Seeking Advice on Transitioning to Engineering Profession in Vancouver, BC

Hello everyone,

I am reaching out to this knowledgeable community as I am about to embark on a major transition in my life. I have recently completed my BEng (Hons), and while I have not yet received my final results, I am anticipating a first. I am set to move to Vancouver, British Columbia at the end of July and am eager to begin my career in engineering there.

From my research, I understand that I must become licensed as an Engineer-in-Training (EIT) with Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia (EGBC) before I can legally work as an engineer. While I prepare for this move and the necessary procedures, I have several questions that I'm hoping some of you may be able to help with:

  1. Is it possible to work as an engineer without being licensed by EGBC if I am working under a Professional Engineer (Peng)?
  2. Am I able to apply for engineering roles as long as the licensing/registration process is underway? In other words, can I start applying as soon as I’ve submitted my application for licensure?
  3. Can I begin the application process for the EIT licensure before actually setting foot in Canada?
  4. I would be grateful to hear from anyone who has gone through this process. Any insights, tips, or general advice you could share would be invaluable.
  5. I am also interested in job hunting tips specifically for the Vancouver area. Are there any particular things to look out for, any companies or sectors to avoid, or any general advice on securing a good engineering role in this region?
  6. Finally, I would appreciate any recommendations for groups or forums that are good for networking with other engineers or recruitment agents in Vancouver or Canada more broadly. 

Transitioning to a new country and navigating the professional landscape can be challenging, so I appreciate any help and guidance I can get from those who have already walked this path. Thank you in advance for your time and for any advice you may provide.

Best Regards,

Spike Wilson

  • I looked at this option many years ago! There are lots of reasons why it didn't happen, most of them irrelevant to you. I assume you already have residence rights sorted!

    Have you spoken to Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia? I was looking at Ontario which has a different Professional body but many of the rules are the same. The nasty surprise they gave me is that they would not accept my degree as is (the Washington Accord might as well not exist). Note that I did have my CEng by then. My degree was subject to academic assessment and I needed to get all my transcripts notarised.

    The joke at the time was that Ontario was full of engineers driving taxis as there were so many emigrating there. BC may be better, but for me, there wasn't so much suitable engineering. That was over a decade ago and I imagine things have changed.

  • Hi Mark,

    I appreciate your insightful thoughts based on your experiences.

    I've already secured my residency rights and I'm currently awaiting a response from Engineers and Geoscientists BC, having reached out to them recently.

    In the meantime, I've been seeking answers from various sources and it seems that obtaining licensure may not always be a prerequisite. There appear to be two potential exceptions:

    1. If an employer is prepared to accept responsibility for the engineering content and they have a PEng to validate your work. Although this seems as though it is a rare case and companies usually adopt this approach temporarily while people hired as technologists undertake the licensure process.

    2. If the work solely involves electronics design.

    From my understanding, it appears that electronics engineers, like myself, are grouped similarly to software engineers in Canada, meaning that obtaining licensure as either EIT or PEng isn't mandatory. Although certain roles may necessitate it, and it could be advantageous to have, it isn't viewed as essential for electronics engineering. This is based on information provided by other engineers living and working in BC on different forums. I've also included these points in my query to Engineers and Geoscientists BC for further clarification.

  • That's very interesting about the exceptions. It's something that I didn't know about. I'm a Systems Engineer, so it potentially would have been applicable to me (assuming those exceptions have always been the case).

    The one thing I do recall was that some companies where titling engineering jobs in different ways to get around the "Engineer" title restrictions. So things like system architects, solution designers, etc.

  • It is beneficial to know that companies may retitle jobs as it may be worth expanding the search terms I use when seeking work. Thank you. I'll be sure to update you on what I hear back from EGBC about the exceptions to licensure, both for your interest and for anyone who may stumble across this post in future.

  • It is beneficial to know that companies may retitle jobs as it may be worth expanding the search terms I use when seeking work. Thank you. I'll be sure to update you on what I hear back from EGBC about the exceptions to licensure, both for your interest and for anyone who may stumble across this post in future.

  • Hi,

    I and several of my colleagues have been working in Ontario over the last couple of years (one has oved over there, the rest of us are working more or less remotely). At the start there was lots of talk about us needing PEng, but for the moment that's all gone away. What we can't do without PEng is act as final signatories - so in some circumstances we can write a final report but need a PEng to stamp it. I suspect you may find in Vancouver there's lots of engineers with a few PEngs available to put their PEng stamps on the final reports.

    Yes degree acceptance is a real pain in the PEng process. Two of our engineers involved hold PhDs, and both are CEngs, yet they were at risk of having to show they could retake and pass modules from their degrees which they took 30 years ago! The most senior of our staff working on this, a very, very, respected engineer, found that she would have to sit a technical exam in lieu of her degree as her degree is in maths not engineering. For me personally I fairly quickly decided not touch the process with a bargepole.

    Do let us know what you find in practice over there!



  • Not wanting to divert Spike's original thread too much, but there is a certain wrongness in the response that your colleagues received.

    My degree was electronics, but my domain these days is Systems Engineering. I'm pretty sure that I would fail horrifically if I had to re-take a module on electronics design! Well unless it was the design of 25+ years ago. Designing for a modern ARM is a lot different from the 68K that I studied (the first thing you notice is the lack of latches).

    I did a little digging and the signatory to the Washington Accord is Engineers Canada. However, they don't actually license Canadian engineers. They just issue guidance, which the individual provincial bodies can adopt or ignore as they wish (as long as they still meet the law).

    This is very different to the UK, where the Engineering Council licenses the various bodies to award professional registration titles on it's behalf (well, its a bit more complex then that).