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

  • P.S. Another thought overnight: it's worth remembering why PEng is a legal requirement for some roles in Canada. There's two reasons it exists, one is good old fashioned restrictive practices (I always find it interesting how both Canada and the US have this massive dichotomy between obsessive free marketism and really heavy unionisation!). But that doesn't make the Canadian states / territories write it into law, the reason they do that is public safety. So the effect is that the only time I've seen people get really concerned about PEng (quite reasonably) is when there's a public safety implication - i.e. back to my example you want to know that the final signatories to a new railway going into service (or a new power station, or a new medical system) are competent to take that authority.

    Whereas, to take the other example, a PCB design engineer working for a competent company will have no direct impact on public safety; even if they are working on safety critical systems (which most aren't), the safety is managed by the whole safety design process from hazard identification through to verification and validation, and if it's safety critical that whole process (or crucial bits of it) will be signed off by the PEng. And if they're working for an incompetent company the company won't ask for PEng anyway.

    But anyway, do let us know what you actually find out there.

    Very good article here:

    A key paragraph in that article is "The main restrictions on unlicensed individuals are that they cannot use the title “Engineer” (or any derivative) and cannot offer engineering services to the public." But very few professional engineers offer engineering services to the public anyway, and it seems to be common practice to get around the first point by simply using the title "engineer" rather than "Engineer"! For our work we call ourselves "consultant" which is fine.