Licensing offer draws few takers

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Fewer than 10 per cent of foreign-trained engineers have used a free-licensing assessment program offered by the profession's regulatory body in Ontario.

The scheme by the Professional Engineers Ontario, launched in May 2007, allows international engineering graduates – and their Canadian counterparts – to waive the $230 licensing application fee and $70 enrolment cost for an intern training program within six months of arriving in Canada or graduating from a Canadian university.

As of the end of June, only 246 of 3,500 newcomers to Ontario with engineering qualifications applied to the $500,000 program. The number is also low among Ontario's 4,500 engineering graduates; fewer than 20 per cent of them have applied so far. Typically, one-third of the province's engineering grads apply for licensure within five years of graduation.

Professional Engineers Ontario chief executive officer and registrar Kim Allen said the body had hoped to attract 3,500 applicants through the program in its first year and was surprised by the poor results. He attributed it to the lack of awareness of the program.

Engineers, one of the largest cohorts of skilled migrants to Canada, do not need a professional engineer's designation to be employed in engineering jobs as long as their work is being supervised and signed off by a licensed engineer.

To increase awareness of the scheme, the engineering body plans to launch a province-wide campaign this fall.


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