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Public guideline for the engineer-in-training program

February, 2012



Engineers Canada’s national guidelines and white papers were developed by engineers in collaboration with the provincial and territorial engineering regulators. They are intended to promote consistent practices across the country. They are not regulations or rules; they seek to define or explain discrete topics related to the practice and regulation of engineering in Canada.

The national guidelines and white papers do not establish a legal standard of care or conduct, and they do not include or constitute legal or professional advice.   

In Canada, engineering is regulated under provincial and territorial law by the engineering regulators. The recommendations contained in the national guidelines and white papers may be adopted by the engineering regulators in whole, in part, or not at all. The ultimate authority regarding the propriety of any specific practice or course of conduct lies with the engineering regulator in the province or territory where the engineer works, or intends to work.  

About this Guideline

This national guideline was prepared by the Canadian Engineering Qualifications Board (CEQB) and provides guidance to regulators in consultation with them. Readers are encouraged to consult their regulators’ related engineering acts, regulations and bylaws in conjunction with this guideline.

About Engineers Canada

Engineers Canada is the national organization of the provincial and territorial associations that regulate the practice of engineering in Canada and license the country's 295,000 members of the engineering profession.

About the Canadian Engineering Qualifications Board

CEQB is a committee of the Engineers Canada Board and is a volunteer-based organization that provides national leadership and recommendations to regulators on the practice of engineering in Canada. CEQB develops guidelines and white papers for regulators and the public that enable the assessment of engineering qualifications, facilitate the mobility of engineers, and foster excellence in engineering practice and regulation.

1 Introduction

Provincial/territorial legislation requires individuals who practice engineering in each jurisdiction to be licensed by the appropriate engineering regulator. To be licensed, applicants must:

  • be academically qualified;
  • have demonstrated acceptable engineering work experience in their areas of qualification;
  • have an understanding of local practices and conditions;
  • be competent in the language of their jurisdiction of practice;
  • be of good character; and
  • understand and apply laws and ethical principles that affect the practice of engineering both directly and indirectly, and the professional standards to which they are held accountable.

Once the academic qualifications have been obtained, the remaining requirements (with the possible exception of language competency) are met during a period of time (four years as per the Public Guideline on Admission to the Practice of Engineering in Canada) in which the applicant should be an engineer-in-training. It is during this period that the engineer-in-training would develop from being a candidate for licensure into being an engineer.

path to engineering licensure diagrame

Figure 1:  Engineer-in-Training Program - How It Fits In

1.1 Purpose of the engineer-in-training program

The purpose of the Engineer-in-Training Program is to help ensure the development of the engineer-in-training from an engineering graduate to a fully qualified engineer who is technically and professionally capable of assuming responsibility for the practice of engineering as defined in the Public guideline on the practice of engineering. The Engineer-in-Training Program provides the link between being a candidate for licensure (as a student or as an International Engineering Graduate) and any programs for continuing competence or professional development, as illustrated in Figure 1. It is structured to help graduates of both Accreditation Board-accredited programs and non-accredited programs meet the engineering work experience requirements and develop and demonstrate knowledge of professionalism and ethics. It will help the individual engineer-in-training understand his or her relationship with the employer/client, the engineering regulator, and society, as illustrated in Figure 2. The engineer-in-training can contribute to all three of these in different ways and, by so doing, the engineer-in-training becomes the driving force behind his or her own success.

value of eit diagram

Figure 2:  Engineer-in-training Interaction

1.2 Value of the engineer-in-training program

The value of the Engineer-in-Training Program to the employer is that the end product of the Program is an Engineer who has the necessary competencies to practise independently. The employers gain insight into the engineering profession, gain understanding of the professional needs of their engineering staff and benefit from building a cadre of engineers in-house.

The value of the Engineer-in-Training Program to the engineer-in-training is the guidance provided to help ensure that quality experience is obtained, professionalism and ethics are developed, and licensure is achieved as seamlessly as possible. An Engineer-in-Training Program also introduces the concept of lifelong learning and emphasizes the importance of self-regulation.

The value of the Engineer-in-Training Program to society is that the engineer-in-training will have gained a thorough understanding of the impact of his or her actions on the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare and the environment. The engineer-in-training will also have learned to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

The regulator will benefit from having an Engineer-in-Training Program that brings engineering graduates into the profession, enables it to monitor their work experience and provide them with meaningful feedback. There are also benefits to the engineering profession such as:

  • members who are better prepared and professionally motivated at the time of registration;
  • fewer difficult or borderline cases for determination at admission;
  • higher quality assurance with respect to admitted candidates; and
  • increased interaction and relevance with employers.

This guideline provides the framework for the development and implementation of an Engineer-in-Training Program. It is provided to the regulators in order to promote a common basis for such programs. By adopting this Guideline, the regulators will be helping to ensure sufficient commonality of Engineer-in-Training Programs to allow for the relatively seamless mobility of engineers-in-training across Canada.

2 Route to licensure through engineer-in-training program

Candidates seeking licensure in Canada have varied backgrounds and as a result there may be alternative paths through the Engineer-in-Training Program.  All candidates for licensure should be encouraged to proceed through the Engineer-in-Training Program to take advantage of the guidance offered by the regulator, supervisor and/or mentor in ensuring that they are gaining relevant engineering work experience to satisfy the requirements. This guidance includes how to demonstrate engineering work experience that meets the requirements as well as how to present the necessary information to the regulator. All recent graduates should be encouraged to proceed through the full Engineer-in-Training Program if they are not already required to do so.

Candidates with many years of experience should also be encouraged to enrol in the Engineer-in-Training Program for the time required to gain their Canadian experience. During this time they will also demonstrate their continued professional development, demonstrate their participation-related development, and write the Professional Practice Examination. It is recognized that not all applicants for licensure will be enrolled in an Engineer-in-Training program; nonetheless, employers, supervisors, mentors and the engineering regulators are reminded that the required elements of the Engineer-in-Training Program apply to all applicants.

3 Engineering work experience

A minimum of four years of acceptable engineering work experience (two years in Quebec), including at least one year in a Canadian environment, is required. The Canadian environment requirement is to ensure that the engineer-in-training has a good knowledge of local Canadian practices.

The Public guideline on admission to the practice of engineering in Canada defines the engineering work experience requirement as demonstrating the core engineering competencies. The competencies are:

  • apply engineering knowledge, methods and techniques;
  • use engineering tools, technology and equipment;
  • protect the public interest;
  • manage engineering activities;
  • communicate engineering information;
  • work collaboratively in the Canadian environment; and
  • maintain and enhance engineering skills and knowledge.

Applicants demonstrate that they meet the core engineering competencies by providing descriptions of situations from their engineering work experience where they have used each competency. The core engineering competencies allow the regulators to assess the quality of engineering work experience, by looking not just at what an applicant has done, but by also looking at how and why tasks are completed. The method that each regulator uses to assess the engineering work experience requirements varies.

A full description of each competency, including what actions an individual would take to demonstrate that they meet a competency, can be found in the Public guideline on admission to practice.

The Public guideline on admission to the practice of engineering in Canada recommends that engineering work experience normally be obtained while applicants are enrolled as engineers-in-training, to help ensure that they obtain the guidance and supervision necessary to prepare them technically and professionally for licensing.

Under the Engineer-in-Training Program, every engineer-in-training should preferably have a supervisor who is an engineer. The supervisor should provide technical and professional guidance to the engineer-in-training, and assume responsibility for the engineering work done by the engineer-in-training. The role of the supervisor is fully defined in Appendix A.

Ideally an additional engineer should also be assigned to the engineer-in-training to serve as a mentor for the duration of the Engineer-in-Training Program. The mentor should provide the guidance that the engineer-in-training requires to help ensure that he or she is aware of the core engineering competencies and is engaged in work that will allow the applicant to demonstrate them. The role of the mentor is fully defined in Appendix A.

All engineers-in-training should be asked to develop competency demonstrations as they accumulate engineering work experience. The regulator should provide guidance and feedback to the engineer-in-training on the competency demonstrations. The reporting and feedback process may include written or on-line reports and should provide the engineer-in-training with an indication of his or her progress to date. This progress should be transferable, should the engineer-in-training relocate to another jurisdiction.

3.1 Participation-related development

The engineer-in-training should be encouraged to include participation-related activities in their development. The overall purpose of participation-related development is to help ensure that the engineer-in-training develops into an engineer who is a well-rounded member of the community (where community can include geographic location, regulator, profession, etc.) who understands and appreciates the importance of volunteer work for the profession. More specifically, the engineer-in-training’s participation-related development should allow for:

  • An appreciation of the importance of volunteer service to, and on behalf of, the engineering profession and contribution to the engineering profession by the engineer-in-training.
  • The development of interpersonal skills, such as organizational, teamwork, and delegation skills outside of the workplace.
  • An improved awareness of contributions of engineers to society as well as contributions to society by the engineer-in-training.

A description of activities that allow for participation-related development is provided in Appendix B.

3.2 Reporting and evaluating

A significant component of the Engineer-in-Training Program is reporting on and evaluating engineering work experience and the core engineering competencies. Engineers-in-training should record their work experience and professional development activities on an ongoing basis and report these activities as required. Engineering regulators should provide timely feedback and guidance to engineers-in-training on their progression towards satisfying the requirements for registration as an engineer.

Each regulator has established its own reporting requirements. For more details, consult the website of the relevant engineering regulator.

Because the Engineer-in-Training Program requires the supervisor’s support and co-operation, and involves continuing education and professional development, the regulator should ensure that all employers and supervisors are aware of the requirements of the Engineer-in-Training Program. The regulator should seek the assistance and support of employers in ensuring that engineers-in-training have an engineer supervisor who will co-operate with the Engineer-in-Training Program, and in ensuring that the engineer-in-training is provided with the opportunity to engage in sufficient and appropriate professional development activities.

The regulator should ensure that all supervisors and mentors are aware of their responsibilities within the context of the Engineer-in-Training Program, as described in Appendix A.

4 Professionalism and ethics

The engineer-in-training must develop and demonstrate knowledge of professionalism and ethics. This may be assessed through interviews, reports from referees, the engineer-in-training reporting on his or her work experience, and the Professional Practice Examination (see Public guideline on the professional practice examination).

The work environment of the engineer-in-training should provide an opportunity to develop an understanding and observe the application of the laws and regulations governing the practice of engineering in the jurisdiction of practice, and to gain an appreciation of business and social ethics in an engineering work environment. This will enable the engineer-in-training to understand:

  • the value of the title of engineer in their work;
  • the need to develop a social and environmental awareness;
  • the role of the Profession in society;
  • how to apply the concepts of professionalism with respect to protecting the public interest;
  • the need to support the regulator in return for the privilege of practising in a self-regulated profession;
  • the importance of working at all times within the limits of personal training and experience;
  • the concepts of responsibility, accountability and liability; and
  • the laws and regulations governing the practice of the profession in the jurisdiction.

Appendix A – Roles of the supervisor, mentor and engineer-in-training

The following interpretations provide more detailed descriptions of the principal roles included in the guideline:

  • the Engineer-in-Training;
  • the Supervisor; and
  • the Mentor.

I – The engineer-in-training

The engineer-in-training is a candidate for licensure who has met the academic and good character requirements, and is in a period of on-the-job training in order to meet the work experience requirements for licensure. These requirements include having sufficient acceptable engineering work experience and having an understanding of:

  • the application of the Engineers Act, Regulations, By-laws and professional Code of Ethics in a professional environment;
  • the responsibilities and potential liabilities of participating in a self-regulated profession;
  • the importance of the engineer’s relationship with clients, employers, the regulator and the public;
  • the importance of continuous professional development to enhance technical competence, organizational, personal, team, and business skills;
  • the limits of one’s own knowledge, both technically and in terms of “soft skills”; and
  • local practices and conditions.

The training period gives the engineer-in-training exposure to these elements and provides them with time to fully understand and actively demonstrate their application.

By the end of the training period, the engineer-in-training should have developed into a fully qualified engineer who is technically and professionally capable of assuming responsibility for the practice of engineering.

Role of the engineer-in-training

The engineer-in-training is responsible for complying with the Engineer-in-Training Program, gaining appropriate experience, advice, and exposure to engineering ethics and professionalism, as well as carrying out professional development activities.

The engineer-in-training works under the direction of a supervisor(s), and may also have a mentor for further guidance (see related sections, below).

Engineers-in-training should:

  • understand and comply with the requirements of theirregulator’s Engineer-in-Training Program;
  • be an active participant in their own training process;
  • document all work experience and professional development activities in a format that is acceptable to the regulator;
  • develop effective communication, decision-making and leadership skills;
  • use their intellectual and analytical abilities to further their professional development; and
  • take responsibility for the development of their own careers.

In the end, the success of the engineer-in-training development period rests primarily on the interest, enthusiasm, self-motivation and curiosity of the individual engineer-in-training.

Engineers-in-training can work in engineering without a licence provided the work is conducted under the supervision of an engineer who reviews and takes responsibility for the work. This person does not have to be the direct supervisor of the engineer-in-training. 

Engineers-in-training may not engage in the unsupervised practice of engineering or the independent practice of professional.

Typical processes for engineers-in-training


typical processes for eit diagram



Tools from Engineers Canada

II – The supervisor

A supervisor is normally an engineer who oversees the work of the engineer-in-training, as stated in the Engineers Act or Standards of Practice.  A supervisor has the authority to give instructions and assign work to subordinates and is held responsible for this work.

Role of the supervisor

The role of the supervisor is to assign appropriate engineering work to an engineer-in-training in order to assist in their development as an independent practitioner. A good supervisor will consider the welfare of employees as well as the work that must be accomplished for the success of the organization. The supervisor also plays a role in the continuing education and professional development of the engineer-in-training.

In order to best assist the engineer-in-training in their development as an independent practitioner, supervisors should be engineers. In cases where this is not possible, the engineering work of the engineer-in-training must still be reviewed by an engineer. See the section on the non-engineer supervisor below.

All supervisors should:

  • ensure the assigned work provides opportunities for the engineer-in-training to complete each of the engineering experience requirements;
  • provide an example of good work practices and organizational skills, such as note taking, logbook entries, calculations, and developing good filing and recording habits;
  • be aware of the experience requirements of the regulator;
  • ensure that assignments are progressive in complexity and responsibility, and lead towards the engineer-in-training becoming an independent professional;
  • assign work appropriate to the abilities of the engineer-in-training;
  • provide advice and support that allows for the development of the engineer-in-training;
  • keep the engineer-in-training apprised of their performance and make suggestions for improvement;
  • provide management development and practical experience opportunities;
  • increase awareness of activities and duties at different levels of the organization;
  • encourage participation in industry, technical and professional societies; and
  • assist the engineer-in-training in locating professional development and technical training opportunities.

Engineering supervisors should also:

  • take responsibility for the work of the engineer-in-training;
  • be in the same area of practice as the engineer-in-training;
  • ensure the accuracy of the work from a technical perspective;
  • promote the engineering profession and the aims of the regulator to engineers-in-training;
  • demonstrate the importance of subscribing to the Code of Ethics and practising to the benefit of the public;
  • certify the documentation of the work experience prepared by the engineer-in-training for the purpose of obtaining professional status; and
  • act as a referee for the engineer-in-training as part of the licensing process.

Non-engineer supervisors:

  • should ensure that a licence holder is assigned to take responsibility for the engineering work of the engineer-in-training; and
  • are encouraged to contact the engineering regulator to ensure that all of the responsibilities for the supervision of an engineer-in-training are still met.

III - The mentor

Mentoring is a planned pairing of a more skilled or experienced person with a lesser skilled or experienced person. The goal is for the less experienced person to grow and develop specific abilities to reach long-term objectives. The mentoring process should be a positive one for both the engineer-in-training and the mentor.

Caution:  In some jurisdictions, the term mentor is used to designate the engineer who takes responsibility for the engineering work in the case where the engineer-in-training’s supervisor is not a licence holder. However, in this guide, the term is more broadly defined as an experienced and trusted adviser or guide.

Role of the mentor

The mentor's role should not take the place of the employer's training or supervision. It is, in general, a complementary role to help guide, counsel, provide inspiration and be a role model for the engineer-in-training.

A mentor should:

  • assist new graduates with the transition from academics to professional practice;
  • promote the profession and the aims of the regulator to engineers-in-training;
  • orient engineers-in-training to typical Canadian business culture and practices;
  • assist engineers-in-training to achieve professional status;
  • provide assistance with the non-technical areas of the Engineer-in-Training Program such as communication and interpersonal skills, management skills, and understanding the societal impact of practising the profession;
  • help to broaden the engineer-in-training’s knowledge of the engineering business as a whole;
  • encourage the engineer-in-training to consider options for career and professional development;
  • guide the engineer-in-training in finding resolutions to challenging situations;
  • encourage participation in industry, technical, and professional societies;
  • hold all discussions with the engineer-in-training confidential unless otherwise agreed upon with the engineer-in-training; and
  • regularly meet with the engineer-in-training to discuss progress on goals and objectives that have been set by the engineer-in-training.

A mentor should not:

  • replace formal professional development;
  • replace formal technical training;
  • provide an avenue for rapid advancement through the ranks of an organization;
  • provide an alternative to developing effective and professional relationships with supervisors;
  • solve the engineer-in-training’s problems, as a mentor assists the engineer-in-training by providing guidance only;
  • replace a formal performance evaluation; or
  • replace the Board of Examiners or Experience Review Committee (unless the mentor has been given a specific mandate to review the engineer-in-training’s work experience on behalf of the regulator).

Requirements to become a mentor:

The ideal mentor is a registered engineer with at least seven years of experience in the practice of engineering. In addition, the mentor should:

  • display a certain level of maturity or experience;
  • be experienced in mentoring techniques;
  • be aware of the responsibilities of mentoring; and
  • be able to provide references attesting to their own professional conduct.

The mentor should be at arms-length from the engineer-in-training (i.e. not a relative, friend, or supervisor), and they should be able to maintain a professional relationship with the engineer-in-training.

The mentor as defined in this interpretive guide is not to take responsibility, technical or otherwise, for the work of the engineer-in-training.  The mentor's role is to encourage and guide.

IV - Terms used by the Canadian engineering regulators




Engineer-in Training

Ingénieur Stagiaire

The engineer-in-training is a candidate for licensure who has met the academic and good character requirements, and is in a period of on-the-job training in order to meet the work experience requirements for licensure

Engineering Intern

Ingénieur Stagiaire

Similar to Engineer-in-Training; used in Ontario.

Junior Engineer

Ingénieur Junior

Similar to Engineer-in-Training; used in Quebec.


Membre Stagiaire

Used in regulators that have both engineering and geoscience members to refer to both engineers and geoscientists in training.



One who is a trusted counsellor or guide.




An engineer who provides feedback on the character or the engineering work experience of the engineer-in-training to the engineering regulator.



English translation of “Parrain” from OIQ; equivalent to Mentor, but with a formal role in the Sponsorship Program, as defined in OIQ’s regulations.



Manager of the engineer-in-training


The following approaches may be taken to provide/obtain participation related training:

  • offer courses in Personal Development (i.e. additional knowledge not directly related to employment but useful for rounding out a person’s skill set);
  • offer networking opportunities for engineers-in-training (e.g. belong to a regulator chapter, interface with students at university, develop engineer-in-training groups to discuss technical items, non-technical items or just socialize);
  • participate in outreach activities in universities/schools, the regulator or the community.

Participation could be divided into professional and community service.

The following are examples of activities in these areas:

Professional service activities

  • Participate in organizing or making a presentation at a regulator general or chapter meeting or seminar.
  • Serve on a regulator committee.
  • Participate in the activities of a technical society committee.
  • Provide job shadowing for a student.
  • Mentor a student outside the workplace.
  • Participate at a science fair.
  • Prepare and deliver a presentation on engineering as a career to an elementary, junior or senior high school class, or to a youth organization.
  • Participate in career days or a careers symposium by staffing a booth and/or preparing and setting up a display on engineering.
  • Sponsor an engineering student at the annual engineering dinner.

Community service activities

  • Hold a board position and actively participate in the operation of a community club, cultural group, or religious organization.
  • Coach or manage a team or organize a cultural event.
  • Participate in a community volunteer organization.
  • Assist in the organization and production (sound, lights, stage etc) of a community event such as a play or concert.
  • Organize and co-ordinate a charity event.