32 / www.universityaffairs.ca / November 2016
ryerson’s faculty of engineering and architectural science has been
offering the Internationally Educated Engineers Qualification Bridging
(IEEQB) Program for the past decade. The program enables foreign-trained
engineers to meet the academic requirements for licensure by Professional Engineers Ontario as a professional engineer in the province.
The IEEQB program initially received dedicated federal and provincial funding, but now relies entirely on faculty resources and tuition fees.
It accepts candidates three times a year, averaging 15 to 20 participants
at each intake. Participants must first have their academic qualifications
assessed by PEO to determine which courses they need.
“We don’t offer courses specially designed for the IEEQB,” says Liping
Fang, program director. “The internationally educated engineers take courses
with our regular students and pay the same tuition [per course] as they do.
Each has an individualized study plan.” It takes about a year to complete the
program. A 60 percent grade is required to pass each course exam. About
72 percent of candidates have successfully completed the program.
Civil engineering is the most popular of the engineering disciplines
among the participants. Once they meet the academic requirements, candidates must satisfy the work experience requirement ( 48 months, including 12 months of engineering-related work in Canada) and pass PEO’s
professional practice exam.
Brazilian-born Adeilton Ribeiro earned a bachelor of civil engineering
in Brazil and worked for four years in São Paulo before emigrating to
Canada in 2013. “My wife is Canadian,” he says, “and we decided Canada
would be a better place to raise a family. Also, it would be easier for me to
adapt to Canada compared to her adapting to Brazil.”
While still in Brazil, he contacted PEO and learned which courses he
would need to take in Ontario to meet its academic requirements. “The
accreditation process was fair and straightforward,” he says. Through an
online search, he discovered Ryerson’s IEEQB program.
“The course content was mostly material that I had studied in Brazil,”
he says. “The most difficult part was mastering the English-language terminology. I had to refer to some non-course materials for that.” He did six
courses, for which tuition was a “pricey” $4,000. During his final three
months, he worked part-time as an IT technician for Ryerson’s media
Mr. Ribeiro, 31, says it would be helpful if the bridging program included internship opportunities. “As it was, I was flying solo when I did my
job search.” Still, even before writing his final exams, he applied to several
companies and landed a job with AECOM, a multinational civil engineering firm. Since 2014, he has worked as a computer-assisted design drafter,
producing civil and architectural drawings for rail and transit projects.
Ryerson also offers bridging programs for doctors, dietitians, social
workers and midwives. Its latest is the Internationally Trained Medical
Doctors Bridging Program. Launched in January 2015, it has graduated 14
candidates and accepted a second cohort of 14 (out of 150 applicants). The
program is not intended to lead directly to licensure as an MD in Canada,
says the Chang school’s Dr. Bountrogianni, but rather equips participants
for alternative, well-paid jobs in the health sector.
“That said,” she adds, “we know anecdotally from our graduates that
it has assisted a number of them in eventually achieving their medical
residency because it helped them with the interview, which is very competitive, and with learning Canadian norms.”
“As it was, I was flying solo
when I did my job search.”
19% of immigrants who
graduated in engineering
and were employed in
Canada were working
vs 42% of Canadian-born individuals who
graduated in engineering