Engineers Canada concerned government decision will negatively impact workplace health and safety
January 7, 2016 By Engineers Canada
Jan. 7, 2016 – Engineers Canada joins its member regulator, Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), in condemning the Government of Ontario for its decision to maintain a section of the Professional Engineers Act (PEA), whose removal would have created healthier and safer workplaces.
“Engineers Canada, like PEO, is disappointed with the Ontario government’s troubling decision to maintain the industrial exception within the PEA,” said Kim Allen, FEC, P.Eng., the Chief Executive Officer of Engineers Canada. “We believe that this decision does a disservice to Ontario workers, placing their health and safety in the workplace at risk, and reduces the protection afforded to Canadians.”
In its Fall Economic Statement released last week, the Ontario government announced its decision to permanently maintain section 12(3)(a) of the PEA (a.k.a. the industrial exception). This runs counter to a provision in the Open for Business Act, 2010, in which the government committed to repealing the industrial exception. This would have prevented individuals who are not professional engineers from undertaking work that falls within the practice of professional engineering in relation to machinery or equipment used to produce products for their employers in their employer’s facilities.
Engineers are professionally accountable by law for all acts of professional engineering. By not requiring engineers to carry out the work in this area of manufacturing, the industrial exception lessens the protection afforded to Canadians by impacting their ability to hold professional engineers accountable for their work.
Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada that includes such an exception in its engineering regulations, and its repeal would have brought the province in line with other provinces and territories.
“The government’s decision leaves Ontario lagging behind the rest of Canada,” said Allen. “I’m disappointed that the government seemingly has little interest in pursuing national, harmonized standards in this area, and I struggle to understand why Ontario should have a lower standard than the rest of the country.”
The decision could also negatively impact the mobility of engineers across Canada. Differences and exceptions to being licensed in one jurisdiction have repercussions for professional engineers applying for licensure in another province or territory. A level playing field makes it easier for engineers to move within Canada, allowing companies to make the best use of their resources, and engineers to take advantage of career opportunities.
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