Good character requirement

To become a licensed engineer, you must demonstrate that you are a person of good character and reputation. This helps the provincial/territorial engineering regulators ensure that their licence holders will behave ethically and keep the best interests of the public at the centre of their professional engineering practice.

Defining “good character”

According to the guideline on good character, there are six common traits of good character:

  • Trustworthiness: If you are trustworthy, you are honest, loyal, and reliable—you do what you say you’ll do. You have the courage to do the right thing, and you don’t deceive, cheat, or steal.
  • Respect: Showing respect means being considerate of others and tolerant of differences. It also means using good manners. You make decisions that show you value your health and the health of others. You treat people and property with care.
  • Responsibility: Being responsible means using self-control—you think before you act and consider the consequences. You are accountable for your choices and decisions—you don’t blame others for your actions. Responsible people try to do their best, and they persevere even when things don’t go as planned.
  • Fairness: If you are fair, you play by the rules, take turns, and share. You are open-minded, and you listen to others. You don’t take advantage of others, and you don’t assign blame to others.
  • Caring: A caring person is kind and compassionate. When you care about others, you express gratitude, you are forgiving, and you help people in need.
  • Citizenship: If you advocate for a safe and healthy community, you are demonstrating good citizenship. A good citizen obeys laws and rules and respects authority. Being a good neighbour and cooperating with others are also parts of good citizenship.

It is not necessary to display all of these traits in order to be “of good character”. A person who has good character may possess some or all of these. 

The process for proving good character

To be considered a person of ‘good character’, you don’t necessarily need to display all of the above traits, but they do provide good indicators of good character. When applying for your engineering licence, you will be required to answer questions that evaluate your character. You will also be asked to provide the names of people you have worked with who know you well and can confirm your personal honesty and integrity. Regulators may assess good character of applicants through these questions on the application form, direct contact during the application process and/or the comments of references.

Who you should select for your references

Regulators may ask the opinion of engineers or others who have had the opportunity to observe your behaviour first-hand. These professionals are asked to comment on specific traits, such as integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness. Because the evaluation of character is subjective, you will need to provide more than one reference.

Your list of character references must include engineers. Most jurisdictions require at least one reference who is licensed in Canada and has direct and detailed knowledge of your engineering work. The regulator sets requirements for how many references you need and what characteristics they must have (e.g. how many years they’ve worked with you, degree of familiarity with your engineering work, etc.).

Be sure to provide current contact information for all your references. The regulator may contact them directly and confidentially when evaluating your character.

Additional information

For more information, refer to the Good Character Guideline and the specific requirements of the engineering regulator where you apply for licensure.

Related Information

Find your provincial or territorial regulator

To work as a professional engineer in one of Canada's provinces or territories, you must receive a licence from that province or territory's engineering association.