Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), the licensing and regulating body for professional engineering in the province, welcomed Tuesday’s ruling from the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry that determined that PEO’s obligations for handling information it collects under the Professional Engineers Act do not apply to the Commission’s handling of the same information under the Public Inquiries Act.
Under section 38(1)(c) of the Professional Engineers Act, PEO must obtain consent from an affected party prior to releasing information obtained in the course of administering the act that is not otherwise public. In requesting an order under section 10(4) of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure, PEO highlighted this obligation and requested that the Commission similarly give notice and an opportunity to consent or make submissions to those named in PEO’s documents, prior to any pre-hearing release of the documents.
In his ruling denying PEO’s request, Commissioner Paul R. Bélanger found that section 38 of the Professional Engineers Act has no application to the Commission’s release of information. The Commissioner also noted that PEO “has produced all relevant documents in its possession to the Commission as it was required to do pursuant to the Commission’s summons.”
“PEO will continue to fully support and cooperate with Commissioner Bélanger and the important work of the Commission,” said Michael Price, acting chief executive officer and registrar of PEO.
As the regulator of professional engineering in Ontario, PEO requested and was granted standing in Part I of the Inquiry, which deals with events prior to the collapse of part of the Algo Centre Mall. PEO has also opened its own investigations into what part, if any, the conduct of its licence and certificate holders might have played in the tragedy.