At the end of November, Canadian environment experience competencies will be implemented within the Competency-Based Assessment System.

At the end of November, Canadian environment experience competencies will be implemented within the Competency-Based Assessment System. The Competency-Based Assessment System is an online portal where candidates for licensure justify their competence by explaining how situational actions demonstrate their achievement of the required competencies. The competency-based assessment approach is a less subjective and more transparent way of measuring a candidate’s readiness for licensure as an engineer.

Among the 34 competencies within the system, Engineers Canada and admissions officials from across the 12 engineering regulators have identified eight competencies that must be achieved within Canada or “equivalent” to Canada. Work experience obtained outside of Canada is accepted if an applicant demonstrates a good understanding of local Canadian engineering laws, practices, standards, codes, conditions or climates. “Equivalent” experience is determined through detailed review and accepted at the discretion of the regulatory bodies/committees. 

Regulators who are using or have committed to use of the online system:

  • Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan
  • Engineers and Geoscientists BC
  • Engineers PEI
  • Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba
  • Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL)
  • Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick

Throughout 2020, these Canadian environment experience competencies were piloted in British Columbia and will now be available to all regulators who are using the online system. Applicants using the online system are supported by a Working in Canada Seminar developed by Engineers and Geoscientists BC that provides instruction and an ability to test the user’s general understanding of these competencies.

The use of Canadian environment competencies is a replacement for the requirement that candidates obtain one year of Canadian work experience. Under the new model, candidates are asked to provide Canadian (or equivalent) experience examples that meets the minimum level required for these eight competencies, regardless of over how long a period they were practiced.

In rulings by various human rights and fairness commissioners, it has been stated that Canadian experience requirements act as a barrier to licensure, with strict local-and time-bound experience requirements considered arbitrary. These commissioners have placed the onus on employers and regulatory bodies to show that a requirement for prior work experience in Canada is a bona fide requirement and they have recommended using competency-based methods to assess an applicant’s skill and ability as an alternative.

The eight Canadian environmental experience competencies

Competency Category

Minimum Score

Mandatory Competency

Competency 1.1


Demonstrate knowledge of regulations, codes, standards, and safety - this includes local engineering procedures and practices as applicable

Competency 1.6


Safety awareness: be aware of safety risks inherent in the design; Demonstrate Safety Awareness – on-site and possible safety authorization/certificate as appropriate

Competency 1.9


Understand the concept of quality control during design and construction including independent design check and independent reviews of design, field checks and reviews

Competency 2.1


Oral Communication (in English/French)

Competency 2.2


Writing (in English/French)

Competency 2.3


Reading and Comprehension (in English/French)

Competency 5.1


Work with integrity, ethically and within professional standards

Competency 6.2


Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the engineering activity and the public