Professional Law (NPPE Notes)


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Definition of Engineering

Planning, designing, composing, evaluating, advising (or managing these acts); requires applying engineering principles; and concerns safeguarding life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment. 

Professional Engineering/Geoscience Act

Provincial or territory law that gives the Association the responsibility for implementing this set of rules. It is the foundation document on which the regulations, bylaws and code of ethics are based. 

Certificate of Authorization (CofA) or Permit to Practice

A CofA or Permit to Practice is a license issued by the Association that allows individuals and businesses to offer and provide professional engineering services to the public. This license is different from a P.Eng. license that enables an individual to practice professional engineering for him/herself or their employer. 

Technical Societies Codes of Ethics

It is published by almost all technical societies and is non-binding, but a violation may lead to expulsion. These codes of ethics are different from your association's Code of Ethics but may have similar themes.

Name 3 common professional titles awarded by Associations in Canada

  1. Professional Engineer (P.Eng.), Professional Geoscientist (P.Geo.) 
  2. Provisional Member or Provisional Licensee 
  3. Temporary Licensee
  4. Limited License or Engineering Licensee (Eng.L.) or Geoscience Licensee (Geo.L.)
  5. Licensee or License to Practice 
  6. Engineers-in-Training (EIT), Members-in-Training (MIT), Geoscientist-in-Training (GIT), Engineering Intern (EIT)

Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) or Geoscientist (P.Geo) License. List the requirements.


General Requirements across Canada: 

  • Age: 18+ years old.
  • Character: Must be of good character.
  • Education: Accredited engineering degree or equivalent.
  • Experience: 4+ years of relevant experience (3 years in Quebec), with 1+ years in Canada under a P.Eng./P.Geo. supervisor.
  • Knowledge of Ethics and Law: Need to pass NPPE.

Meaning of "Self-Regulating Profession"

Each province/territory government has passed an Act to give direction on how to form and operate an Association which regulates professional members.

Scope of practice

Actions and processes a practitioner is allowed to undertake according to the terms of their professional license.

Right to use of title

Right to use title "P.Eng." or call oneself a Professional Engineer according to the associations' terms and the right to use the title "P.Geo." or call oneself a Professional Geoscientist according to the associations' terms. 

Technical societies

A group that gives professionals the ability to access information and other professionals with similar technical interests. E.g. Society of Automotive Engineers, the Canadian Nuclear Society, the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineers. 

Definition of Geoscience

Acquisition and application of knowledge about the earth, its properties and processes, and providing advice and making decisions in the public's interests on mineral resources, geo-hazards, infrastructure, water, environment and ecosystems. 


To prosecute an individual or entity that is practicing engineering without a license or certificate. Also, it's for people who mislead others by using a title (e.g. P.Eng.) they do not possess.  



What’s the difference between Discipline, and Enforcement?

The main difference between the two terms is who they apply to. Discipline procedures apply to licensed members, whereas enforcement procedures apply to unlicensed members of the public. These processes differ, as do the possible penalties. Enforcement for members of the public practicing scopes of engineering work will be investigated and sent a warning for these behaviors, usually this is enough to stop the work, otherwise further fines and action will occur.  Discipline on the other hand, for licensed members, can be used for the following behaviors.  Professional misconduct or unprofessional conduct (any act that is detrimental to the best interests of the public), incompetence (lack of knowledge, skill, or judgement), Negligence (carelessness, or carrying out work that is below the acceptable standard), breach of Code of Ethics, physical or mental incapacity, and/or conviction of a serious offence.

Difference between 

Why do associations give titles other than professional engineer or professional geoscientist?

The P.eng or P.geo license titles needed to be broadened over time to accommodate for different circumstances.  There are provisional licenses (met all the requirements except for the 12 months work experience in Canada), Temporary license (working in a specific region for a short period of time, not a resident of that area), Limited License (working at a very defined scope and doesn't have an engineering or geoscience background), In-Training (Met academic qualifications and working towards their license).

Under what circumstances would you need to obtain a license in two different provinces?

Sometimes projects will be outside of your province, and the associations of each province have streamlined the agreement on “internal trade”, which makes it easy to work outside of your province in Canada or move your license from one region to another, without the need of a dual license. 

Why do firms need to be licensed if engineers working at that firm already have their license?

Most associations require a permit for practice, the main reasons include:

Having liability insurance, establishing someone within the company to take responsibility for the professional services they provide, binds the company to the association’s code of ethics.

Can a licensed member be found guilty of illegal practice?

No, illegal practice is only for unlicensed individuals practicing engineering or geoscience without having the appropriate requirements/title to do so.

What are technical societies? Do I need to apply for membership to these as well?

Technical societies are groups that publish information, codes and standards for the public. These groups provide networking & learning opportunities for others in the industry. Organized by interest groups (eg. nuclear society etc.)

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