Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) obtained an Order in the Superior Court of Justice on Friday, February 13 against 2322650 Ontario Limited (operating as Erie Structures) and its principals William David Dendekker, Jonathon Joel Dendekker and Bernard Fehr, requiring that the company and its principals stop representing that they can perform “engineering” or that the company has “engineers”. The court also ordered the respondents to pay PEO’s application costs in the amount of $5,586.36.
PEO received two independent complaints, one regarding the use of a false seal on a project in Mount Albert undertaken by Erie Greenhouse Systems Inc., and a second regarding a project in Kingsville undertaken by Erie Greenhouse Structures Inc. Erie Greenhouse Systems Inc. and Erie Greenhouse Structures Inc. are predecessors to Erie Structures and are currently bankrupt. A PEO investigation found that Erie Structures and its predecessor corporations operated from the same address in Tillsonburg, Ontario, and had shared management. The Erie companies had carried out the structural design, preparation of engineering drawings, permit applications and construction for both the Mount Albert and Kingsville projects. Erie Greenhouse Structures Inc. and Erie Structures were also holding out that they performed “engineering” on their websites and in their printed materials. At no time did any of the Erie companies hold a PEO Certificate of Authorization to provide professional engineering services, nor did any of them employ a professional engineer.
In the court proceedings, the Honourable Mr. Justice Stinson found: “The material filed demonstrates the unauthorized use of the terms ‘engineer’ and ‘engineering’ in breach of the Professional Engineers Act,” and further went on in his endorsement to say: “Given the potential serious consequences of the unauthorized practice of engineering that may result from such unauthorized use, an order restraining such conduct is appropriate.” He ordered that Erie Structures cease using the words “engineer,” or “engineering” or any other term, title or description that will lead to the belief that it may provide to the public services that are within the practice of professional engineering. As such, Erie Structures may no longer represent on its website or in its printed materials that it employs engineers or that it may perform engineering services. He also ordered William David Dendekker, Jonathon Joel Dendekker and Bernard Fehr to ensure that any company for which they are an officer or director refrain from holding out as an engineering firm, unless the company holds a Certificate of Authorization.
Safina Lakhani, of Toronto law firm Polley Faith LLP, represented PEO on the application.
Under the Professional Engineers Act, a public protection statute, only corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships that hold a PEO Certificate of Authorization are permitted to offer or provide professional engineering services to the public or hold themselves out as an engineering company. As well, only those individuals licensed by PEO may practise and take responsibility for professional engineering work.
PEO would like to thank the building departments in Kingsville and East Gwillimbury for their cooperation in its investigation.