The purpose of this article is to provide employment (not visa or emigration) information, advice and counsel to Irish graduate engineers who, having secured a valid Canadian work permit, plan to move to Canada to pursue a career as a professional engineer.
While Canada offers excellent long-term career-growth engineering opportunities, my most importance advice for Engineers planning the move to Canada is to emphasise the importance of advance preparation in the registration/licensing process as early as possible before departure.
Some recent arrivals from Ireland have arrived with very little research or knowledge of the Canadian engineering licensing landscape and consequently lost valuable time to access successful career opportunities while being underemployed waiting for accreditation. The following provides background information:
1. Professional Engineer Licensing Bodies (PELBs)
Canada consists of 10 provinces and three territories. Each jurisdiction establishes and manages its own separate and distinct professional standards, accreditation, registration, licensing and regulatory body. PELBs are fragmented on a provincial and territorial (not national) basis. Each jurisdiction operates a comprehensive website offering relevant and detailed resource information for that jurisdiction.
Perhaps the most relevant jurisdictions for new arrivals from Ireland include Ontario (www.peo.on.ca) and Alberta (www.apegga.org), while other Canadian jurisdictions offer excellent long-term career opportunities in all engineering disciplines. Before you move, it is strongly recommended that you visit the PELB website for your target jurisdiction and learn about the engineering licensing process.
In general, the Canadian attitude towards immigration, visas and work permits is positive, on the basis that ‘New Canadians’ are the talent pool for building a skilled and diverse Canada. In recent years, the profession has become even more accessible for international engineering graduates seeking to become licensed. For more details, visit The Roadmap to Engineering in Canada website (Engineers Canada) and check out the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) brochure Valuing Newcomers: A Guide to Licensure for International Engineering Graduates.
2. PEng Designation
In each jurisdiction, the PEng (professional engineer) designation represents the highest standards of engineering knowledge, experience and professionalism. To become a PEng in Canada, you must be licensed in the provincial/territorial jurisdiction in which you are practising. Only those individuals who have demonstrated that they possess the necessary qualifications and have been licensed by the professional engineers’ licensing body in the jurisdiction can use the title.
3. Application Process
It is recommended that you begin the licensing/registration process before departing from Ireland. Some new arrivals have waited until after their arrival in Canada to begin this process, which resulted in a delay of several months while being underemployed. You will be required to: