In 1990, Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) added the Code of Ethics to the Professional Engineers Act, along with a few other items, through the addition of Regulation 941.
The Code of Ethics is a basic guideline for practicing engineers to follow so that they may act as the professionals that they should strive to be. It highlights that the practitioner has a duty to their employer, clients, subordinates, employees, other professional engineers, and to themselves to act at all times with: fairness and loyalty, fidelity to public needs, high standards for personal and professional integrity, and competence in the engineering services that they offer. The practitioner should also keep up to date with developments in their area of engineering.
It is also highlighted in the Code of Ethics that the practitioner shall be a faithful and trustful employee. They shall not divulge any information learned through their employment because this information is not privy to a third party. This includes technical methods and processes. In addition, if a practitioner has any interest(s) that might affect their judgment negatively while working on a project, the practitioner should notify the client of these interest(s) right away.
Furthermore, a practitioner that is an employee of a company and contracts under his/her own name in the evenings and/or weekends is required by the Code of Ethics to, in writing, let the client know of their status as an employee of another company. The practitioner is also required to inform their employer of the work and must make sure that any work on the side does not interfere with their job and duties to their employer.
The Code of Ethics also states how engineering practitioners are to engage with one another. The Code of Ethics states that a practitioner working on a project with other professionals must co-operate with those professionals on the project. The practitioner must act with both courtesy and good faith when engaging with other practitioners. When working with other practitioners on the same project, one practitioner shall not take on the duty of reviewing another practitioner’s work, unless that practitioner is aware of the situation or that practitioner’s connection to the project has been terminated.
The Code of Ethics continues to state that a practitioner shall not undermine the reputation of another practitioner or business in derogatory nature. When a practitioner is attempting to secure professional engineering work, he/she shall not accept a commission or pay others in an attempt to gain an advantage over other practitioners.
Practitioners must also take into account how they exchange engineering information and experience with other practitioners. It is said in the Code of Ethics that an engineering practitioner shall give proper credit for engineering. A practitioner’s engineering work must be properly compensated for. When a practitioner (a) has other practitioners working underneath them, or (b) is working with other practitioners, the practitioner shall provide proper opportunity for development and advancement for these coworkers.
All in all, a practitioner must act in honour and work to maintain the integrity of his/her profession, without the fear of being brought before the proper tribunals by any other practitioner.
The Code of Ethics as seen in Regulation 941Edit
77. The following is the Code of Ethics of the Association:
1. It is the duty of a practitioner to the public, to the practitioner's employer, to the practitioner's clients, to other members of the practitioner's profession, and to the practitioner to act at all times with,
i. fairness and loyalty to the practitioner's associates, employers, clients, subordinates and employees;
ii. fidelity to public needs;
iii. devotion to high ideals of personal honour and professional integrity;
iv. knowledge of developments in the area of professional engineering relevant to any services that are undertaken; and
v. competence in the performance of any professional engineering services that are undertaken.
2. A practitioner shall,
i. regard the practitioner's duty to public welfare as paramount;
ii. endeavour at all times to enhance the public regard for the practitioner's profession by extending the public knowledge thereof and discouraging untrue, unfair or exaggerated statements with respect to professional engineering;
iii. not express publicly, or while the practitioner is serving as a witness before a court, commission or other tribunal, opinions on professional engineering matters that are not founded on adequate knowledge and honest conviction;
iv. endeavor to keep the practitioner's licence, temporary licence, limited licence or certificate of authorization, as the case may be, permanently displayed in the practitioner's place of business.
3. A practitioner shall act in professional engineering matters for each employer as a faithful agent or trustee and shall regard as confidential information obtained by the practitioner as to the business affairs, technical methods or processes of an employer and avoid or disclose a conflict of interest that might influence the practitioner's actions or judgment.
4. A practitioner must disclose immediately to the practitioner's client any interest, direct or indirect, that might be construed as prejudicial in any way to the professional judgment of the practitioner in rendering service to the client.
5. A practitioner who is an employee-engineer and is contracting in the practitioner's own name to perform professional engineering work for other than the practitioner's employer, must provide the practitioner's client with a written statement of the nature of the practitioner's status as an employee and the attendant limitations on the practitioner's services to the client, must satisfy the practitioner that the work will not conflict with the practitioner's duty to the practitioner's employer, and must inform the practitioner's employer of the work.
6. A practitioner must co-operate in working with other professionals engaged on a project.
7. A practitioner shall,
i. act towards other practitioners with courtesy and good faith;
ii. not accept an engagement to review the work of another practitioner for the same employer except with the knowledge of the other practitioner or except where the connection of the other practitioner with the work has been terminated;
iii. not maliciously injure the reputation or business of another practitioner;
iv. not attempt to gain an advantage over other practitioners by paying or accepting a commission in securing professional engineering work; and
v. give proper credit for engineering work, uphold the principle of adequate compensation for engineering work, provide opportunity for professional development and advancement of the practitioner's associates and subordinates, and extend the effectiveness of the profession through the interchange of engineering information and experience.
8. A practitioner shall maintain the honour and integrity of the practitioner's profession and without fear or favour expose before the proper tribunals unprofessional, dishonest or unethical conduct by any other practitioner. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 941, s. 77; O. Reg. 48/92, s. 1.