- to provide a free reference to engineering law and ethics that permits self study. This will only heighten the sense of professionalism in engineering.

- to take advantage of computers to enhance distribution. This reduce any real or perceived barriers to the topics. Also, in an unprecedented manner, this will allow the material to be updated and corrected as a living text, unlike that frozen on paper.

- by itself this will not be a complete reference, but a guide to those wishing to develop a good framework for the lifelong process of legally and ethically correct practice.

- I want to promote active participation of others who can help add new sections, alternate sections, alternative viewpoints, and corrections. A copyright notice has been added so that the document can be developed consistently. I would encourage additions in the terms of other web documents that are maintained at the authors home sites.





This course has one main purpose - to prepare engineers for a professional licence. This capacity is clearly above and beyond technical competency, it is a responsibility to look beyond the technical decisions, to their impact on society. The nature of engineering is such that a licensed engineer will make many decisions that will not be checked regularly by others. As a result we must adopt legal and ethical principles to guide us. The professional practice examination (PPE) ensures that the candidate is aware of these issues before being issued a license, and the courts and engineering associations ensure that these levels of professional practice are maintained after licensing.

This course can be used for review, or if followed thoroughly, it will prepare the candidate to write the PPE. It is highly recommended that the candidate also purchase and read the recommended texts,

D.L. Marston, Law for Professional Engineers, third edition, McGraw-Hill Ryerson

G.C. Andrews and J.D. Kemper, Canadian Professional Engineering Practice and Ethics, second edition, 1999, Harcourt Canada.

(obsolete) C. Morrison, P. Hughes, Professional Engineering Practice; Ethical Aspects, McGraw-Hill Ryerson

Please keep in mind the following maxims while reviewing the material,

1. The ethics and legal aspects of professional engineering can often be subjective, and single clear-cut solutions should not be expected. In other words there are always two sides to every argument.

2. The distinction between ethics (society based) and morals (personally based) principles. We may be called upon to perform tasks as engineers that we are compelled to do, but object to morally.

3. Criminal law looks at absolute guilt, whereas civil courts look at proportion of responsibility. In civil court you may be found responsible for actions that you have not directly caused.

4. Engineers are assumed to be technically competent and are responsible for all technical decisions. Like surgeons, mistakes are of great concern.