CCPE Announces Integration Ideas

A seminar on working in Canada, a database of recognized engineering degrees and a comprehensive, single-source website – these are just three of 17 recommendations announced May 14 by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers and its members. The recommendations are part of a collaborative effort to help international engineering graduates integrate into the Canadian engineering profession and workforce.

A three-phase initiative titled From Consideration to Integration has been tackling a range of difficulties in licensing and employing international graduates. The recommendations address the issues without compromising public safety or lowering professional standards. Dubbed FC2I, the initiative is fully funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

"We know that many immigrants with a background in engineering want to work in the profession once they are here," said CCPE President Darrel Danyluk, P.Eng., chair of the FC2I Steering Committee and a past APEGGA president. “We also know they face language and cultural barriers, employment difficulties and challenges in accessing clear information. We looked at each of these areas, in addition to the licensing process itself."

"All Canadians benefit when new Canadians can gain employment in their profession," said Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Minister Joe Volpe. "This initiative supports the Government of Canada's approach to innovation and learning, which addresses the national challenge of ensuring Canadians possess the skills and knowledge to fully participate in the knowledge-based economy."

The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers leads the FC2I Steering Committee, which has representatives from federal and provincial governments, the engineering regulatory bodies, employers, immigrant-serving organizations, educators, engineers and international engineering graduates themselves. This diversity of representation, the level of consultation and the holistic approach with which the engineers tackled the project, set it apart from similar initiatives.

Other recommendations include:

• Providing international engineering graduates with a provisional licence once they have met all requirements for licensure except the one year of Canadian experience. In this way, employers can have full confidence in their technical and communications abilities.
• Developing a mentoring program.
• Determining which elements of the engineering licensing process can be done overseas, to speed the process after they arrive in Canada.

“Canada has a reputation for engineering excellence,” said graduate in Iran Saeed Ziaee, P.Eng., the founder and product development manager of Intelligent Engineering Solutions Inc., a research and development firm in Toronto with a specialty in medical devices. “As immigrants with an engineering background, we want to help maintain that excellence and to contribute to the Canadian economy; these recommendations will help us do that faster and with fewer complications.”

“We’re very pleased that our unique approach to this issue – extensive consultations and a widely representative steering committee – has resulted in such a substantive set of recommendations,” said Marie Lemay, P.Eng., Chief Executive Officer of CCPE. “We look forward to implementing these with our partners so we can make a positive difference for international engineering graduates.”

Launched in January 2003, FC2I is a three-phase project. The first phase focused on understanding the experience of international engineering graduates, examining provincial and territorial engineering licensing procedures, and learning from those who work with and employ them.

In the second phase, the steering committee analyzed the information, determined where the process of integration needs improvement and began to build consensus among stakeholders on possible solutions.

The third phase will have the steering committee work with key stakeholders to implement the recommendations and to develop supporting information materials.

The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers is the national organization of the 12 provincial and territorial associations/ordre that regulate the practice of engineering in Canada and license the country's more than 160,000 professional engineers.

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