Working as an engineer in Canada

Engineering in Canada is a regulated profession, meaning that by law you will need a licence to practice as an engineer. There are 12 licensing jurisdictions across Canada, and a licence is valid only within the jurisdiction from which it is granted. However, there are mobility agreements in place between these 12 associations.

Required criteria for working as an engineer

In order to sit the licence exam, you must fulfil certain criteria. The actual criteria differ slightly between provinces so it is best to check with the jurisdiction where you intend to live and work. But as a general guideline, the following is expected:

  • It is not possible to become licensed as an engineer prior to migrating to Canada, as you must be either a citizen or hold permanent resident status.
  • You must possess a recognised degree, and should provide the relevant association with as much information as possible on your qualifications.
  • You must have completed a minimum of three to four years of engineering work. This depends on the association, but it is usually required that at least one year be in a Canadian environment.
  • You need to pass a professional practice exam, which is held once or twice a year – again depending on the association.
  • You must be of good character and reputation (i.e. no criminal convictions).
  • You must be proficient in either of Canada's recognised languages, French or English.

Starting the licensing application

Certain parts of Canada will allow you to commence the licensing application before you migrate. If you intend moving to Québec or Ontario, it is worthwhile speaking to the respective associations prior to moving.

You may work in Canada doing engineering-related work, but only if a Canadian-registered engineer accepts responsibility for the work you complete. You can register as an engineer-in-training with the association in your area. They will provide you with help and resources to assist with any queries you may have.

Legislation that may affect you

You should exercise caution, as it is illegal for a non-licensed engineer to approve plans or provide ‘engineering’ services to the public. There is other legislation that can affect your role as an engineer, so in the first instance it would be wise to seek employment with a reputable company aware of all the laws and requirements governing this field.

Point of contact

A very useful first point of contact for all professionals considering immigrating to Canada is the Foreign Credentials Referral Office. This department will help you in your quest for employment. The services it offers include a recognition service for foreign degrees and other professional qualifications.


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