I personally know there is a lot ignorance with regard to interprovincial practice in Canada.
Why ... you ask ?
I have practiced in three provinces that I was not licensed to practice and have seen scores of my colleges do the same in the past. We simply were not aware of the regulations and our employer was not either.
Absolutely ... this is a poor excuse, but I'm being honest. I suspect the Associations run into this sort of ignorance a lot. There is an exceptional educational burden but they do a pretty good job of educating members of the Associations and members of the public. They also do an exceptional job of not crashing down on infringing members and their first course of action is awareness.
INTERPROVINCIAL PRACTICE REGULATIONS
I chuckle as I write this as the rules are so plain and simple. There's absolutely no claim of confusion that one can make. You must be licensed to practice in another province if you plan to practice engineering or geoscience there.
Also note that professional practice does not simply include the authentication of documents - a common but incomplete defence. For example here is what PEO has to say about the scope of practice ....
"Practice of professional engineering” means any act of planning, designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing or supervising that requires the application of engineering principles and concerns the safeguarding of life, health, property, economic interests, the public welfare or the environment, or the managing of any such act".
Let's dive a little deeper and look at the different situations that arise in everyday life. There are different solutions for the different intentions of your practice in that province. For example in Ontario there are two membership options called the Provisionary License and the Temporary License.
If you are an internationally trained professional and you aim to practice in that province full time, then a Provisionary license is a great solution. The requirements to be granted a Provisionary License include:
The experience requirement was lowered in 2003 and thus the new Provisionary License status. The holder must be supervised by a P. Eng. and the license is only valid for one year. In other words, it gives the international engineer one year to gain the required Canadian experience while supervised by a P. Eng.
A Temporary License is more of an interprovincial solution, closer related to our discussion. It is issued to professional engineers from other Canadian Engineering Associations (e.g. other provinces or territories). The requirements are:
Note, the temporary licence must specify the project, employer, collaborating engineer, and the time period. In addition, a recent change to the PEO Act “allows for experience to be counted if acquired in a Canadian jurisdiction and supervised by a Canadian P. Eng. That is if your employers head office is in Canada you can count that experience as Canadian experience if it was supervised by a P. Eng.
Generally speaking - and not so specific to Ontario - the requirements for interprovincial practice comes down to applying to the Association in which you wish to practice. Engineers and Geoscientists within Canada can apply to be licensed with other Associations, and will be accepted if:
NAFTA AND INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS
There are also a number of international agreements for Engineers and Geoscientists to work abroad. These agreements offer reciprocal recognition of qualifications. However, there are two important points to recall in international law and agreements.
First, international agreements and treaties take precedence over provincial or municipal legislation. For example, if an international treaty states only international companies can bid on project A in the province. However, the province states only domestic companies can bid on project A. The international treaty takes precedence and only international treaties will be allowed to bid.
Second, although international agreements take precedence, one still needs to adhere to the provincial rules and regulations. For example, NAFTA allows engineers to work across borders; however, a Canadian engineer, working in Texas, must be licensed by the local Board or Association.
LET'S WRAP IT UP
So was I in the wrong .... hell ya !
Was there an easy solution .... yeah!.
The solution would of been as simple as calling the Associations of those three provinces and follow through some simple registration procedures. Its even very likely they would of let me practice during this process.
Its seems like a process simply entangled in red tape, not really meaning much to the practicing professional. However, recall that you are a professional and a large portion of your practice involves trust and liability.
Your Association will help protect you in liable situations ... there are even monetary provisions that can be accessed in your defence. All they ask is that you register with them such that they can regulate the profession in order to protect the public. How eager is that Association going to be to protect someone practicing illegally within their borders.