing process, PEO is also       observed that “since                                                    added pressure or
aware of the need to constantly review and       PEO Council            to Canada, and these criteria are challenge for
update how it does things to stay abreast of     endorsed the              not necessarily in sync with the                    the engineer-
changes in societal expectations and the         recommenda-             available job opportunities or in                   ing regulator.”
demographics of those seeking licensure. In      tions of the ACDE                                                           Certainly, inter-
the mid-1990s, for example, the high volume      task force, PEO has             sync with giving them a               national applicants
of applications, especially from international   increased the number of                   licence.”                form a valuable new pool
engineering graduates, led to slowdowns in       P.Eng. licences granted to inter-                               of engineering talent, expe-
the process, since individual assessment of      nationally trained graduates, about Ravi Gupta, P.Eng., rience and expertise for Canada
applicant qualifications remained central to     65 per cent of whom meet PEO’s chair, ERC and for Ontario, but the challenges
it. Eventually, administrative changes helped    academic requirements for licensure with-           outlined by ERC Chair Gupta are real.
overcome the bottleneck.                         out having to write any technical exams.”           In a January 2005 presentation to
     Similarly, in its 1999 report, PEO’s            Through 2004 and 2005, PEO also             Council outlining the licensing process,
Admissions, Complaints, Discipline and           streamlined its ERC interview process to        Michael Price, P.Eng., PEO deputy reg-
Enforcement (ACDE) Task Force raised             eliminate delays and maintain current stan-     istrar of licensing and registration, spelled
concern about what might be seen as              dards in meeting the increase in applicants     out the situation this way:
obstacles faced by international applicants,     from abroad. Such interviews are a central          “[Recent improvements to the PEO
including the lack of detailed information       feature in enabling international engineer-     licensing processes] still leave the regula-
provided to applicants prior to their arrival    ing graduates to demonstrate that they have     tor with the ongoing challenge of
in Canada and the lack of an effective           acquired the necessary knowledge to meet        ensuring its processes are fair and trans-
appeal process where applicants’ academic        the academic requirements for licensing         parent to all parties, especially as the pool
or experience qualifications were assessed       through their engineering experience.           of applicants is likely to grow and diver-
by the ARC or ERC as not meeting the                 By 2004, licence applications from          sify. PEO believes the existing licensing
requirements for licensing.                      international engineering graduates had         process reflects a series of improvements
     PEO responded to the ACDE recom-            surpassed those of graduates of accred-         based on more than 20 years of review
mendations through a combination of              ited engineering programs, and in 2005          and analysis. Any future changes, espe-
administrative and legislative changes. By       and 2006 PEO issued licences to more            cially those involving the work of the
2001, for example, PEO had redesigned            international engineering graduates than        ERC and ARC, are to be taken with a
its application form to be clearer, packaged     it did graduates of accredited programs.        view to ensuring fairness and consistency
the form with the relevant information,          Today, about one-third of the 68,000 pro-       to applicants–from all backgrounds–and
and published it on its website. Addition-       fessional engineers licensed by PEO were        to ensure that public safety continues to
ally, it began allowing prospective              educated outside Canada.                        be paramount.”

58      ENGINEERING DIMENSIONS                                                                                                  MARCH/APRIL 2007

								
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