Engineers Canada and the 12 engineering regulators across Canada have co-signed a statement reiterating that the use of titles such as “software engineer”, “computer engineer”, and similar titles that prefix “engineer” within IT-related disciplines and practices are restricted to those who are licensed as an engineer.
“As the development of software and computer technology grows exponentially, it is more important than ever that the public know whether the people creating those technologies have the skills, expertise, and obligations of an engineer,” says Gerard McDonald, MBA, P.Eng., ICD.D, Chief Executive Officer of Engineers Canada. “The title ‘engineer’ is a protected term and can only be used by individuals licensed by one of Canada’s engineering regulators.”
The practice of engineering refers to activities that require the application of engineering principles and concern the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment. The regulation of the practice of engineering holds individuals accountable for the work they do and ensures that engineers provide services in a safe, ethical, and professional manner for public safety. Inaccurate uses of the protected title “engineer” can be misinterpreted and may mislead the public.
“In Canada, the title of ‘engineer’ is protected and for good reason. As a society, we do not allow someone to call themselves a medical doctor if they are not licensed to practice medicine,” says Jay Nagendran P.Eng., FCAE, ICD.D, FEC, FGC (Hon.) Registrar & CEO CEO & Registrar of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta. “In this same way, we do not risk the public’s safety by allowing people to claim they are engineers if they are not licensed. The public trusts engineers and holds them in high esteem, which is why we, as the engineering regulators, must protect the title.”
The joint statement demonstrates the commitment of all engineering regulators to use their communication and enforcement abilities to ensure individuals do not misrepresent themselves as engineers. At its core, the statement is a demonstration of the unity of all engineering regulators in Canada on ensuring the title engineer is used appropriately and in service of their public protection mandates.
When regulators learn of an improper use of the engineering title they will approach the individual or company to inform them of the prohibited use. Fines or other enforcement measures may be used.
For more information:
- Joint Statement on the Use of “Software Engineer” and Related Titles in Canada
- Engineers Canada Paper on Professional Practice in Software Engineering
- Use of Professional Title and Designations
- Public Guideline on the Practice of Engineering in Canada