The PEO implemented the new Practice Evaluation and Knowledge (PEAK) program on March 31, 2017.  The PEO’s registrar is expected to provide a report to council at its June 2018 meeting.   The registrar’s report is to include data showing the participation rates and other analysis, and provide recommendations to council on next steps.  I believe their should be a member’s referendum.

Schedule 34 of the Professional Engineers Act Bill 177 was passed in the house receiving Royal Assent on December 14, 2017.   This bill included an amendment, which gives regulation-making authority to create continuing education requirements for licence holders, including sanctions for non-compliance (although the legislation does not enact any specific provisions for non-compliance).  Council has not passed, or even discussed implementing, regulations that include sanctions. However, with the change added to the Act pressure may be placed to also implement sanctions for non-compliance.

In September 2015, Council affirmed its intent “to ask the membership to ratify in a referendum any mandatory requirement to participate in a continuing professional development competency and quality assurance program.” This motion is still in force but could be overturned by the Council.

The PEAK program imposes significant new reporting obligations on Professional Engineers. I encourage you to review the PEAK material on the PEO web site  PEO PEAK Program.  You may be surprised what you learn.  For example, does PEO accredit continuing knowledge activities courses to ensure they have value? According to their website, “No. The value of a course depends on the needs of each licence holder. It is up to licence holders to develop a continuing knowledge plan of value to them.” (as of May 4, 2018)

I have many issues with the PEAK program and have been working to significantly rework or eliminate it.  Challenging PEO to highlight the full cost of the program and future costs of implementation.  If Engineers do not already attain sufficient knowledge they will not maintain their employment or competitive edge in the market. Simply put, “PEAK” adds no real value.

Engineers already have a legal obligation to ensure they are qualified and have the necessary training for the engineering tasks they undertake. Unlike other self-regulated professions, engineers with less experience work under the tutelage of more experienced engineers.  The practice of engineering is simply too broad for any amount of education to reasonably capture. Practicing engineers know that day-to-day hands on experience is a far better indicator of competence than maintaining continuing professional development credits.

I believe the PEAK program is poorly conceived and does not achieve its purported goal of increasing public safety and confidence in our profession. The root cause of the majority of engineering failures I am aware of is not lack of technical ability, but rather moral/ethical lapses by the practitioner. This is what should be addressed, including the external pressures that may lead a practitioner into such lapses.

You may be interested in the approach to continuing profession development taken by other professions and other engineering jurisdictions. The following links are a good place to start such research.

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) Ontario