Leila Notash, PhD, PEng, FEC 

I am committed to the principal object of PEO:

to regulate the practice of professional engineering and to govern its members, holders of certificates of authorization, holders of temporary licences, holders of provisional licences and holders of limited licences … in order that the public interest may be served and protected

I care about the present and future of self-regulated professional engineering and the necessity for

  • enforcing present-day standards and continuous competency for knowledge, skill and professional ethics among members and licence holders;
  • and up-to-date principles for qualifications and practice for professional engineering in a global society, with rapid advances in engineering;
  • while promoting member engagement and public awareness of the role of the Association.

My PEO and Engineers Canada volunteer activities include:

  • PEO Council: Councillor-at-Large (2019-2021)
  • Council Audit, Executive, and Legislation Committees (2019-2020)
  • Academic Requirements Committee (ARC) of PEO: Chair (2016 – 2018), Vice-Chair (2015), Member (2003 – present)
  • Kingston Chapter Executive: Vice-Chair (2015 – 2019)
  • Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB): Program Visitor (2015)
  • Canadian Engineering Qualifications Board (CEQB): Member of Mechanical Engineering Syllabus Sub-Committee (2006 – 2007)

I am well aware with the issues from both a Chapter viewpoint and the PEO operations perspective, thus my perspectives relate to the most fundamental activity of PEO, issuing licenses to practice as Professional Engineers.

As the Councillor-at-Large, I have participated in the Council discussions. I have been advocating the respect for PEO members and volunteers (committees and chapters); appreciation of volunteers’ impact; transparency and accountability; as well as knowledge based decision making (peer review) for self-regulation. It is time for the Council to concentrate on fundamental issues of PEO (present and future of self-regulated professional engineering; up-to-date principles for qualifications and practice in a global society, with rapid advances in engineering, and so on), and not allow the governance discussion hijack the Council time.

As the Chair of ARC, I participated in the Accreditation Forum organized by the Engineers Canada. I listened attentively to the views of the representatives from Higher Educational Institutions, Accreditation Board and Regulators. As a faculty member, I care about the future of accreditation and have been following diligently the pertinent communications regarding assessment methodology and curriculum content measurement. Being a Councillor-at-Large, provided an opportunity for me to share the various points of view with the Council.

At the Chapter level, I promoted awareness of the role of the Association among the Chapter members with the goal of member engagement. Serving on the Chapter Executive, while being a faculty member, also inspired me to reach out to the engineering undergraduate and graduate students at the Queen’s University and Royal Military College and promote PEO values. These further enhance how the engineering profession is perceived in general.

I have spoken out on issues related to the members and chapters, and will continue communicating my concerns (shared by many members/chapters). I am pleased that the applicants were finally allowed a last change to write the Professional Practice Exam PPE (including those who failed one of law and ethics) after the Council approved switching to NPPE and overlooked the consequences of such decision with no peer-review. I advocate valuing the mandates of the legislated committees and standing committees that are guided by member volunteers, accountability at the Council, e.g., asking for peer review (and roll call votes) for Council motions proposed with no consultations with the pertinent legislated and standing committees (members), and so on.  As it has been noted by a Past President

"Council passes policies. One policy that Council passed is the fundamental peer review. When Council is not following its own policies, what then is the mechanism to ensure that it is following its own policies? It should be the President and Chair enforcing that Council is following the policy that it has passed. Otherwise it should recede that policy and produce another policy. That’s how fundamental governance works."

I was pleased when PEO revisited its position on the CASL (Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation) and chapter eblasts, and initiated the lists of Chapter members and EITs who would consent for receiving eblasts with monetary info on chapter events. As the memberships were renewed and the lists were populated throughout 2019, it should have further improved communications with and engagement of members/EITS in the Chapter activities/events.

Other issues that I have spoken out and would like to continue pursuing include the followings.

  • I cherish the importance of cognitive diversity and demographic diversity on Council. I appreciate the value in Councillors demonstrating their beliefs thru the debate in an agile Council and well-informed pertinent policy decisions. I believe councillors have an obligation to be knowledgeable on the agenda items, and dissent from decisions they do not support. I am aware of the dangers of "groupthink", which can discourage debate, creativity and individual responsibility, and “can lead to  collective rationalization, lack of personal accountability and pressure to acquiesce”.
  • While having information on members and the present-day standards for practice and professional ethics are necessary for the regulatory bodies, if PEAK (Practice Evaluation and Knowledge) has no value for the members, public and PEO then it will become a very costly process to collect voluntary disclosure of self-declared data. I will be open to your views on developing a more effective continuing competency approach. Meanwhile PEAK  has to be kept on a non-mandatory basis until there is value and relevancy for members and public.
  • I fully support having term limits for the leadership and the appointed members of Council, as well as the leadership of legislated committees. I will welcome your views on the term limits taking into account the reliance on member expertise and experience, as well as the need for organizational memory, which extend beyond the PEO archives.
  • Teaching upper-year technical courses is no longer recognized as practice of engineering towards the engineering experience requirement. More and more junior engineering faculty teaching in Ontario universities are applying to other associations for PEng licence even if their teaching duties include some/all of “planning, designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising that requires the application of engineering principles and concerns the safeguarding of … public welfare…, or the managing of any such act”. Interestingly, to fulfil the PEAK assessments, practicing professional engineers could take/report technical courses taught by these faculty. This needs carefully drafted directions from the Council.
  • While on the Chapter board,  I organized annual information sessions on the Licensure Process for the Canadian and International Engineering Graduates, the Legal Responsibilities of an Engineer and the Duty to Warn (among members, EITS and my students), with speakers from the PEO Admissions, Enforcement and Standards. As well, I have been promoting the PEO Equity and Diversity Policy and Code of Ethics. I believe the engineering profession will further thrive by reinforcing the values of Code of Ethics, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity, and have supported genuine initiatives in this regard.
  • I am encouraged by the Engineers Canada’s 30 by 30 initiative (also adopted by the PEO Council) to increase the representation of women within the engineering field (with the goal of raising the percentage of newly licensed women engineers to 30% by the year 2030; which is around 18%). Attracting and retaining women engineers requires genuinely inclusive academic programs, workplaces, committees, boards, and so on.
  • I have appealed for an accelerated successful transition to an online licensing system (with adequate budget) to expedite the application process, further enhance the experience and satisfaction of applicants by providing instant info on the applications and their progress, improving communications....
  • I support issuing a certificate once the applicants complete the Professional Practice (Law and Ethics) examination (after meeting the academics) whilst fulfilling the experience requirement. The certificate will be an indication of the applicants’ familiarity with the engineering ethics and law, and commitment to the profession, i.e., “Canadian professional engineering culture”. Thus, valuable to the employers. This will also empower the applicants and facilitate a sense of moving ahead as the applicants fulfil each requirement. If the value of this certificate and what it signifies is well publicized, it could also alleviate some of the concerns regarding the required one-year Canadian experience under the supervision of a PEng. The certificate could also bring the entrepreneurs under the PEO umbrella while practicing engineering related work with no PEng supervision. To reduce the implementation cost, the digital certificate could be provided via the Member Portal on the PEO's website.  Similar to the PEAK profile, on the Directories of Practitioners, a pertinent note could be posted for each applicant/EIT once they are awarded this certificate.... 
  • I believe every Chapter member has the right to vote and to stand as a candidate for the Chapter Officer positions.  We need election at the Chapter levels. We need to ensure Chapter By-Laws are followed (otherwise revise them).
  • Other ongoing issues such as Industrial Exception will have to be revisited in the near future ..…

These are inline with the 2018-2020 PEO Strategic Plan: Protect, Engage, Advance; particularly the following objectives:

#2. Heighten delivery and awareness of PEO’s enforcement efforts

#3. Enhance PEO’s public image

#6. Augment the applicant and licence holder experience

#8. Create a seamless transition from student member to EIT to licence holder

As a member of the Council for 2021-2023, I will be honored to participate in the day-to-day business of the Council, and the discussions which will affect the strengths and weaknesses of PEO, while promptly responding to the opportunities and threats in a global society, with rapid advances in engineering.

I am a good listener. As a Councillor, I listen to your concerns and ideas and fight for the necessary changes.

View Leila Notash's profile on LinkedIn