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Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)
18

Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
Hi,
I am considering to take some freelance mechanical engineering jobs in platforms like Upwork or equivalent. I am resident of Canada.

My questions:
- Is it required that I obtain some kind of permit / license from authorities to do freelance job ? FYI, I am not licensed as professional engineer yet. Does it has to do with the nature of the work being performed?
Or does it has to do with the regulations that apply where the client is located?
Can this activity involves "export" and therefore be subject to some restrictions (like US dept. of commerce has) ? Is there something like a "know your customer process" I would need to follow?

- I can call myself professional engineer but in other jurisdictions and that is outside Canada (e.g. use CEng style, etc.) - would this be okay as long as I make it clear in the professional title I am using?

- Is there any kind of fiscal registration do I have to do to freelance? or does this just boil down to me filling my tax return as required (contractor).

Thanks in advance

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning dance in the rain.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

If you are located in Canada and practicing engineering (regardless of whether it is through an online platform, a traditional consulting firm, or any other organization), you must meet the requirements of your province's engineering regulatory body. Normally, for independent practice, that requires professional engineer registration in that province. Selling your work through an online platform does not grant you any exception to the provincial engineering laws.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

rotw…

I don't know anything about the rules in Canada, so I will give you my California perspective. However, I suspect there are many similarities.
- Legally, you CANNOT call yourself a professional engineer in California unless you are licensed as a professional engineer. Period. End of story. Since you are not licensed, you would not be able to OFFER to perform professional engineering work in California, but you could perform engineering work under the "responsible charge" of a licensed engineer. I don't think your plan meets these requirements.
- However, certain kinds of engineering work in California are exempt from the licensure requirements. For example, government engineers are mostly exempt and engineers engaged in manufacturing are exempt (it's called the "industrial exemption"). But, if you perform work in the public space (e.g. HVAC design for buildings), see the previous bullet. (So, yes, it does matter what type of work you plan to perform.)
- In California, Civil, Mechanical, and Electrical are called "practice act" disciplines, while other flavors of engineering (e.g. chemical, agricultural, nuclear, etc.) are called "title act" disciplines. For the former, both the practice of that discipline and the title are legally protected. For the latter, only the title is protected. What this means is that a properly experienced and licensed mechanical engineer can perform corrosion engineering, but would have to use the title "Mechanical Engineer" and not "Corrosion Engineer". The opposite, however, it not true: a corrosion engineer cannot practice mechanical engineering without a separate license for mechanical engineering.
- Licensure requirements apply to the location of the project, not the location of the client or the location of the engineer. I am only licensed in California, so I can independently perform engineering work only in California. For the handful of times I have designed civil improvements in other states, it has always been under the responsible charge of an engineer properly licensed in that state.

The upshot of all this is you better learn the rules for the jurisdictions you might be working in.* You lack of a professional license is the first roadblock I see. Also, if you want to work in multiple jurisdictions in Canada, I suspect you will need multiple licenses. Certainly, in the USA that is the case. BTW, some of the engineers that participate in the forum perform engineering work in both Canada and USA and they can better advise you about "export" issues, etc.

* Every few years I read through the California Professional Engineergs Act. It's a 202-page (half-size) document. It's not easy to stay current on the rules for one state, let alone many.

============
"Is it the only lesson of history that mankind is unteachable?"
--Winston S. Churchill

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
fel3, feel free to share your California perspective; this is also interesting. Thanks for this.

Back to Canada, if I advertise myself not as an engineer. Say I advertise myself as "fired heater technician specialist".
In regard to the work itself, if I indicates that I perform the work as a skilled trade in certain discipline which may involve dealing with formulas and calculations. If we leave a part the client side of things (they might be looking for an engineer per se), would that be a way to work around all this headache? Do I need to get a permit from skilled trade regulatory body too?
Not want to be unethical here, I will comply with the regulations. What I realize is that not advertising myself as an engineer would probably makes it even more harder for me to get hired for certain jobs. It is just that I am willing to get a big money cut if this can be legal workaround somehow. Going through the P.Eng. licensing process is something I prefer not to do at this time, even though I know I am most likely admissible. Furthermore, it is such a long long way to go (estimated to 2~3 years - optimistic case) that probably by the time the process is completed, the freelance market/type of projects I am targeting to take would have completely shifted to something else (e.g. renewable energy technology, something else?).

How does this work for IT / software engineering? It is a bit different topic but I am curious.
- If I develop a software or do programming stuff for a client via an online platform, do I also need to get some kind of permit?
- If I sell a software (actually the license), which I developed myself, are there considerations that I need to keep in mind?

Thanks for your help

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning dance in the rain.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
Looks like I found some sort of answer to second part (software engineering) here:
https://www.quora.com/Are-software-engineers-requi...

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning dance in the rain.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

Rotw,
Do you have a journeymans' certificate? Without it you have the same dilemma.

Getting a trade or professional license isn't a headache (usually). It's supposed to be a guarantee to the client that you have some credibility. If you claim to practice engineering, prove it (P.Eng.). Just like when you claim that a boiler can withstand the pressure, prove it (stamped report). And if you're fabricating the pressure vessel to code, prove it (journeyman).
The legal concept is the same everywhere: claim -> proof
This is a litigious world. Not a lot of stuff can be sold to the public without a certificate or license of some sort. Each province has laws, not just regulations, prohibiting the practice of engineering without a license or the fabrication or installation of certain equipment by unlicensed persons. Pressure vessels, furnaces, electrical panels, etc.

In the real world, many people face headwinds to getting their qualifications accepted. Apprenticeships get interrupted by lay-offs. Showing equivalency of foreign credentials. The list is long. There are strategies that some people use to accelerate the process. Sometimes a university will accept your undergrad engineering degree but the province won't, so you can do your Master's and then go get your P.Eng. If you want to practice independently, you really should get your license.

There's a lot to dive into on this subject. It's best to read through the registration and ethics materials of the professional engineering board, of whichever province you live in, to know more about the many rules.

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
SparWeb,

Thanks for the input. Appreciated, really. But actually, I know this information a bit. What I mean to say is that, before moving to Canada, I already got my chartered engineering license at first place and I did this for the same very reasons you've indicated ; that process was aligned to the UK spec; I know there are profound variations between licensure in US/Canada and the CEng framework. But, as an example, getting chartered and maintain it - was not easy for me, and it took me quite long to get there. Well, that is just my experience. My professional qualifications and my experience is not recognized in general in Canada. It came to me as a shock that in the US my qualifications tend to be ok for employers based on the few calls and discussions I had with companies in the US. Anyhow I am not going to do professional licensure in Canada. I am not willing to spend any more effort, certainly not a single penny on it or on getting (another!) MSc. I would certainly consider enrolling into a study program if I identify a need that I must educate myself and upgrade my skills further. At the root of this, is the fact that I was told during a phone interview that I was lacking so called 'Canadian experience' and that could be a show stopper. I tried to put forward to the recruiter that I got some professional experience/training while onboard of a premium US engineering firm. I was told explicitly by the hiring manager (technical) that this will not tangibly impact the final outcome. After that event, I decided that there are many things I won't entertain anymore. Professional licensure is one of them. I understand this means not getting my entry ticket for freelancing. I might possibly have to change my base country for practicing/billing clients. Will have to see!

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning dance in the rain.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

Hi
Oh, I know your pain. I've actually been through it myself though for different reasons. While jumping through all of the hoops, I've tried to maintain my perspective on the difference between the integrity of the actual process, VS the goal it's trying to achieve. You're seeing the cracks in that integrity - all I can say is that some provinces are better than others. Which isn't a ringing endorsement of the process either, since an inconsistent process doesn't have integrity either. There are some associations that come closer to the ideal goal than others. Your profile says "Quebec" which is probably the worst possible choice in the entire country. Are you willing to relocate for work?

People in HR departments and talent recruiters rarely have any insight into professional qualifications. Even if they do, they are not given latitude for judgement either. If you can't tick a box, don't apply.

In your previous comments, I can't tell how far you have gone with an application at the OIQ. Have you started? If so, is there a roadblock?

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

2
Rotw, I recall some of your posting about 12-18 months ago. At that time you came across as someone trying to circumvent the relevant Canadian regulations. Trying to summarize, your attitude needs a major re-adjustment. You were told at that time that you are not a P.Eng anywhere in Canada and you could not practice any aspect of engineering anywhere in Canada until you apply to one of the provincial associations. The process is not that severe, but if you feel that you are unwilling to deal with a bit of beaurocracy, I guess we'll manage without your services

Practices and regulations in the USA have absolutely zero relevance in any of the Canadian provinces. As an example, the idea that some engineering there is "exempt", completely undermines the concept of professional responsibility. This is not a criticism of American citizens, rather a comment on the likely corruption and dilution of the regulatory regime over the years.

Feel free to take your foreign credentials and practice elsewhere. There have been too many instances over the last 10 years or so of foreign trained individuals who have failed two or three times to demonstrate technical competancy, and then filing discrimination or human rights claims. There isn't a single Canadian taxpayer who is happy having his taxes or professional fees wasted having the authorities fight this foolishness. Having said that , I am happy that these fights are fought, keeping out unqualified personnel.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
miningman,

I can tell you with 100% certainty that I am having way more favorable signals coming from US employers. It is not my intention to move to US. About 3 months ago I have applied to a Canadian firm that has its lead office in the US. My resume landed in the hand of a recruiter in the US. Got a call, then landed a phone interview. The recruiter was positive and said they will definitely contact the Canadian office and ask for a follow up (means -> schedule a physical interview). I guess you know the end of the story right?
I also got very advanced discussion from an European company about 1 month ago but it did not fly because they decided to hire staff member. Anyhow I am not sure I would have accepted an offer. I do not think these EU people are monkeys gambling with their infrastructure projects.
It is not a right attitude to say to me, go away we do not need your services. Because you never know where the global economy is heading at. So if you have such a negative attitude toward people things may turn out awkward.
I was in Calgary some time ago. The economy does not look in a good shape. But it is such a beautiful city, downtown is just amazing. I like it. Its central library is a master piece of design I have not seen such a beautiful building in so many countries. Why then such economic struggle? budget cuts, environment debate? - for sure, but you know that there are so many unutilized talents in the society - and that is happening right now. There are programmers, designers, land planners, incredible creativity to unleash. They just want to exploit this gift and serve the Canadian society ; they will be very proud to do so, I am sure. Your responsible attitude should be to work toward nurturing those talents not erecting barriers by fear of the competitive forces in action . It can be transformational. Yes there must be safeguards, yes there must be regulations. But the whole thing is going above and beyond what one can comprehend and I do not have a good feeling about it. By the way I am also a tax payer so please stop lecturing me on wasted fees.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning dance in the rain.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

Oh
Well then based on that reply to Miningman, and this statement:

"Anyhow I am not going to do professional licensure in Canada."

Then it's end of discussion, isn't it? I was hoping to encourage you to go ahead with taking the professional oath.
Seems you'd rather swear some other way.

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
SparWeb,

I have bothered way too much past employers asking them to fill in endless forms. It is a big annoyance and people have better things to do.
I have spent fortunes translating paperwork here and there. I have been doing this for years now.

It started with clearing immigration (a hell of an application). Evaluating my foreign diplomas was a true nightmare - I cannot count the number of stamps that I needed to collect just to get the final stamp. When I look at the copies of my degrees with all these stamps I am laughing - its just ridiculous.

Could you imagine that I had to book a flight to travel to country of origin to ensure my credentials will be sent directly from university to the credential evaluation office using a sealed envelope with a specific form inside that needed to be stamped too (again)? Over the phone the university that delivered my degrees was very annoyed by the request and they stopped being cooperative so I needed to go there to fix it.

I even needed to get syllabus contents for programs that are now obsolete!
Some of my university professors that are in the grave now!

As for P.Eng, I have already investigated what I needed to do, for example with OIQ I already talked to a counselor.
That is why I know what I have to expect; it goes like this:

- University must send the transcripts to OIQ and on top I have to provide a so called "course by course" credential evaluation (not the general one)
- Professional references have to fill forms for me ; you needs diplomas to understand these forms
- Then I will be required to complete some semester credits; it can range anywhere from two years to few months. Only God knows.
- Then I will have to sit an exam (probably more)
- Then you will get a provisional license and you will need to find job to gain a Canadian experience
- You will need to work under P.Eng supervision (for a period of one year, if I am correct) to become P.Eng

Some people call this a "bit of bureaucracy".

I certainly do not want anything that has to do with registration, fees, bureaucracy, forms, workflows, professional reviews, extra semester credits, credential equivalence, exams, preparation materials / books, reference letters, etc.

There are many ways to work as an engineer without being registered.
A techno-commercial job is some areas is highly technical and you do not need to be P.Eng. That suits me.
And now that I am gently invited to go and serve elsewhere with my foreign diplomas, yeah - it's kind of end of discussion.
But I thank you for your encouragements. What you give you get back.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning dance in the rain.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

Yup Par for the course as they say.

Every pedigreed engineer in the country has jumped through hoops like this.
Many have filled in those reference forms on behalf of others, too.

Why are you an exception?

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

I assume it depends on rules of the jurisdiction the project site is in.
I'm a licensed PE in WI. but if i want to design a building in MN, for example, i need to obtain a license for that state and follow that state's rules. My home state likely doesn't care one bit.
If the remote work is online, or you travel there 2 times a week, shouldn't matter.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

rotw: you are not required to have a P.Eng. license to work as an employee under someone who has a Certificate of Authorization. It's akin to driving with a learner's permit while another driver is in the car and takes responsibility for your actions. That's the route by which all P.Eng.s achieve the required 4 years of mentored experience.

But if you offer services to the public, through any public means including a website, to carry out work defined as professional engineering under the applicable Act and its regulations in that province, you not only need a P.Eng. license, but you also need your own Certificate of Authorization. Calling yourself an engineer would be explicitly forbidden, but not calling yourself an engineer will not protect you from this requirement.

You can call yourself out as a "technical specialist" and see what happens. Maybe you'll get lucky. And if you ever end up in a contract dispute or otherwise in contact with the legal system, you'll be totally screwed. Definitely not recommended.

As to the hoops you need to jump through to obtain a P.Eng. license: the hoops are there for a reason. A P.Eng. license confers responsibilities as well as providing privileges. Those responsibilities extend to protection of the public safety. If it were up to me, I would make a P.Eng. license or status as an EIT an absolute requirement to carry out tasks under the scope of professional engineering- that would make things clearer. It would however prevent engineering firms from using technicians and technologists, scientists and other non-engineers, from carrying out certain tasks which they are otherwise qualified to carry out. It was never intended as a way for engineers to carry out professional engineering without a license or any reasonable path toward licensure. For instance, some are not candidates for licensure because their foreign degree didn't meet the standards set by the licensure bodies for such a degree and hence confirmatory examinations were assigned- and the candidate sees passing confirmatory exams late in their career to be an unreasonable burden. It isn't- if you really want to practice engineering and feel that you are competent to do so.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

I can sympathize a wee bit with foreign-trained engineers going through the licensure process in Canadian provinces. The process for licensure is definitely more challenging than the process for those who got a degree here, and on the face of it, that seems discriminatory. I seriously doubt, however, that these provincial regulators are gleefully inventing new these processes and taking pleasure in watching others struggle through them. Rather, I suspect that the processes are written from learned experience. Requiring that your alma mater send documentation in a sealed envelope is undoubtedly a reaction to falsified documents being sent in by prospective applicants. Requiring references is a small effort to make sure that at least a few people think you're somewhat credible. It's not hard to imagine the origin of these rules and processes.

You mention that you previously carried a C.Eng designation. A colleague of mine once went through that transfer from C.Eng to P.Eng (via Engineers Ireland), and I do not recall that being overly difficult for him. I believe that there's equivalency agreements with several jurisdictions Link. That might be something that you want to look into pursuing.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

@Craig_H: Canada chose to go the route of accrediting degree-granting programs and institutions, rather than making every candidate for licensure sit the ten 3-hour technical examinations. A sensible way to reduce bureaucratic burden on the process of figuring out who was eligible for licensure, when our own graduates made up the majority of the applicants for licensure.

In 2001-2003, however, more principal applicant immigrants with engineering degrees, attempted to settle in Toronto alone, than Canada graduated from all of its universities combined. For reference, the greater Toronto area represented at the time roughly 17% of Canada's jobs. Pretty much all of them applied for licensure. And remember, the licensure body is paid for entirely from licensure fees plus application fees, with no subsidy from the federal government who were accepting these "skilled workers" as economic immigrants. And the educational review committee at PEO, who review the educational qualifications of applicants, aren't hired staff for the most part, but VOLUNTEERS...

Fast forward to claims in the media that the licensure body, PEO, was acting like some kind of "old boys club", preventing qualified immigrants from achieving licensure and by so doing, preventing them from finding work. In reality, they a) didn't need licenses to find work as employees and b) couldn't find work because the labour market was massively over-supplied.

The supply of immigrants fell from those 2001-2003 highs on its own, and then was reduced further by changes to the ill-considered "skilled workers" program in 2005 or thereabouts. But the oversupply situation has continued to get steadily worse. Any engineer can see that the two lines on this graph: the upper one being supply, the lower one being labour force demand- have very different slopes...



Nobody bothered to look at the supply-side figures at the time. Those who did, once the media reports about Indian engineers driving taxis etc. hit the news, and who talked about it publicly, were dismissed as xenophobes or anti-immigrant. Except by the immigrant engineers themselves: the ones who received this information were grateful to finally understand why they were finding it hard to find work in a profession that was suffering from a "shortage". It was clear there was a shortage, but the same persistent shortage that there has always been: a shortage of the engineers with 10 yrs of local experience who weren't hired as fresh grads ten years prior. Immigrants could only at best fill part of that limitless demand for "optimal" employees on the part of businesses who were addicted to zero training cost.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

@moltenmetal, you bring about some fantastic points, and I won't challenge any. That information about the gap between those working and educated is astounding, I had never seen that before. I have tremendous respect for those who choose to give their free time to reviewing applications for licensure, and I did not intend to allege that the processes are discriminatory (but I do see how it can be seen that way). Quite the opposite, I was trying to explain that these volunteers (as you aptly pointed out) likely don't revel in seeing lengthy, complex applications that have tedious piles of paperwork accompanying them. These processes exist out of necessity, they are reactions to those trying to circumvent the system. My apologies if that came across the wrong way, and thanks for the info!

Bottom line: Licensure in Canada is a necessity for independent practice. As many have pointed out, you don't need registration to begin working as a technologist, "specialist", or otherwise practice engineering under the direct supervision of someone who is licensed.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

For the benefit of anyone following this thread, perhaps as preparation for applying for licensure , I offer the following. Moltenmetal has a background and experience such that he is almost uniquely qualified to comment on these matters, particularly in Ontario. Those who choose to ignore his advice do so at their peril.

Personally, I too was a foreign educated graduate engineer when I came to Canada and had to jump thru all these hoops.....and it wasnt that onerous at all!!. Now I chose to settle in northern Manitoba, which is most certainly not one of the preferred destinations for immigrants. Climatic conditions explain this. However when I applied for P.Eng staus I was perhaps in a group of less than 100, compared to the thousands who choose to settle, specifically in Toronto , Montreal or Vancouver annually. I was asked to sit two confirmatory exams, one of which horrified me...... I was not a grade A student at university. At the recommendation of a colleague who had recently jumped thru all these hoops, I was able to convince the local association , that sitting only one exam should be satisfactory for their purposes, and my argument was sucessfull.

Then I was extremely gratified to learn that this was an " open book exam ". Previously, I had never heard this expression and was delighted to learn that I could take in as many text books and references as I wanted and they even supplied a list of text books that would cover the exam material!!!!. The exam didnt really challenge my abilities.

The points here, that as a new immigrant , perhaps Ontario is not an ideal location to settle. Perhaps one of the less populated provinces might be easier. Regardless , if your education is such that you cant pass these exams with all your reference materials besides you, perhaps you should abandon your engineering expectations.

Now all of this was 40 years ago , and maybe things have changed, but the point is, until you accept that these hurdles and exams are part of the immigration process, you are not entitled practice engineering in Canada.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

The same basic statistics apply to the US as well, so it's unclear whether the same rationale holds true. http://shortsleeveandtieclub.com/what-percentage-o...

The fact of the matter is that most people going to college really don't have any firm notion of what they want to do with their lives or their degrees, other than having been told that engineering is well-paying, which it is, compared to the jobs most psych majors get. However, the reality is that the human forebrain does complete development until age 25, by which time the bearer of that forebrain finally recognizes what they signed up for, or doesn't see what they signed up for as being the end-all and be-all.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
Sparweb,

Why are you an exception?

When I was much much younger, my absolute dream, was to become P.E. in the USA. I had later on the chance to work in close collaboration with an experienced P.E. (who was a resident engineer and I was kind of reporting to him in dotted line), he was a role model for me. My learning curve went very fast. When we debriefed our project, He was quite happy with my performance and said he will provide me with a reference anytime. By the way, he was not any better (in view of product knowledge, critical thinking - for example) than my own boss who was not P.E. himself but a great technician. In the same project context, another P.E. who was sitting next to me was civil engineer, thus I had limited interaction with, that guy was just a superhuman :) All this to say, that as regard to technical competency, I found there is no firm rule.

Would I love to be P.Eng? of course yes. But please remember, I initiated this thread to understand what are the obligations if I would start freelancing on Upwork (and alike platforms). I just cannot wait to become P.Eng to start this. Clear?
This is what I am saying. I have some modest skills in a certain niche application, it was hard to acquire these skills (like it is for anyone), and I just want to use my precious time in exploiting, making use and growing these kills not filling endless forms. Have I asked to be an exception? I guess no. I said I won't go through this process. I do not want this bureaucracy and I find it is an overkill and it should not be used as barrier to keep people out. In US, I feel you have way more options to land into the engineering job market and becoming P.E. comes more as a "natural" thing which will kind of happen progressively as you gain maturity and responsibility. My take on it, I could be wrong, if so I will be stand corrected.

Another thing I would like to mention, since P.Eng qualification process involves quite a lot of academic credentials evaluations.
My (very personal) experience so far:
In school you are faced with well-posed problems that admit a unique solution. In real life, you always face ill-posed problems that admit a multitude of solutions (!). So to me, academic excellence is a good marker but it is not a guarantee of future competence when dealing with real life problems. Especially in the world that we live in and that is becoming increasingly more complex. Thus I think pragmatism should be in order. Some countries are outperforming the "western" world just because the west is failing to adapt. I say you need to make use of the talents and energies that are dormant in the society. What I see from my own perspective, is that people are bringing huge skills to Canada and they end up taking survival jobs with the reason being claimed that its a zero sum game. It is not a zero sum game, you can create a demand for these jobs. You can become the new Silicon valley. Talking about attitude adjustment...

Finally, when you find out that people lack technical competency, train them and get them up to speed. If there incompetency is Blatant, that is another thing but that is why you have interviews, references, etc. as mitigation, isn't it? and if there just not willing to improve, give then a strong warning during their performance assessment and if they still do not get the message, well get ride of them. Let them sue you for discrimination if they want, you have nothing to fear if you are on the right side.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
moltenmetal,

quoted
Fast forward to claims in the media that the licensure body, PEO, was acting like some kind of "old boys club", preventing qualified immigrants from achieving licensure and by so doing, preventing them from finding work. In reality, they a) didn't need licenses to find work as employees and b) couldn't find work because the labour market was massively over-supplied.

The supply of immigrants fell from those 2001-2003 highs on its own, and then was reduced further by changes to the ill-considered "skilled workers" program in 2005 or thereabouts. But the oversupply situation has continued to get steadily worse. Any engineer can see that the two lines on this graph: the upper one being supply, the lower one being labour force demand- have very different slopes...

unquoted

I landed in Canada as part of skilled worker program. As part of the process, I needed to prove that I was skilled as mechanical engineer (there is for this an official classification, a job code and a generic technical description you need to match). Typically it is your past employer that will bother with this you because they will state your job and responsibilities then Immigration will compare if it is matching the Canadian requirement. Other immigration streams included professional trades, provincial nominees and Canadian experience stream, if I do remember well. To be honest, I think all immigrants end up more or less in the same basket at the end. Some engineers will be working as skilled trades, Canadian experience stream immigrants working as skilled workers, so forth and so on. Furthermore there is virtually zero link between the stream you qualify to and the job prospects you can access, you are completely on your own. As regard the oversupply of engineers, I think you have provided eloquent figures, the question is why more and more workers are being poured to the job market from abroad while clearly it is a dead end ? If I am correct, there is plan to bring an even more higher number of skilled worked on yearly basis in the next years. I kind of benefited from the opportunity so it is a bit dishonest for me to criticize the matter, but I still find it hard to understand. It would make sense if you are onto building a new "silicon valley" in Canada, that would be great.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning dance in the rain.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

Quote (rotw)

Sparweb, Why are you an exception?

Lots of reasons that will get us sidetracked. Basically, my education was... eventful... and I work in the aerospace industry. This is NOT a provincially regulated industry. While licensure is handled by the provinces, my work is regulated by the federal government, and all laws I obey as a professional are federal laws. My provincial association doesn't understand what I do, nor do they care. Enough about me.

Immigration is a federal responsibility. Professional licensure of engineers is a provincial responsibility. The two do not talk to each other, much to everyone's dismay. Your Mech Eng credentials can help you immigrate, even when they mean nothing to the provinces. Should the two levels of government work together? Absolutely! It would make sense! Will they? Only if the other guys pay for it. I do feel bad about this, and some people are working on it. At least in Alberta they are...

Take a look at this: https://archive-www.apega.ca/assets/news-releases/...

This has been a meaningful change to one of my co-workers, who earned her EE degree in the Philipines, but has not been recognized by APEGA after working for over 10 years in avionic system integration and design in Canada.

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
Moltenmetal,

Quoted
You can call yourself out as a "technical specialist" and see what happens. Maybe you'll get lucky. And if you ever end up in a contract dispute or otherwise in contact with the legal system, you'll be totally screwed. Definitely not recommended
Unquoted

Ok noted.
I can make it clear from the start that - as a disclaimer - I am not a licensed engineer. I would be willing to offer services as technical specialist without implying some sort of responsibility. I suppose there can be some type of technical work that you can perform without impacting or putting at stake the safety of the public. For example: If I make a study and issue a recommendation to choose between two types of heat exchangers, say as part of a <total cost of ownership> study. No equipment is being order, designed nor built yet and selection may all be revisited during detail engineering. Similarly, if I provide mark ups on a P&ID on a valve that should be added to help during equipment start up during a FEED project, all this will probably be reviewed, amended, hazoped during detail design, yet a user still needs that sort of input from me with some kind of substantiation to move on with the project. These are fictitious examples but I just wanted to put things into perspective. On top of this, say my client is in France and the project will be installed in Zimbabwe. Can I get in troubles with the legal system in Canada in a way or another?

There is no option for me to work under the radar, I just want to understand how much maneuverability do you have without being a P.Eng as of now. Rational people think at the margin.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning dance in the rain.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

I give up!!!!!!!!!

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

@IRstuff: Here are a few more stats which help to tell the story more fully.

First, here's a comparison of engineering to other professions in Canada:



Engineering has the WORST match rate, by far, of all the registered/licensed professions in the country.

30% or so work as engineers or engineering managers. 33% work in jobs for which no university degree of any kind is required. Sorry, but that spells out only one thing, clearly, visible from outer space: a massive labour market over-supply of the B.A.Sc. or B.Eng. credential, relative to labour market demand for that credential.

Second: here's what students want to do when they graduate, when surveyed in 4th year. This is an ongoing survey, with substantial numbers of students surveyed each year by PEO in Ontario so that they can get a handle on how many Ontario grads they can expect to receive in the licensure applicant pool in subsequent years:



The results are fairly consistent year over year, with at least 90% of 4th yr students either definitely or probably seeking employment in engineering when they graduate.

The actual graduate attainment rate is better than the pathetic 30% average- it's over 50%. But that still leaves 40% of the graduating class, each year, having to seek employment in a field they weren't originally looking to be employed by. That's not a result primarily of a last minute mindset change in 4th year, or a response to a stunning new opportunity during their job search that they weren't aware of before that. It's a result of being UNABLE to find work in the profession. And once you're out, if you're out for more than about 4 years, you're no longer considered qualified to be an engineer by the labour market.

The 70% of engineering degree holders in Canada, earn on average 20% less than the 30% who do work as engineers. If they're choosing to leave the profession, they're doing it in net terms significantly against their economic interest.

The source of the data is this report:

https://www.ospe.on.ca/public/documents/advocacy/2...

And its sources are listed, but most of the data is derived from the Canadian census, so it's pretty solid.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

That's certainly one interpretation, but I have to ask, how in 13 years, these poor schmucks haven't gotten the message that engineering can't support the influx?

When I went to school 40 yrs ago, the school knew that there wasn't going to be a there, there, for wanna-be physics majors, so Phy 1 "weeded" all but the hardiest out of that major. So, how is it that the engineering majors haven't gotten that news, or haven't gotten weeded out?

Moreover, why your sources appear to say something, it's unclear whether there's a different story, since nothing presented is showing, for example, the unemployment rates, or whether 100% of engineers actually majored in engineering, i.e., the chart is only showing the one-directional matching.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

ROTW,

Now it sounds like you're looking for the cracks and loopholes to squeeze through.
Can't you tell that on a forum for professional engineers that this just isn't cool?

Moltenmetal,
Thank you for the reminder - reading it is more stark now that my son is in his first year of Chem Eng. I just want you to know that the effort you put into that last message was read and appreciated, by at least 1.

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

IRstuff: the stats are that engineering grads are roughly equally likely to be unemployed 2 yrs after graduation as the average university graduate. That's the average, mind you, including all the dance and journalism majors as well as the doctors. People with student loans, find jobs to pay them. That's not the question: the question is, are we training too many people to be engineers, relative to the labour force demand for engineers? The answer to that question, based on the data, is YES- by a large margin. The resulting under-employment rather than unemployment is definitely evident in the data. The actual unemployment simply shifts down the line of credentials.

Why haven't the "poor schmuks" gotten the message that engineering can't support the influx?

I can only relate the answer given by the dean of engineering at a major Ontario university known for its engineering program. When asked, her response was that there was "plenty of demand for the program"- meaning that there were plenty more students seeking entry to the program each September than there were spaces in that program, despite the fact that enrollments have increased steadily over the years.

Note that to her, the only meaningful metric of "demand for the program" was how many wished to enter it. In her view, "our graduates don't have difficulty finding employment". That half of them find employment outside their field of study wasn't a worry to her- in fact, it's a statistic neither her institution nor any other in Ontario actually collects. And sadly that's very deliberate, as they know full well already what the result would be. Instead, the Council of Ontario Universities asks a deliberately nebulous question of graduates in its survey: they ask if the education they obtained in university was "relevant" to their employment work. Hard to see how many people who suffered through 4 yrs of any program at university would consider the entirety of the education they obtained during that time to be completely irrelevant- and surprise surprise, few graduates from any program answer "no" to that question. And of course that satisfies everyone, including the governments who still fund the majority of the cost of a university education.

Universities in Ontario LOVE programs like engineering. Professional programs had their tuitions un-regulated for a time in Ontario, meaning the tuition rate was permitted to rise more or less as fast as they saw fit- and tuitions as much as tripled in that period. Tuitions in non-professional programs were and are subject to regulation. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/81-004-x/20060... Engineering is "in demand" in the mind of the public because it is "in demand" in the mouths of the media- because they here ONLY from the business lobby on this file- the licensure bodies stay silent because they feel it isn't their place to say anything, and the only province with an advocacy body for engineers (Ontario) chose to make membership in that body voluntary- so it has a tiny membership and hence is not an effective advocate. They did write that report, and a decade earlier, they advocated for the labour market study by the national council of regulators CCPE (now Engineers Canada) that obtained the data the report is ultimately based on- though that study itself was derailed by corporate interests in process.

Engineers are actually the hardest people to convince there's an issue. They over-generalize their own anecdotal evidence- I'm doing OK, and my firm "can't find people" (meaning people with 10 yrs of experience that weren't hired by the profession as fresh grads 10 yrs ago), so therefore there's no evidence of an over-supply. It's no surprise then that the profession in broader terms is silent on this issue. Medicine, law, nursing and teaching all have either unions or effective advocacy bodies with broad membership or both- and hence in those professions, problems like this do not go un-noticed.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

2
ROTW,

What you are really asking here is 2 things. What are the rules, and what are the consequences?

First what are the rules?

Why don't you read the laws regarding licensure in Canada? Professional Engineers Act - R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 941. Go to PEO website and read the summary for consultants and engineers. You can't call yourself a C.Eng, a P.Eng, W.Eng, or any variation of the title which would convey professional or technical expertise (unless preceded by say AWS CW.Eng – but that could be hot water too, and looked down on, I’m not a lawyer). You could call yourself a specialist or technician etc. You can’t be a consulting engineer or any variation. You could call yourself a consultant, but consultant carries weight, so your marketing matter should heavily avoid any “technical” expertise language. You could safely call yourself a contactor and list yourself as technician or drafter, this is quite safe, your employer needs to understand you aren’t an engineer and you aren’t providing professional services. You would be the same as a drafter in India being sub-contracted to fix AutoCAD.

Second, what are the consequences?

Other than being charged with violating the law:

Read some common law. Donoghue v Stevenson is the basis of which you will be sued in almost all western jurisdictions, you owe a Duty of Care to anyone who purchases your technical services. It is the basis of the existence of “engineers” and our title and laws. It is required study materials for engineers in Canada, and part of the exams for your P.Eng.

Common law is quite simple; if you hold yourself out as a "technical specialist/expert" (read professional/authoritative voice), then you will be treated as such in a court of law in any jurisdiction which follows common law (Canada, US, UK, EU) and be sued under that if you make a mistake. You will be personally liable (in both criminal and civil law) not your LLC or any other structure. If the courts reviews your qualifications (years, experience, education, licenses) and does not agree with you avoiding your local laws, you’ll also be found criminally negligent.

In any jurisdiction you provide work, you must comply with their jurisdictional law and the one in which you work or export from, or you will face those countries laws and your local one (most say what you must be a P.Eng in an acceptable country or have a P.Eng review your work in their own country). You can be a drafting contractor for an engineering firm in Zimbabwe, sure, but you can’t be the one recommending technical solutions, unless you read their laws and comply.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

@IRstuff: yes, quite sure that 30% capture of graduates into employment, and getting steadily worse per that graph, isn't just a blip.

I'm well familiar with the Engineers Canada (formerly CCPE) report with its idiotic projections into 2025- which take the 30% utilization rate as NORMAL and then look at the changes to that "normal" situation into the future by looking at deaths and retirements versus expected supply via university graduation etc. The methodology is fundamentally flawed, and that's not Prism Economics' fault (they're the ones who did the study)- it's the result of the industry influence on them via the study's steering committee who didn't want to hear anything about an oversupply.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

Broad category though- what fraction of engineering grads "work in science and technology occupations", don't you think?

55% of them work as engineers, round numbers. That another 15% work in "science and technology occupations" so broadly defined would not be surprising to me. And it's not an indication, at all, that they are properly employed.

The 30% figure isn't for fresh Canadian grads- it includes immigrants, who are only 20% likely to be employed as engineers. The match rate DROPS with age. The details are in that OSPE report.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

Quote:

Now it sounds like you're looking for the cracks and loopholes to squeeze through.
Can't you tell that on a forum for professional engineers that this just isn't cool?

This is an engineering forum, not a forum for professional engineers. Scolding the OP for seeking work via loopholes is also rather comical on this forum given the number of PEs here who post about similarly exploiting loopholes in the system, bending ethical rules for their own profit.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

Scrolling up to the top of the screen momentarily...



I stand by what I wrote.
What may not have been apparent was that I was deliberately being provocative, by using an extreme interpretation of the OP's words. A rhetorical tactic, not very kind I confess. In my earlier responses, intended to encourage ROTW to be registered, my recommendations were rejected. I was worried. Any further constructive suggestions could be interpreted as encouragement to practice without a license. If ROTW truly is prepared to practice without a license we'd better get that admitted to in the clear, rather than implied by the previous questions. I don't think it actually worked - or maybe it had the desired effect but ROTW chose not to respond. If we gave them something to think about that's all we can ever actually hope for on an internet forum. We won't know until they return with a reply.

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
In the picture, he looks like he just returned his meal or something??
hum...hum...

PS: BTW, looked at ASET website, seems not too bad...will dig a bit more into it...thanks ;)

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
Craig_H
Quoted
You mention that you previously carried a C.Eng designation. A colleague of mine once went through that transfer from C.Eng to P.Eng (via Engineers Ireland), and I do not recall that being overly difficult for him. I believe that there's equivalency agreements with several jurisdictions Link. That might be something that you want to look into pursuing.
Unquoted

Do you happen to know in which province he/she transferred CEng to PEng?
Thanks

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning dance in the rain.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

rotw: in that specific instance, he transferred to Alberta.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
Thank you

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

2
This may be an "engineers forum". The word "professionals" may be used explicitly or flippantly.

I don't care, frankly, either way.

When someone is asking whether or not it is possible to do something which might be considered illegal, i.e. contrary to an Act of parliament or its regulations, my professional responsibility as well as my responsibility as a citizen is to inform them of the potential consequences.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

Quote:

When someone is asking whether or not it is possible to do something which might be considered illegal...

The way I read and understand the OP, they are asking what engineering or related niches they can perform work in without a license. Nothing remotely suggested they want to commit a crime (the question suggests quite the opposite) yet here we are with the usual accusations and belittling from "professionals" admittedly trying to bully someone into the guild - rather ironic.

If members of the guild doesn't care for the current legal loopholes then they are more than welcome to push for legislative change to close them. OTOH, folks opposing the guild may use that opportunity to push for the abolishment of the guild. Regardless, the folks getting upset with others who are legally working because they don't agree with the law is simply childish.

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

CWB1: the OP's question was a good one- well worded and not at all asking for counsel about how to break the law, which is precisely why my answer to the OP's question wasn't simply, "Don't do it, because it's illegal"

Instead, my answer gave the nature of the regulations in Canada (answering the question asked). The key piece was as follows- copied and pasted for your convenience:

"You can call yourself out as a "technical specialist" and see what happens. Maybe you'll get lucky. And if you ever end up in a contract dispute or otherwise in contact with the legal system, you'll be totally screwed. Definitely not recommended."

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

This is the wording from the California PE Act, which covers consultants.

Quote (California PE Act)

6747. Exemption – industrial corporations and public utilities
(a) This chapter, except for those provisions that apply to civil engineers and civil engineering, shall not apply to the performance of engineering work by a manufacturing, mining, public utility, research and development, or other industrial corporation, or by employees of that corporation, provided that work is in connection with, or incidental to, the products, systems, or services of that corporation or its affiliates.
(b) For purposes of this section, “employees” also includes consultants, temporary employees, contract employees, and those persons hired pursuant to third-party contracts.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Freelance via Upwork (or similar platform)

(OP)
Moltenmetal, CWB1,

Thanks for giving me credit on this. Your understanding is correct.
I can confirm that I am not seeking to break the law.
It was the reason I started the thread at first place: seek to understand my options (if any).

Take the chance to hope that 2020 will bring new good things to everyone, in their career as well as their personal life.

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