In 1984, one-third of a century ago, advocated of the Industry Exception clause in the Professional Engineers Act (PEA), in Ontario, Canada, had argued that “safety” and “profitability” are at the two-opposing ends of the manufacturing process.
The Ontario industry lobbyists were arguably claiming that hiring Professional Engineers (P.Eng.), would cost them more than what they could afford and would drive them out of business in competition against out-of-province manufacturers!
Moving fast-forward to 2019, through the past 35 years, the extent of which the Industry Exception clause has been taken advantage of by small and large corporates in Ontario, Canada, has grown so vastly and unconditionally that is defeats the purpose of having the PEA at all, and also defeats the common sense of living in any developed country (not to mention one of the top seven industrial countries in the world). Ontario, as the most industrial province in Canada, is the only province that has exempted industry from the PEA.
As an extremely important example, nuclear power-generation industry in Ontario is excluded from the Act, and the nuclear operators appeal to the Industry Exception clause, claiming that the PEO (an advocate of public interest in safe operation of plants) have no jurisdiction and cannot force them to have P.Eng's to prepare, to review and to approve their process design, design modification, operation, maintenance or even their nuclear safety analysis. This is a total disregard to the purpose of having the PEA.
Now it is time to challenge the status-quo, before a major accident happens, and stop the current widespread application of the Industry Exception clause by all engineering firms in Ontario.
Modernized of Industry Exception asks PEO and the Government of Ontario, to consider excluding the industries, with high risks to the public safety, such as nuclear power plants, from the Industry Exception clause in the PEA. The potential for releasing radioactive and toxic chemicals to the public, shall not be ignored, to save insignificant amount of employee salary. This requires PEO to develop a strategy, a convincing argument, and collect data to support the argument that the 35-year-old Industry Exception to be updated, enhanced and modernized.
The average person's common sense would suggest every employee involved in practice of engineering (design, modification, operation, maintenance and safety and licensing) in engineering departments of any nuclear company to be a P.Eng. However, that is not the case in Ontario.
The cost argument, presented by nuclear industry, suggesting P.Eng’s salary would be higher than Non-P.Eng employee, and imposing financial strains on the companies, makes absolutely no sense, because the engineers in nuclear industry. in Ontario nuclear power plants, in Ontario are unionized with fixed salary brackets. Besides, most nuclear stations are owned by government, and public pays for the salaries, and operation costs.
Now it is time for P.Eng's in Ontario to help each other, protect the public interest, and support this initiative to Modernize the 35 year-old clause the examps the entire industry in Ontario, from the Professional Engineers Act, and become "RELEVANT" to the industry, the government and the public.
Please share your concerns...
It took me more than a year, but finally I managed to gather enough support among 2019 PEO Councillors to pass my motion (with 13 for and 12 against votes) to put restriction on Nuclear industry's use of Industrial Exception clause in our Professional Engineers Act (PEA). Thanks to those Councillor who supported my motion, and concerned with the implications of Industrial Exceptions on public safety.
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