Ontario has unique registration requirements for the registration of pressure vessels. Although most provincial engineering societies have tried, TSSA was told by PEO, and agreed, to only let local Ontario engineers sign off on vessels registered in Ontario. This is unique in the world of pressure vessels and is the age old local engineer vs specialized engineer argument.  More information on the Ontario only registration requirement can be found in this letter to the editor of Engineering Dimensions, Ontario’s Professional Engineers magazine. This is the letter in full:

PEO Protectionism

Michael Mastromatteo’s article discusses the challenges PEO has in regulating projects outsourced to other countries. It does not discuss another side–the problems out of-province and international manufacturers have in getting their mass-produced products that they ship worldwide into the Ontario market. My industry – pressure vessel manufacturing – has recently been affected by PEO and its actions on engineering outsourcing.

Pressure vessels used in Ontario are designed and built to internationally recognized ASME standards. They are subject to Ontario Regulation 220/01–Boilers and Pressure Vessels that states, “The design for a boiler or pressure vessel shall bear the signature and seal of a professional engineer who is experienced in the design of boilers, pressure vessels, piping or fittings.” Gordon Sterling, P.Eng., then President of PEO, wrote a letter in April 2001 to the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), stating: “While we acknowledge that many professional engineers outside of Ontario may have the appropriate skills to design boilers and pressure vessels, they are still required to be licensed by PEO to ensure that they are accountable to the people of Ontario through the Professional Engineers Act.”

TSSA, who regulates pressure vessels, from the simple mass-produced air receiver found in a home garage, to the giant custom industrial vessels, now only registers new or modified pressure vessel designs sealed by an Ontario engineer’s stamp. Prior to 2001, engineers licensed in other provinces or countries could get their designs registered for use in Ontario.

Although Ontario is the only place in North American to have such a requirement, this would not stop others doing the same. In the worst nightmare scenario, all the other states/provinces would create legislation to allow them to do what we have done: a vessel design would require about 60 engineers’ stamps to gain access to the North American market. Although I cannot imagine this happening, others would only be doing what we have done first.

When we look at outsourcing, we must get past the not-engineered-in-Ontario mentality, and accept that other engineers in the world are capable of doing engineering work with the safety of the public at heart.

Laurence Brundrett, P.Eng., Waterloo, ON

Published: May/June 2004 issue, Engineering Dimensions magazine

While we don’t agree with this requirement that we consider protectionism, we do provide review and P. Eng. stamping services for many customers who are able to deal with the other jurisdictions on their own.  

Please note that since this letter was written, some provinces have introduced in province stamp requirements on piping.