The Professional Engineers Act (of Ontario, Canada) requires every license holder to have a seal issued by the PEO. This seal, traditionally a stamp, denotes the type of license held by the professional and is used to approve documents and drawings. The seal is to be used only by the practitioner to whom it is assigned and must be returned if the professional retires or resigns. More recently, electronic seals have been approved for use.
Use of the SealEdit
The Professional Engineer's Seal is used to approve documents and drawings before they are released to the public. The seal is used to mark final documents where the responsible engineer is confident the contents are complete and reliable. In properly sealing a document the engineer applies his or her seal and next to it signs and dates the document and specifies his or her area of responsibility. If multiple engineers are working on a project, each professional's seal is applied. Incorporated practices have corporate seals. The use of the seal is standard professional practice and is not optional.
Only professional documents require a seal. License holders should not seal documents with no technical content such as memos, letters and notes. Legal and business documents are also not sealed nor are government documents such as passport applications where the engineer is acting as a guarantor. The engineer's seal should not appear on promotional material such as logos, business cards or letterheads.
The use of an engineer's seal on a document assumes the engineer to take responsibility for the information enclosed. The seal represents that the document was competently prepared and its contents are reliable. It implies that the engineer has given serious consideration to the content of the document and assumes responsibility should the document later be found to contain errors. An engineer should only seal documents which he or she has prepared or have been prepared under his or her supervision. Sealing a document that has not been professionally prepared can result in professional misconduct charges and liability for corresponding losses. Before applying his or her seal to a document written by another individual, an engineer should thoroughly review the document, possibly performing a complete replication of the analysis.
The current seal is circular, includes the license number of the practitioner, and identifies the practitioner as a "Licensed Professional Engineer". Previous seals identify the practitioner as "Registered Professional Engineer" and omit the practitioner's license number. Both seals are acceptable for current use.
Temporary and limited license holders have rectangular seals. These seals depict the scope of allowed practice, the expiry date of temporary licenses and the name of the professional engineer collaborating with the temporary license holder.
Gordon C. Andrews, Canadian Professional Engineering and GeoScience Practice and Ethics (Canada: Nelson Education Ltd, 2009), 49,110-113,116