OSPE calls for action to halt non-regulatory activities at Professional Engineers Ontario

OSPE was formed in 2000 after members of Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), the regulatory body responsible for licensing the practice of engineering across the province, voted to separate regulatory and advocacy functions into two distinct organizations.

However, throughout OSPE’s 18 years of existence, PEO has continued to engage in advocacy and other member services activities, in spite of the fact that these clearly fall under OSPE’s mandate. This has limited the effectiveness of both organizations, resulting in mandate confusion at PEO, and hampering OSPE’s efforts to act as the sole voice of the engineering profession to government and the public on engineering advocacy.

Consulting Engineers Ontario (CEO) sent a letter to the Ministry of the Attorney General on November 20, 2018 naming OSPE and raising issues regarding the governance structure and the non-regulatory activities of PEO. OSPE felt it necessary to respond, and contacted PEO leadership to inform them before sending our own letter to the Attorney General on November 22, 2018.

Leadership from OSPE, CEO and PEO then met on December 7, 2018 to better describe and understand these and other outlined concerns. All three organizations remain focused on the success of PEO as a regulator in the public interest. At the meeting, all parties agreed that CEO and OSPE will jointly bring forward a briefing note to the February 2019 meeting of PEO Council, proposing a path forward to re-shape and re-focus PEO, providing Council the opportunity to take the lead in making these changes rather than having them dictated by the Attorney General.

Meanwhile, it seems that PEO Council is moving forward with a meeting to vote on a motion to pursue member services activities, which would involve allowing a home and auto insurance provider to have complete access to all Ontario engineering licence holders’ personal data and contact information without their knowledge or approval. Not only does this undermine our current discussions, OSPE’s concern is that sharing a licence holder’s personal data, collected by PEO under a provision in the Professional Engineers Act of Ontario, is a serious and irresponsible breach of the authority given to a regulator that is entrusted to act in the public interest.

OSPE is concerned that PEO is interested in breaking the Accord between our two organizations, which commits to working together in the interest of the profession, consistent with our respective mandates – “PEO supports OSPE in the pursuit of the engineers’ interests and member services, and OSPE supports PEO in pursuit of the public interest.”

OSPE will keep its members informed of further developments. If you have questions or comments regarding OSPE’s letter to the Attorney General or interactions with PEO, please comment below, or contact advocacy@ospe.on.ca.

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