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Professionalism and ethics

National Professional Practice Examination 

The 12 regulators in Canada use the National Professional Practice Examination (NPPE) to test knowledge of the laws that affect the engineering profession, the professional standards to which you will be held accountable, ethical standards, and other topics such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights. It is one of the ways to ensure that licensed engineers are well-equipped to tackle the complexities of engineering.

The National Professional Practice Examination is currently used by all of Canada’s engineering regulators except OIQ who uses a slightly different test that goes into more details on the differences in the legal system in Quebec. Visit the NPPE website for information about the exam itself, preparation, study guides, tutorials, and frequently asked questions.

Most applicants will not take this test until they have had two or three years of supervised engineering work completed, giving plenty of time to review the materials and prepare for the test.


Should you require special accommodations for the NPPE, there are provisions for this. Please consult your examination centre if you require any accommodations or supports for this purpose.

Code of Ethics

Each regulator has a code of ethics that each registrant must abide by. Engineers Canada has produced a Public Guideline on the Code of Ethics that provides guidance to regulators. It contains the fundamental principles of ethics as applied in relation to the Engineers Canada Code of Ethics, as well as interpretative comments and illustrative examples.

When we refer to ethics in a broad sense, we mean a set of governing principles or values used to judge the appropriateness of particular conduct or behaviour. The Code of Ethics in the guideline expresses the expectations of engineers as they discharge their professional responsibilities. The code is based on broad principles of integrity, truth, honesty, and trustworthiness, respect for human life and welfare, fairness, openness, competence, and accountability. The 10 parts of the Code are as follows:

  1. Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and the protection of the environment and promote health and safety within the workplace.
  2. Offer services, advise on, or undertake engineering assignments only in areas of their competence and practise in a careful and diligent manner and in compliance with applicable legislation.
  3. Act as faithful agents of their clients or employers, maintain confidentiality and avoid conflicts of interest, but, where such conflict arises, fully disclose the circumstances without delay to the employer or client.
  4. Keep themselves informed in order to maintain their competence and strive to advance the body of knowledge within which they practise.
  5. Conduct themselves with integrity, equity, fairness, courtesy and good faith towards clients, colleagues and others, give credit where it is due, and accept, as well as give honest and fair professional criticism.
  6. Present clearly to employers and clients the possible consequences if engineering decisions or judgements are overruled or disregarded.
  7. Report to their regulator other appropriate agencies any illegal or unethical engineering decisions or practices by registrants or others.
  8. Be aware of, and ensure that clients and employers are made aware of, societal and environmental consequences of actions or projects and endeavour to interpret engineering issues to the public in an objective and truthful manner.
  9. Treat equitably and promote the equitable and dignified treatment of people in accordance with human rights legislation.
  10. Uphold and enhance the honour and dignity of the profession.

Understanding how this code of ethics applies to your work as an engineer provides the basis for understanding the duties and responsibilities that professional engineers must uphold.