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Moving Out of Canada – Where to Park your P.Eng. Licence

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked a great question about licensing so I wanted to share it with you. My friend was leaving Canada for a while and wanted some advice about what to do with his licence.

leaving Canada and parking P.Eng.
Q.  Hello Gavin, it’s time to renew my PEO membership again and I do plan on keeping my professional engineer membership in good standing. Since I will not be practising engineering in Canada, I believe I have a choice as to which province I register myself in. In your view, which province do you think I should leave my license registered with? It would be ideal if that membership offers the most flexibility to make a transfer later and is low maintenance in nature. 🙂

A. That's a great question. P.Eng. licences can be transferred from one association to the other as part of the National Mobility Agreement between associations. So you are not tied to your association and can choose freely. If you're leaving Canada for less than 3 years, it is probably not worth the effort to change provinces and then change back later. If you are leaving for 4+ years, the easiest option would be for you to focus on an Association with:

1. No continuing education
2. Lowest annual dues
There are two provinces that don't currently have mandatory continuing education: BC and Ontario. The provincial fees are shown below:

Engineering Association - Fee Comparison
Engineering Associations - Fee Comparison for P.Eng. Licence

Since PEO has no mandatory continuing education requirements (at time of writing) and the lowest annual dues, I would recommend staying with PEO and renew your dues annually.  

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  1. Gavin Simone on September 27, 2016 at 11:17 am

    BC and Ontario look like they will be adding continuing education in the near future so don’t expect the optional continuing education to last for long.

  2. Obai on July 6, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Gavin,

    I have always wanted to possibilities for the P.Eng status if one would want to work overseas. As you’ve stated, maintaining the license is at the best interest of the licensed professionals. Regardless of working timeline overseas, the registration fees I believe is negligible compared to try to re-instate the status if one decides to come back to work in Canada. Beside, being able to include the professional engineer designation would provide more credential to the candidate for potential employment opportunities overseas. I’m not sure about the continuing education requirement status at this point, but I won’t hesitate abiding by new requirements anyway.

    Thanks for your valuable insights in this matter.

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