Canada is looking for engineers of all kinds to help power its booming economy. These skilled workers, with expertise in a variety of disciplines, have knowledge that is vital to the operation of many public and private organizations.Engineers currently have a range of immigration options available to them, including the popular Federal Skilled Worker and Quebec Skilled Worker programs. Once in Canada, they can enjoy a welcoming labour market, high salaries, and an exceptional quality of life. However, an engineer cannot formally practice under the title Professional Engineer unless he/she has received the necessary licensing to do so by their chosen Canadian province or territory.
Engineering is a regulated profession in Canada. Therefore, it is illegal to practice under the title of Professional Engineer (P. Eng.) without being properly licensed. However, an individual can work in the engineering field without a license provided he/she is supervised by a licensed engineer.
Regulation of engineering licenses is maintained by individual provinces and territories. One does not have to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in order to apply for a license to work in Canada. Prospective immigrants should make sure to apply for licensing in the province where they intend to settle and work upon arrival to Canada.
A list of the provincial and territorial bodies that regulate engineering certification can be found at the bottom of this article.
Each association offers two kinds of memberships: Engineer-in-Training and Professional Engineer. An Engineer-in-Training membership indicates that all academic requirements for a Professional Engineer license have been required, and that the applicant is in the process of completing additional requirements. A Professional Engineer license indicates that all outstanding requirements for membership have been completed, and allows an individual to practice engineering in their field and to use the title P. Eng after their name.
Applying for Professional Engineer Certification
The process of receiving the Professional Engineer certification can take over a year. Application details, as well as specific document requirements, vary from province to province. However, all successful applications must satisfy requirements in the following five fields:
Academic Assessment – All engineers must obtain a minimum level of education. This generally equates to at least a 4 year undergraduate degree in an engineering discipline or its equivalent. Holders of foreign academic credentials must have their credentials evaluated and given Canadian equivalency.
The provincial or territorial body to which an individual is applying may additionally require him/her to write examinations in any number of the following categories:
Work Experience and References Assessment – A minimum of 4 years of work experience in an engineering discipline is required to receive licensing in Canada (except Quebec). This includes at least 1 year of supervised work experience in Canada.
It is important to note that it is not required to wait to submit an application until 1 year of Canadian experience has been obtained. Other memberships may be granted in the meantime, and additional steps like the Academic Assessment can be completed while the 1 year of Canadian work experience is in progress.
Language Competency Assessment – Engineers must demonstrate their ability to communicate in either English or French. Many prospective immigrants will already have documents that attest to their language abilities, as this is required by many immigration programs. However, they should check with their specific provincial engineering licensing body, as additional evidence may be required.
Character Assessment – A list of character references must be provided. These references must include Professional Engineers, at least one of whom is licensed to practice in Canada. All must be willing to attest to an applicant’s honesty, integrity, and general good character.
Professional Practice Examination – All Professional Engineer applicants must pass this examination. In order to take the exam, an application for licensing must be in process. The exam is held twice a year. There is often an option, depending on the province or territory to which one is applying, to take the exam while overseas.
Study guides are available through provincial licensing bodies.
Canada has taken steps to make the Professional Engineering licensing process available to individuals both in Canada and abroad.
“Provinces and territories have many resources in place to help foreign-trained engineers obtain the certification they need to practice in Canada,” said Attorney David Cohen. “This highlights the fact that Canada is in need of these talented professionals, and that we are truly willing to go above and beyond so that they choose our country as their new home.”
Prospective immigrants with backgrounds in engineering are encouraged to begin their research and application process early so as to take advantage of the generous support Canada offers its future Professional Engineers.
To find out if you are eligible for one of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.
List of National, Provincial and Territorial Engineering Associations:
Engineers Canada (National Body)
Alberta – Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA)
British Columbia – Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC)
Manitoba – Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (APEGM)
New Brunswick – Engineers and Geoscientists New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador – Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL)
Northwest Territories – Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists
Nova Scotia – Engineers Nova Scotia
Nunavut – Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists
Ontario – Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO)
Prince Edward Island – Engineers PEI
Quebec – Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ)
Saskatchewan – Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS)
Yukon – Association of Professional Engineers of Yukon (APEY)