Ontario Removes Canadian Work Experience Requirement for Engineers

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  • May 27, 2023

In a significant development for internationally trained engineers, Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) has become the first professional association in Ontario to eliminate the Canadian work experience requirement from its application criteria. This move was announced on May 23 in Toronto by Monte McNaughton, the Ontario Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development. By removing this requirement, qualified professionals will have a better opportunity to enter the engineering profession they have been trained for, regardless of their work experience in Canada.


The Previous Work Experience Requirements

Under the previous guidelines set by PEO, candidates applying for an engineering license were required to demonstrate 48 months of verifiable and acceptable engineering experience following graduation. Furthermore, a minimum of 12 months of that experience had to be obtained in a Canadian jurisdiction under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer. This prerequisite often posed a significant challenge for internationally trained engineers, limiting their career progression and hindering their ability to fully utilize their skills and qualifications.


Addressing Labor Shortages and Economic Productivity

Ontario currently faces a substantial shortage of skilled workers, with approximately 300,000 job vacancies across various sectors. Among these, engineering positions play a critical role in driving innovation and economic growth. The cost of these unfilled positions in terms of lost productivity amounts to billions of dollars. Recognizing the urgency to address this issue, the Ontario government introduced the Working for Workers Act, 2021, which mandates regulated professions to assess competency in a non-discriminatory manner. This legislation seeks to provide opportunities for newcomers to continue their careers in Ontario, leveraging their skills to contribute to the province’s economy.


Positive Impact for Internationally Trained Engineers

The removal of the Canadian work experience requirement marks a significant milestone in creating a more inclusive professional environment for internationally trained engineers. Roydon Fraser, the president of PEO, highlighted that approximately 60% of the license applications the association receives each year are from internationally trained engineers. This change will streamline the licensing process, ensuring that qualified engineers can obtain their licenses more quickly and actively participate in the engineering workforce in Ontario.


Maintaining Standards and Qualifications

While the Canadian work experience requirement has been eliminated, PEO remains committed to maintaining rigorous qualifications for licensing. The association emphasizes the importance of a competency-based assessment model and other evaluation methods to ensure that only qualified individuals practice engineering. By upholding stringent standards, PEO aims to safeguard the integrity and professionalism of the engineering profession in Ontario.


Extending the Approach to Other Professions

Ontario recognizes that labor shortages extend beyond the field of engineering and impact several regulated professions. Efforts are being made to facilitate the accreditation and registration process for newcomers in these fields as well. For instance, legislation has been passed to allow nurses from other Canadian jurisdictions to work in the province without requiring registration with applicable health regulatory colleges. Additionally, internationally educated nurses are being provided with temporary registration options, enabling them to start working sooner while pursuing full registration. Similar initiatives are being undertaken in collaboration with colleges and universities to help applicants meet the education and language proficiency requirements.



The removal of the Canadian work experience requirement for engineers by Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) marks a significant milestone in the province’s efforts to eliminate barriers

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