On the same day that he endorsed recommendations by the Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) association to strengthen regulation of the profession, Paul Bélanger, Commissioner of the Elliot Lake Inquiry, released his final report into the Algo Centre Mall parking deck roof collapse of June, 2012. The Inquiry Report makes 71 recommendations; many that would significantly strengthen the regulation of Ontario’s engineering profession. Significant new responsibilities for Ontario’s municipalities and Chief Building Officials are also proposed.
“We are anticipating that Commissioner Bélanger’s report will have considerable impact on Ontario’s engineering profession”, said Barry Steinberg, CEO of Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO). “Ultimately, the significance of these recommendations hinge on what the Government of Ontario chooses to adopt. Attorney General Meilleur has immediately committed to an advisory panel to consult with stakeholders on how to move forward on these proposals. CEO is looking forward to being intimately engaged in this process”, Steinberg said.
Of particular importance for engineers are the commission’s recommendations calling for: establishing a system of continuing professional education for professional engineering license holders; developing a new performance standard for structural inspections of existing buildings; a requirement for a Structural Adequacy Report of existing buildings, prepared and sealed by a professional engineer certified as a structural engineering specialist, and; providing additional information about professional engineering license holders that have been disciplined for professional misconduct.
“If enacted, these recommendations represent a net benefit for all concerned”, remarked Steinberg. “They will strengthen our profession’s fiduciary responsibility to serve and protect the public interest, as stipulated in the Professional Engineers Act. Going forward the real burden will be on the province and municipalities. There are new responsibilities for Chief
Building Officials, and new requirements requiring changes to the Ontario Building Code impacting record keeping and reporting for the province and municipalities. Success will be defined by what effective enforcement looks like. It will be interesting to see to what recommendations are adopted.”