The 15 member Joint Engineering and Natural Scientists Task Force (JENSTF) which included representatives from 7 Natural Science Societies has submitted it’s report to PEO Council (attached below) and the two major recommendations have been accepted. The CAP was represented by Paul Vincett and Henry van Driel (who also served as co-chair). PEO Council unanimously approved the report along with its two major recommendations.
The task force was established after the updated Ontario Professional Engineering Act removed the exemption for natural scientists from the definition of professional engineering‹the practice of engineering in areas where the public is at risk. Government lawyers removed the exemption, present in the earlier Act, since a professional practices definition cannot include what it is not. Natural Scientists in the JENSTF sought an exemption through a PEO regulation but it was not possible to agree on the wording for such an exemption in the year 2011 (as it was in the past) because of the inability to cleanly and legally delineate all areas of the expanding disciplines of natural science and engineering in those areas where the public is at risk. However, to deal with the (hopefully) few cases were there might be overlap or a potential dispute, the JENSTF recommended that PEO Council establish two committees: 1) an Overlapping Practices Committee, with balanced Natural Scientist/PEO representation, which would lend its unique expertise to help PEO resolve disputes early; 2) a national joint engineering/natural science committee to determine under what conditions a Natural Scientist should obtain a license or an exemption (from a regulatory Engineering or Science Society), when practicing in areas where the public is at risk. One or both of the proposed committees may also try again to address the possibility of Natural Scientists obtaining an exemption through a regulation. The report and its recommendations will now be discussed by the individual Natural Science Societies, including our own. The CAP Council will be asked at its June meeting to vote on the JENSTF recommendations and consider future steps.