Registrar of the Association of Professional
Engineering of Ontario v. Gurpersaud, 2015 ONSC 804 (Ont. Div Ct), dismissing an
appeal by the Registrar of the Registration Committee's
decision to issue a licence to practice.
An applicant with foreign education credentials sought licensing
with the Association of Professional Engineering of Ontario
("PEO") and was ordered by the PEO's Academic
Requirements Committee ("ARC") to pass 4 exams to get
licensed. The applicant failed 2 of the 4 exams and was then
ordered to write 6 exams. The applicant did not write the
After the expiry of the initial application, the applicant
reapplied and was again informed that he needed to write the 6
exams. Instead of doing so, he pursued a Master's degree in
engineering from a Canadian university. Upon re-application in 2010
and 2011, he was again ordered by the ARC to write the 6 exams on
the basis that the applicant's Master's coursework did not
address the specific deficiencies identified. The applicant sought
and obtained a hearing before the Registration Committee.
The Registration Committee set aside the ARC's decision and
ordered that a license be issued, finding that the applicant's
education combined with 11 years of work experience at a
multinational engineering firm met the requirement of equivalency
to a Canadian engineering degree. The Registrar appealed the
Committee's decision to the Ontario Court.
On appeal, the panel of 3 judges upheld the Committee's
decision. It rejected the Registrar's argument that the
standard of correctness should apply because the Committee was
primarily a lay rather than expert panel, with 2 out of 3 members
being public members. It further endorsed the Committee's
assessment of the equivalency of the applicant's qualifications
"as a whole," rejecting the more technical, narrow
approach advocated by the Registrar.
Comment: The case demonstrates that the
Court is likely to interpret equivalency provisions expansively and
resist a narrow, technical interpretation of what constitutes
"equivalent" credentials. The case also confirms the
deference accorded to professional regulatory bodies, even if the
body is not entirely made up of professional members.
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In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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